A Microsoft root certificate is expiring at the end of this month, and Microsoft warns that removing it could cause problems with the operating system.

Earlier this month, BornCity reported that the ‘Microsoft Root Authority’ certificate in Microsoft’s Trusted Root Certification Authorities was expiring at the end of the month, on 12/31/20.

Expiring Microsoft Root Authority certificate
Expiring Microsoft Root Authority certificate

While other newer Microsoft root certificates are not expiring this year, some users are concerned that the expiring certificate could prevent software, hardware, or the operating system from performing correctly.

When we contacted Microsoft regarding the expiring root certificate, we were referred to a support page that lists the trusted root certificates required by Windows.

In this article, Microsoft explains that trusted root certificates should never be deleted as they could affect the proper operation of Windows or cause the computer to fail.

“However, the root certificates that are listed in the Necessary and trusted root certificates section in this article are required for the operating system to operate correctly. Because removal of the following certificates may limit functionality of the operating system or may cause the computer to fail, you should not remove them, ” Microsoft explains on the support page.

Microsoft also warns that expired certificates are still used by Windows for backward compatibility and should never be removed.

“Some certificates that are listed in the previous tables have expired. However, these certificates are necessary for backward compatibility. Even if there is an expired trusted root certificate, anything that was signed by using that certificate before the expiration date requires that the trusted root certificate is validated. As long as expired certificates are not revoked, they can be used to validate anything that was signed before their expiration,” Microsoft warns not to delete expired certificates.

With this said, if you have extra time on your hands during the holidays and decide to clean up your Windows installation, do not remove any expired certificates from the Trusted Root Certification Authority as it could cause issues in the operating system.