I guess I touched a nerve...Vista driver signing requirements

This post seems to have touched some raw nerves.  I wasn't expecting that but I'm not surprised either given all the feedback I've heard re: driver signing since the first beta of XP.   I understand the frustrations, I also know that when Windows crashes it is usually because of a 3rd part kernel mode driver.  Who gets the blame from the user though?  Microsoft.  Who takes the support call?  Microsoft.  Microsoft has a vested interest in ensuring that 3rd part kernel mode code is not going to crash systems and that when it does we can track down the 3rd party and resolve the problem.

From reading the comments it appears a couple of things are not getting communicated clearly enough.

Will Dean: "*Requiring* WHQL signing would be one of the worst decisions MS ever made. Nobody who has EVER worked *outside* MS developing peripherals or drivers would support this. Acheiving WHQL signing is difficult, slow, expensive, and backed by an extremely poorly documented test suite which rarely does the same thing twice, and rarely fails because of the thing you're testing."

Actually, WHQL signing is not required, nor is using the test suite.  The requirement is that all x64 kernel mode drivers be signed with a PIC.  The PIC is issued by Microsoft but has nothing to do with WHQL.  From the whitepaper....

"A signed driver package must have a signed Microsoft Authenticode® catalog (.cat) file. This file contains a digital certificate that identifies the origin of the package plus hashes of the contents of the package that allow the system to verify that it has not been altered. A signed .cat file can be obtained in one of two ways:

· Obtain a Windows logo. Drivers that pass WHQL testing for the Windows Logo Program receive a .cat file that is signed during the WHQL submission process.

For information about the Windows Logo Program, see “Resources” at the end of this paper.

· Obtain a PIC and use it to create a signed .cat file. PICs are issued by Microsoft and can be used to sign kernel-mode modules that are intended for Windows Vista. The PIC verifies the integrity and origin of a driver. To be signed with a PIC, drivers are not required to pass WHQL testing."


Norman: "I would rather manipulate the registry or whatever, using known programmatic techniques, instead of pushing buttons on a dialog that was designed to be seen. I've been shafted twice by automatic button pushers."


The unsigned driver dialog is really not relevent to this discussion. The important change is that it will be impossible to load unsigned kernel mode drivers in Vista x64 systems. From the whitepaper..."Even users with administrator privileges cannot load unsigned kernel-mode code on x64-based systems. This applies for any software module that loads in kernel mode, including device drivers, filter drivers, and kernel services."


SiM : "Drivers DigSig is generally good move with one exception: currently it _requires_ Verisign certificate and so establishes Verisign monopoly."


Good point. This part is really just policy however. I could see it changing, especially if you give feedback to the right people.