Certificate Revocation Lists

Windows 2000 supports industry standard X.509 version 2 CRLs. Each CA maintains a CRL for the certificates it issues and publishes the CRL-to-CRL distribution points. CRL distribution points can include Web pages, network shares, or Active Directory. An X.509 version 3 certificate usually contains the CRL distribution point for its issuing CA.

By default, enterprise CAs publish CRLs weekly to Active Directory and stand-alone CAs publish CRLs weekly to the following folder on the CA server:


where < Drive: > is the letter of the disk drive where the CA is installed.

You can use the Certification Authority console to modify the CRL distribution points . You also can use the Certification Authority console to manually publish a new CRL or to change the publication schedule.

Certificate revocation checking is supported by Internet Explorer 5, Internet Information Services, and Active Directory mapping services. When revocation checking is enabled, you have the option of caching CRLs on local computers to enhance revocation checking performance. If a certificate lists the CRL distribution point, the revocation checking process checks the local cache to determine whether the CRL is in the cache. If not, the revocation checking process then checks the network for the CRL. If a certificate does not list the CRL distribution point, revocation checking checks the issuing CA for a CRL, if one is available. You also can use the Web Enrollment Support pages to request the latest CRL from a CA.

When revoked certificates expire, they are removed from the next published CRL. For some large organizations with high certificate revocation rates, CRLs might become so large that it places a significant load on the network and computers during CRL publication. However, you can prevent large CRLs by deploying multiple issuing CAs to distribute the certificate load among your users and by issuing certificates with reasonably short lifetimes.