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This article provides a solution to an error that occurs when you insert a smart card in a reader.

If a yellow exclamation mark appears on Other devices in Device Manager, you may need to update your Intel Smart Connect Technology (ISCT) driver. Update or install the latest ISCT driver. Windows key + X. Select Device Manager. Click the arrow to the right of Other devices. Smart Selection. Limited quantities. Only available for orders placed by 5:59 p.m. Systems shipped the next business day after an order is placed. Subject to order approval. Software and accessories not part of the configuration will be shipped separately and may arrive after your system.

Original product version: Windows 7 Service Pack 1, Windows Server 2012 R2
Original KB number: 976832

Symptoms

When you insert a smart card into a smart card reader, Windows tries to download and install the smart card minidrivers for the card through Plug and Play services. If the driver for the smart card is not available at any of the preconfigured locations, such as Windows Update, WSUS, or intranet paths, and a custom Crypto service provider is not already installed on the system, you receive the following error message in the notification area:

Device driver software was not successfully installed

Click here for details.

This error message disappears after several seconds.

Additionally, in Device Manager, under Other devices, the Smart Card device has a status of DNF (Driver not found).

This frequently requires the user to obtain one of the following items from the smart card issuer to resolve this error:

  1. A Windows logged smart card minidriver.
  2. A custom cryptographic service provider (CSP) for the Smart card.
  3. A Windows non-logoed smart card minidriver.
  4. Other middleware such as an ActiveX control, PKCS#11 software, or other custom software.

However, if the user is provided with only item 3 or 4 from this list, the smart card continues to work on the system. However, the user will receive the error message that is mentioned in this section every time that they insert the smart card.

This issue affects all releases of Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, and in later versions of both operating systems.

Cause

All smart cards require additional software to work in Windows unless there is an inbox driver that lets the user use the card without installing additional software. The Windows Smart Card Framework was improved in Windows 7 to enable the automatic downloading of smart card minidrivers from Windows Update or from other similar locations such as a WSUS server when the smart card is inserted into the reader. All smart cards that successfully pass the logo requirements, as published by the Windows Logo Program, benefit from this feature.

However, if the software that is required to use a smart card in Windows is not logoed or is of a type that differs from a minidriver, such as a PKCS#11 driver, a custom CSP, middleware, or an ActiveX control, the automatic download option fails because Microsoft certifies only smart card minidrivers. Therefore, if the user inserts a card for which a custom CSP is not already registered, the user receives an error message that states that the driver software is missing for the smart card device even though the user can use the smart card through additional software that was installed on the user's computer from a custom installation.

Resolution

Although the smart cards continue to work despite the error message that the user sees, a smart card issuer, vendor, or manufacturer can use one of the following methods to resolve this error.

Implement a smart card minidriver

Drivers Smart Others Support

We recommend that card issuers, vendors, and manufacturers implement smart card minidrivers and participate in the Windows Logo Program to benefit from the improvements that are introduced in the platform such as Smart Card Plug and Play, Device Stage for Smart Cards, and so on.

Implement a NULL driver for your smart card

If custom software such a PKCS#11 driver, an ActiveX control, or some other middleware is required to enable the use of smart card on Windows, and implementing a smart card minidriver or a custom CSP is not a practical option, we recommend that card issuers, vendors, or manufacturers consider submitting NULL drivers to Windows Update. The typical process for making sure that a NULL driver is available on Windows Update requires a successful unclassified device submission through Winqual. If in the future, there is a minidriver available for these cards, the new driver can be uploaded to Windows Update by participating in the Windows Logo Program. The NULL drivers can then be manually downloaded by the end users or can made available by using optional updates.

The following is a sample template for a NULL driver for a smart card.

To generate the hardware device ID that is referenced by the DEVICE_ID string in the sample, follow the instructions in the smart card minidriver's specification.

For detailed information about how to submit a NULL driver to Microsoft, please contact Microsoft Customer Support Services.

Disable Smart Card Plug and Play through Group Policy for managed computers

This option is recommended only for enterprise deployments where the computers are managed by administrators and all the necessary software to work with the smart cards that are being used in the enterprise is installed by using software management tools such as SMS.

This procedure is discouraged in the following environments because it will affect all the smart cards in your environment:

  • Commercial deployments that target end-users, such as online banking.
  • Environments that include both Plug and Play smart cards and non-Plug and Play smart cards that use Group Policy to disable Plug and Play for smart cards.

Smart Card Plug and Play can be disabled in enterprises where the end user's computer is managed by mechanisms such as Group Policy.

If your deployment uses only non-Plug and Play smart card solutions, Smart Card Plug and Play can be disabled by a local administrator on a client computer. Disabling Smart Card Plug and Play prevents smart card drivers, also known as smart card minidrivers, from downloading. It also prevents Smart Card Plug and Play prompts.

To disable Smart Card Plug and Play in local Group Policy, follow these steps:

  1. Click Start, type gpedit.msc in the Search programs and files box, and then press ENTER.

  2. In the console tree under Computer Configuration, click Administrative Templates.

  3. In the details pane, double-click Windows Components, and then double-click Smart Card.

  4. Right-click Turn on Smart Card Plug and Play service, and then click Edit.

  5. Click Disabled, and then click OK.

Change the end user's system and disable Smart Card Plug and Play for specific cards

This is the least-recommended option. You should use this option only if the cards are legacy cards and there are no plans to implement smart card minidrivers in future. This option requires that the existing software that is already installed on the system notify Windows that there is a custom CSP installed on the system even though no such CSP exists on the end-user system. As soon as Windows determines that there is a custom CSP already installed on the system, Windows does not try to download and install a driver through Smart Card Plug and Play. No device node for the smart card device is created that is visible in Device Manager. This option results in the following changes to the system registry:

Subkey: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftCryptographyCalaisSmartCards<Smart card name>

Subkey registry entries:

Other Devices Driver

  • ATR=Hexadecimal DWORD: Comma delimited ATR of the smart card.

  • ATRMask= Hexadecimal DWORD: Comma delimited mask to apply to the ATR to mask out insignificant bytes in the ATR.

  • Crypto Provider=String value: Some string relevant to your smart card.

Drivers Smart Others

For example:

Subkey: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftCryptographyCalaisSmartCardsFabrikam ATM card

Subkey registry entries:

  • ATR=Hexadecimal DWORD: 3b,dc,13,00,40,3a,49,54,47,5f,4d,53,43,53,50,5f,56,32
  • ATRMask= Hexadecimal DWORD: ff,ff,ff,ff,ff,ff,ff,ff,ff,ff,ff,ff,ff,ff,ff,ff,ff,ff
  • Crypto Provider=String value: Fabrikam ATM Dummy Provider
Drivers smart others help

For x64-bit systems, identical changes must be made under the following subkey: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREWow6432NodeMicrosoftCryptographyCalaisSmartCards

Smart driver care

We recommend that, instead of directly changing the system registry, you use WinSCard APIs to introduce these changes to the system. Here is sample code example that detects smart card insertion and then disables Smart Card Plug and Play for the particular card by creating a registry entry that associates the card with a non-existing provider.

Microsoft provides programming examples for illustration only, without warranty either expressed or implied. This includes, but is not limited to, the implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. This article assumes that you are familiar with the programming language that is being demonstrated and with the tools that are used to create and to debug procedures. Microsoft support engineers can help explain the functionality of a particular procedure. However, they will not modify these examples to provide added functionality or construct procedures to meet your specific requirements.

References

For more information about troubleshooting smart card Plug and Play issues, see Smart Card Troubleshooting Guide.