Windows CE 3.0

This function retrieves a handle to a permanent user key pair, such as the users signature key pair.

BOOL WINAPI CryptGetUserKey( 
DWORD dwKeySpec, 
HCRYPTKEY *phUserKey);


[in] Handle to the application's CSP. An application obtains this handle by using the CryptAcquireContext function.
[in] Specifies the key to retrieve. The following keys are retrievable from almost all providers:
  • AT_KEYEXCHANGE. Exchange key pair.
  • AT_SIGNATURE. Signature key pair.

Additionally, some providers allow access to other user-specific keys through this function. See the documentation on the specific provider for details.

[out] Address that the function copies the handle of the retrieved key to.

Return Values

TRUE indicates success. FALSE indicates failure. To get extended error information, call GetLastError. Common values for GetLastError are described in the following table. The error values prefaced by "NTE" are generated by the particular CSP you are using.

Value Description
ERROR_INVALID_HANDLE One of the parameters specifies an invalid handle.
ERROR_INVALID_PARAMETER One of the parameters contains an invalid value. This is most often an illegal pointer.
NTE_BAD_KEY The dwKeySpec parameter contains an invalid value.
NTE_BAD_UID The hProv parameter does not contain a valid context handle.
NTE_NO_KEY The key requested by the dwKeySpec parameter does not exist.


#include <wincrypt.h>

HCRYPTKEY hSignKey = 0;
HCRYPTKEY hXchgKey = 0;

// Get a handle to the user default provider.
if(!CryptAcquireContext(&hProv, NULL, NULL, PROV_RSA_FULL, 0)) {
 printf("Error %x during CryptAcquireContext!\n", GetLastError());
 goto done;

// Get a handle to the signature key.
if(!CryptGetUserKey(hProv, AT_SIGNATURE, &hSignKey)) {
 printf("Error %x during CryptGetUserKey!\n", GetLastError());
 goto done;

// Get a handle to the key exchange key.
if(!CryptGetUserKey(hProv, AT_KEYEXCHANGE, &hXchgKey)) {
 printf("Error %x during CryptGetUserKey!\n", GetLastError());
 goto done;

// Use the 'hSignKey' to verify a signature, or use 'hXchgKey' to export a key to yourself.


// Destroy the signature key handle.
if(hSignKey != 0) CryptDestroyKey(hSignKey);

// Destroy the key exchange key handle.
if(hXchgKey != 0) CryptDestroyKey(hXchgKey);

// Release the provider handle.
if(hProv != 0) CryptReleaseContext(hProv, 0);


Runs On Versions Defined in Include Link to
Windows CE OS 2.10 and later Wincrypt.h   Cryptapi.lib
Note   This API is part of the complete Windows CE OS package as provided by Microsoft. The functionality of a particular platform is determined by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and some devices may not support this API.

See Also

CryptAcquireContext, CryptDestroyKey, CryptGenKey

 Last updated on Tuesday, July 13, 2004

© 1992-2000 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.