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June 07, 2008

Importing private keys into a Java keystore using keytool

For ages the keytool application shipped as part of Java could provide all the functionality to generate a private key and certificate sign request from a Java keystore, but the most basic function, importing a preexisting private key and certificate generated externally, remained overlooked.

This is fixed in Java 6, at long last.

The solution is to convert your existing certificate and key into a PKCS12 file, and then use the keytool functionality to merge one keystore with another one. Java 6 can treat a PKCS12 file as a keystore, so putting this together, you get this:

keytool -importkeystore -deststorepass changeit -destkeypass changeit -destkeystore my-keystore.jks -srckeystore cert-and-key.p12 -srcstoretype PKCS12 -srcstorepass cert-and-key-password -alias 1

The alias of 1 is required to choose the certificate in the source PKCS12 file, keytool isn't clever enough to figure out which certificate you want in a store containing one certificate.

At last, it works.