Introducing Smart Card Plug and Play

Applies To: Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2

This product evaluation topic for the IT professional describes changes to smart card implementation in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2.

New smart card support options

Windows 7 features enhanced support for smart card–related Plug and Play and the Personal Identity Verification (PIV) standard from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

This means that users of Windows 7 can use smart cards from vendors who have published their drivers through Windows Update without needing special middleware. These drivers will be downloaded in the same way as drivers for other devices in Windows. If an appropriate driver is not available from Windows Update, a PIV-compliant minidriver that is included with Windows 7 is used for these cards.

For the following scenarios, Windows will retrieve the correct minidriver for a smart card at run time:

  • Unlocking volumes encrypted with BitLocker

  • Smart card domain logon

  • Document and e-mail signing

  • Using certificates with line-of-business applications

For more information, see What's New in Smart Cards.