I created a new OpenVPN install this morning. My test users work, all is good. Now I want to create extra users, but when I run this command:

C:\Documents and Settings\User>"C:\Program Files\OpenVPN\easy-rsa\build-key" newuser

This is what the system gives me back:

C:\Documents and Settings\User
req [options] <infile >outfile
where options  are
 -inform arg    input format - DER or PEM
 -outform arg   output format - DER or PEM
 -in arg        input file
 -out arg       output file
 -text          text form of request
 -pubkey        output public key
 -noout         do not output REQ
 -verify        verify signature on REQ
 -modulus       RSA modulus
 -nodes         don't encrypt the output key
 -engine e      use engine e, possibly a hardware device
 -subject       output the request's subject
 -passin        private key password source
 -key file      use the private key contained in file
 -keyform arg   key file format
 -keyout arg    file to send the key to
 -rand file;file;...
                load the file (or the files in the directory) into
                the random number generator
 -newkey rsa:bits generate a new RSA key of 'bits' in size
 -newkey dsa:file generate a new DSA key, parameters taken from CA in 'file'
 -newkey ec:file generate a new EC key, parameters taken from CA in 'file'
 -[digest]      Digest to sign with (md5, sha1, md2, mdc2, md4)
 -config file   request template file.
 -subj arg      set or modify request subject
 -multivalue-rdn enable support for multivalued RDNs
 -new           new request.
 -batch         do not ask anything during request generation
 -x509          output a x509 structure instead of a cert. req.
 -days          number of days a certificate generated by -x509 is valid for.
 -set_serial    serial number to use for a certificate generated by -x509.
 -newhdr        output "NEW" in the header lines
 -asn1-kludge   Output the 'request' in a format that is wrong but some CA's
                have been reported as requiring
 -extensions .. specify certificate extension section (override value in config
 -reqexts ..    specify request extension section (override value in config file
 -utf8          input characters are UTF8 (default ASCII)
 -nameopt arg    - various certificate name options
 -reqopt arg    - various request text options

unknown option -config
usage: ca args

 -verbose        - Talk a lot while doing things
 -config file    - A config file
 -name arg       - The particular CA definition to use
 -gencrl         - Generate a new CRL
 -crldays days   - Days is when the next CRL is due
 -crlhours hours - Hours is when the next CRL is due
 -startdate YYMMDDHHMMSSZ  - certificate validity notBefore
 -enddate YYMMDDHHMMSSZ    - certificate validity notAfter (overrides -days)
 -days arg       - number of days to certify the certificate for
 -md arg         - md to use, one of md2, md5, sha or sha1
 -policy arg     - The CA 'policy' to support
 -keyfile arg    - private key file
 -keyform arg    - private key file format (PEM or ENGINE)
 -key arg        - key to decode the private key if it is encrypted
 -cert file      - The CA certificate
 -selfsign       - sign a certificate with the key associated with it
 -in file        - The input PEM encoded certificate request(s)
 -out file       - Where to put the output file(s)
 -outdir dir     - Where to put output certificates
 -infiles ....   - The last argument, requests to process
 -spkac file     - File contains DN and signed public key and challenge
 -ss_cert file   - File contains a self signed cert to sign
 -preserveDN     - Don't re-order the DN
 -noemailDN      - Don't add the EMAIL field into certificate' subject
 -batch          - Don't ask questions
 -msie_hack      - msie modifications to handle all those universal strings
 -revoke file    - Revoke a certificate (given in file)
 -subj arg       - Use arg instead of request's subject
 -utf8           - input characters are UTF8 (default ASCII)
 -multivalue-rdn - enable support for multivalued RDNs
 -extensions ..  - Extension section (override value in config file)
 -extfile file   - Configuration file with X509v3 extensions to add
 -crlexts ..     - CRL extension section (override value in config file)
 -engine e       - use engine e, possibly a hardware device.
 -status serial  - Shows certificate status given the serial number
 -updatedb       - Updates db for expired certificates
Could Not Find C:\*.old

Is there a fix for this? (Aside from reinstalling the app?)

I have a theory that it's requiring me to run some previous command beforehand, but if so, I'm not sure which one; I don't want to kill my server keys accidentally (though it's possible I'm misunderstanding the use of each command).


The easy-rsa scripts depend on some environment variables which you should have previously configured and sourced in vars.bat. Assuming that it still contains the correct information, then just re-execute vars.bat before you continue.

  • Sigh. It would be nice if this were actually documented somewhere obvious... Or maybe it is, just not on a page I visited... – Margaret Jun 22 '10 at 8:05

Make sure your previously made ca.crt, ca.key, 01.pem, 02.pem, 03.pem, and dh1024.pem files are located or have copies in your Program Files\OpenVPN\easy-rsa\keys folder.

Your Answer

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.