UW Digital ID (Win) - Configuring Thunderbird to use a UW Digital Certificate

A UW Digital certificate can be used with Thunderbird to send secure, digitally signed and or encrypted email. If you have not installed your digital certificate, please use the link below.

Using a Digital Certificate with Thunderbird

Note: If your toolbar is missing then press Alt to have the toolbar reappear or you can press Alt+t to get to the Tools
  1. Open Thunderbird and select Tools | Account Settings | Security on the account your are modifying.


  2. Click on the Manage Certificates button ("View Certificates" in newer versions).


  3. In the "Your Certificates" tab, click on Import. If you are unable to click on Import, see the "Alternative Directions" section below .


  4. Browse to your certificate, select it, and click Open.
  5. Click OK. You should be back in the "Security" window.
  6. Under "Digital Signing" click Select.
  7. Choose your certificate and click OK.
  8. You will be prompted with a message asking you if you want to use this same certificate for encryption. Click OK if you do (recommended).
  9. Click OK and you should be back in Thunderbird.
  10. To use your certificate, compose a message and go to the pull down menu under "Security." This menu allows you to sign and/or encrypt messages individual messages.

Important Note for T-bird users: on occasion T-bird is not able to find your newly downloaded cert. In most cases the cert does exist on your computer and can be exported from by following these directions: 

If that does not resolve the issue, contact the DoIT Help Desk at 264-4357 and they will route your issue to a PKI Administrator.

Alternative Directions

Some Thunderbird users need to install a file before using a digital certificate. Technicians are looking into the problem, but have developed this workaround.

  1. Open Thunderbird and select Tools | Account Settings | Security.


  2. Click on the Manage Security Devices button.


  3. Click on NSS Internal PKCS#11 Module.


  4. Click Load and browse to the location of the file (the path is usually C:\WINDOWS\System32\eTpkcs11.dll). Select this file and click Open. Accept the default "Module filename." Click the remainder of the OK buttons.


  5. Under "Digital Signing" click Select. eToken users will be prompted for your password, and then are presented with a screen allowing you to select a certificate. Select the UW-Madison certicate and click OK.
  6. Continue with step 3 of the original instructions.

If you cannot locate your eTpkcs11.dll file, it is available for download. We recommend downloading this file to C:/WINDOWS/System32/. Download eTpkcs11.dll.

See Also:

Keywords:uw digital id, uwdid, digital id, public key infrastructure, pki, smime, s/mime, certificate, digital certificate, email certificate, signing certificate, encryption certificate, win, windows, personal certificate, group/role certificate, configure, configuring, setup, thunderbird   Doc ID:4099
Owner:Steven T.Group:Digital ID
Created:2005-10-25 19:00 CDTUpdated:2014-09-30 15:19 CDT
Sites:Access Management Services, Digital ID, DoIT Help Desk, DoIT Tech Store
Feedback:  16   9