Signing Page, Project Designer
Use the Signing page of the Project Designer to sign the application and deployment manifests and also to sign the assembly (strong-name signing).
Notice that the signing of application and deployment manifests is a process distinct from the signing of an assembly, although both tasks are performed on the Signing page.
Also, the storage of key-file information differs for manifest signing and assembly signing. For manifest signing, key information is stored in your computer's cryptographic storage database and the current user's Windows certificate store. For assembly signing, key information is stored only in your computer's cryptographic storage database.
To access the Signing page, select a project node in Solution Explorer, and then, on the Project menu, click Properties. When the Project Designer appears, click the Signing tab.
Application and Deployment Manifest Signing
Sign the ClickOnce manifests check box
Select this check box to sign the application and deployment manifests with a public/private key pair. For more information about how to do this, see How to: Sign Application and Deployment Manifests.
Select from Store button
Allows you to select an existing certificate from the current user's personal certificate store. You can select one of these certificates to sign your application and deployment manifests.
Clicking Select from Store opens the Select a Certificate dialog box, which lists certificates in your personal certificate store that are currently valid (not expired) and that have private keys. The purpose of the certificate you select should include code signing.
If you click view certificate properties, the Certificate Details dialog box appears. This dialog box includes detailed information about the certificate, and includes additional options. You can click Learn more about certificates to view additional Help information.
Select from File button
Allows you to select a certificate from an existing key file.
Clicking Select from File opens the Select File dialog box, which enables you to select a certificate key (.pfx) file. The file must be password protected and cannot already be located in your personal certificate store.
In the Enter password to open file dialog box, enter a password to open the certificate key (.pfx) file. The password information is stored in your personal key container list and your personal certificate store.
Create Test Certificate button
Allows you to create a certificate for testing. The test certificate is used for signing your ClickOnce application and deployment manifests.
Clicking Create Test Certificate opens the Create Test Certificate dialog box, in which you can type a password for the strong-name key file for the test certificate. The file is named projectname_TemporaryKey.pfx. If you click OK without typing a password, the .pfx file is not password encrypted.
Timestamp server URL box
Specifies the address of a server that timestamps your signature. When you provide a certificate, this external site verifies the time that the application was signed.
Sign the assembly check box
Select this check box to sign the assembly and create a strongly named key file. For more information about signing the assembly by using the Project Designer, see How to: Sign an Assembly (Visual Studio).
This option uses the Al.exe tool provided by the Windows Software Development Kit (SDK) to sign the assembly. For more information about Al.exe, see How to: Sign an Assembly with a Strong Name.
Choose a strong name key file list
Enables you to specify a new or existing strongly named key file that is used to sign the assembly. Select <Browse...> to select an existing key file.
Select <New...> to create a new key file with which to sign the assembly. The Create Strong Name Key dialog box appears, which you can use to specify a key file name and protect the key file with a password. The password must be at least 6 characters long. If you specify a password, a Personal Information Exchange (.pfx) file is created; if you do not specify a password, a strongly named key (.snk) file is created.
Change Password button
Changes the password for the Personal Information Exchange (.pfx) key file that is used to sign the assembly.
Clicking Change Password opens the Change Key Password dialog box. In this dialog box, Old password is the current password for the key file. New password must be a least 6 characters long. The password information is stored in current user's Windows certificate store.
Delay sign only check box
Select this check box to enable delay signing.
Note that a delay signed project will not run and cannot be debugged. You can, however, use the Sn.exe (Strong Name Tool) with the -Vr option to skip verification during development.
When you sign an assembly, you might not always have access to a private key. For example, an organization might have a closely guarded key pair that developers don’t have access to on a daily basis. The public key might be available, but access to the private key is restricted to a few individuals. In such a case, you can use delayed or partial signing to provide the public key, deferring the addition of the private key until the assembly is handed off.