Create a Certificate to Encrypt MOF Passwords that’s Compatible with DSC in PowerShell version 5.0

I’ve previously written a blog article titled “Use a certificate with PowerShell DSC to add a server to Active Directory without hard coding a password” where I had created a certificate that was used to encrypt the password in a PowerShell version 4 DSC (Desired State Configuration) MOF file.

The same procedure in PowerShell v5 generates an error stating the certificate cannot be used for encryption:


ConvertTo-MOFInstance : System.ArgumentException error processing property ‘Password’ OF TYPE ‘MSFT_Credential’: Certificate ‘6EBFB5C88AB4B8C9E3B8E30E88A5D071D6735464’ cannot be used for encryption. Encryption certificates must contain the Data Encipherment or Key Encipherment key usage, and include the Document Encryption Enhanced Key Usage ( At C:\WINDOWS\system32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\Modules\PSDesiredStateConfiguration\PSDesiredStateConfiguration.psm1:303 char:13 + ConvertTo-MOFInstance MSFT_Credential $newValue + ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ + CategoryInfo : InvalidOperation: (:) [Write-Error], InvalidOperationException + FullyQualifiedErrorId : FailToProcessProperty,ConvertTo-MOFInstance Write-NodeMOFFile : Invalid MOF definition for node ‘SQL01’: Exception calling “ValidateInstanceText” with “1” argument(s): “Syntax error: At line:11, char:1 Buffer: T_Credential1ref { }^; in " At C:\WINDOWS\system32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\Modules\PSDesiredStateConfiguration\PSDesiredStateConfiguration.psm1:2275 char:21 + … Write-NodeMOFFile $Name $mofNode $Script:NodeInstanceAlia … + ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ + CategoryInfo : InvalidOperation: (:) [Write-Error], InvalidOperationException + FullyQualifiedErrorId : InvalidMOFDefinition,Write-NodeMOFFile

Errors occurred while processing configuration ‘test’. At C:\WINDOWS\system32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\Modules\PSDesiredStateConfiguration\PSDesiredStateConfiguration.psm1:3705 char:5 + throw $ErrorRecord + ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ + CategoryInfo : InvalidOperation: (test:String) [], InvalidOperationException + FullyQualifiedErrorId : FailToProcessConfiguration

The solution to this problem is contained in the error message. “Encryption certificates must contain the Data Encipherment or Key Encipherment key usage, and include the Document Encryption Enhanced Key Usage”.

As used in the previously referenced blog article, the PowerShell self-signed certificate generator function that Fellow Microsoft MVP Vadims Podans wrote is used to create a certificate on the target node:

New-SelfSignedCertificateEx -Subject 'CN=SQL01' -StoreLocation LocalMachine -StoreName My -KeyUsage DataEncipherment, KeyEncipherment -EnhancedKeyUsage 'Document Encryption'


Notice in the previous example that the KeyUsage and EnhancedKeyUsage parameters are specified along with the values from the previously referenced error message so this certificate is generated with the necessary requirements to be used for encryption with DSC in PowerShell version 5.0.

Determine the thumbprint of the certificate (it’s the only one that’s been created in the past two days):

Get-ChildItem -Path  Cert:\LocalMachine\My\ |
Where-Object NotBefore -gt (Get-Date).AddDays(-2)


Export the certificate to a file:

Export-Certificate -Cert Cert:\LocalMachine\My\3652E4B2C9C885B4A93E81A07407008780D48356 -FilePath C:\tmp\sql01cert.cer


The exported certificate has been copied to the computer used for authoring the configuration.

Both the MOF and meta.MOF files now generate without a problem:

test -ConfigurationData $ConfigData -Credential (Get-Credential)


The password is indeed encrypted:

Get-Content -Path C:\test\SQL01.mof |
Select-String -Pattern 'Password'


If you’ve found an easier way to accomplish this task, I’d love to hear about it via a comment to this blog article.