TLS Certificate Verification Changes in Edge

Status as of May 2023:

  • Experimentation started in Edge 109 and reached 100% in Edge 111 for (mostly non-enterprise) clients that use server-driven experiments.
  • Enterprise behavior changed by default in Edge 112.
  • The opt-out policy will go away as soon as Edge 113.
  • One bug has been found in v111 and is now fixed. Another issue is fixed in 114. And another was fixed for 115.
  • Here’s the official documentation.

When establishing a secure HTTPS connection with a server, a browser must validate that the certificate sent by the server is valid — that is to say, that:

  • it’s non-expired (current datetime is within the validity period specified in the notBefore and notAfter fields of the certificate)
  • it contains the hostname of the target site in the subjectAltNames field
  • it is properly signed with a strong algorithm, and
  • either the certificate’s signer (Certificate Authority) is trusted by the system (Root CA) or it chains to a root that is trusted by the system (Intermediate CA).

In the past, Chromium running on Windows delegated this validation task to APIs in the operating system, layering a minimal set of additional validation (e.g. this) on top of the verdict from Windows. As a consequence, Chromium-based browsers relied on two things: The OS’ validation routines, and the OS’ trusted root certificate store.

Starting in Edge version 109, Edge will instead rely on code and trust data shipped in the browser for these purposes — certificate chain validation will use Chromium code, and root trust determination will (non-exclusively) depend on a trust list generated by Microsoft and shipped with the browser.

Importantly: This should not result in any user-visible change in behavior for users. That’s true even in the case where an enterprise depends upon a private PKI (e.g. Contoso has their own Enterprise CA for certificates for servers on their Intranet, or WoodGrove Bank is using a “Break-and-Inspect” proxy server to secure/spy on all of their employees’ HTTPS traffic). These scenarios should still work fine because the browser will still check the OS root certificate store[1] if the root certificate in the chain is not in the browser-carried trust list.

Q: If the outcome is the same, why make this change at all?

A: The primary goal is consistency — by using the same validation logic and public CA trust list across all operating systems, users on Windows, Mac, Linux and Android should all have the same experience, not subject to the quirks (and bugs) of the OS-provided verifiers or the sometimes- misconfigured list of OS-trusted CAs.

Update: A colleague observed today that on MacOS, Edge using the system verifier returns NET::ERR_CERT_VALIDITY_TOO_LONG when loading a site secured by a certificate that he generated with a 5-year expiration. When switching to use the Chromium verifier, the error goes away, because Chromium only enforces the certificate lifetime limit on certs chained to public CAs, while Apple has a stricter requirement that they apply to even private CAs.

Update: An Enterprise customer noted that their certificates were rejected with ERR_CERT_UNABLE_TO_CHECK_REVOCATION when they had set Group Policy to require certificate revocation checks for non-public CAs (RequireOnlineRevocationChecksForLocalAnchors). The problem was that their CRL was returned with a lifetime of two years, which is not in accordance with the baseline requirements. CRBug and v114 fix to stop checking lifetime for non-public chains.

Also, if you do enable revocation checks, you should ensure that your CRL files are DER-encoded and served over HTTP.

Update 4/18: An Enterprise customer has reached out to complain that their internal PKI does not work with the new verifier; certificates are rejected with ERR_CERT_INVALID errors. In looking at the collected NetLog, we see:

ERROR: Unconsumed critical extension
oid: 2B060104018237150A

By marking this extension ( as critical, the certificate demands verifier reject the certificate unless it can ensure that the purposes described in this proprietary MS Application Policies extension describe the purpose for which the certificate is being validated.

Unfortunately, Chromium doesn’t have any handling for this vendor-extension and rejects the certificate. Microsoft has now documented that the ApplicationPolicies extension should be ignored if the verifier supports the standard EKU extension (which nearly everything does) and the certificate contains an EKU. Chromium 115+ now follows this guidance.

Update 4/19: An Enterprise customer has reached out to complain that their internal PKI does not work with the new verifier; certificates are rejected with ERR_CERT_INVALID errors. In looking at the collected NetLog, we see:

ERROR: Not permitted by name constraints

The root certificate contains a critical Name Constraints field that Chromium’s verifier enforces. Investigation is underway, but early clues suggest that the problem is that the Name Constraints extension defines an RFC822 email constraint. Chromium does not have a validator for RFC822 constraints, and thus rejects the certificate because it cannot validate the constraint.

It appears that there’s a policy (EnforceLocalAnchorConstraintsEnabled) to opt-out of that enforcement until Chromium 118; the policy is not presently mentioned in the Edge documentation.

Update 5/16: An Enterprise customer reached out to complain that their internal PKI server load increased dramatically after switching to the new verifier. The problem turned out to be that they had enabled revocation checks and had configured their Enterprise root CA (used in their MiTM proxy) with revocation options of LDAP and HTTP. Chromium’s verifier does not support LDAP, so HTTP is now always used. They had misconfigured their HTTP server to always serve the CRL with an Expires header in 1970. Chromium does not have a CRL-specific cache, relying only on the Network Cache, meaning this CRL file was re-fetched from the server every time the root certificate was validated (even though the CRL itself had a nextUpdate 45 days in the future. (Chrome does not presently cache CRLs elsewhere; crbug/1447584).

Adding a max-age=21600 directive to the CRL’s Cache-Control response header will allow this file to be reused for six hours at a time, dramatically reducing load on the CRL server.

Please Preview ASAP

I’ve written before about the value and importance of practical time machines, and this change arrives with such a mechanism. Starting in Microsoft Edge 109, an enterprise policy (MicrosoftRootStoreEnabled) and a flag (edge://flags/#edge-microsoft-root-store-enabled) are available to control when the built-in root store and certificate verifier are used. The policy is slated to be removed in Edge 113 (Update: although, given the breakage above, this seems ambitious).

Please try these out, and if anything breaks in your environment, please report the issue!


[1] Chromium uses CertOpenStore to grab the relevant root certificates:; After the roots are gathered, Chromium parses and stores them in-memory for use with its own verification logic; none of the verification is done through Windows’ CAPI.

Published by ericlaw

Impatient optimist. Dad. Author/speaker. Created Fiddler & SlickRun. PM @ Microsoft 2001-2012, and 2018-2022, working on Office, IE, and Edge. Now a SWE on Microsoft Defender Web Protection. My words are my own, I do not speak for any other entity.

4 thoughts on “TLS Certificate Verification Changes in Edge

  1. When users complain about ERR_SSL_VERSION_OR_CIPHER_MISMATCH, I send them off to inetcpl.cpl to make sure they have TLS1.2 and 1.3 enabled but none of the others. Am I right in assuming that these antediluvian settings still apply despite these and other earlier changes in Edge?

    1. No, the Internet Control Panel settings for TLS are not used by Chromium-based Edge, except in IEMode (and in IE mode the error code and text are different).

  2. My org just got the update for Edge 112. Now our internal PKI appears to no longer be trusted. Sites with a cert from our PKI now return an error NET::ERR_INVALID_CERT. Disabling the edge flag “Microsoft Root Store” allows edge to trust our PKI again but it appears that flag is going away in the next version of Edge. How are business with an internal PKI supposed to utilize edge moving forward?

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