Smart card reader issues with Windows 8.1 Pro 64bit

Olav Seyfarth olav at
Mon Nov 4 16:11:24 CET 2013

Hash: RIPEMD160

Hi list,

for a couple of years now I use an OpenPGP SmartCard for my daily mail.
Every message I sign gets signed by the card, every encrypted message I
receive gets decrypted by it. My v1 card failed one day without warning,
my v2 card works fine ever since I got it (when v2 cards were released).

I used several computers, running Windows most of the time. And had many issues.
With Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. While I was astouned by the lack of support
and plug-n-play integration of smart card readers  (at least some years ago),
I also had trouble with Windows.

My Fujitsu Lifebook E780 for example: i7, 8G RAM, SSD, 15" non-glare display,...
A configuration one may also buy today. But it's no longer supported by Fujitsu.
Support in terms of BIOS and driver updates ended 2009(!), shortly after I
bought it, and as soon as the successor model was released.

I chose to buy that laptop because it had a self-encrypting SSD, a fingerprint
reader - and a built-in smart card reader. But I was never able to use it with
my OpenPGP SmartCard: after the laptop went to standby the reader would no
longer recognize any card until rebooted. Fujitsu support (3rd Level, Japan!)
told me that this must be a SmartCard issue since the reader works fine in many
big companies around the globe. Thank you...

In all Windows versions, that internal smart card reader needs a special driver,
it's not known by Windows/Microsoft. In Windoes 7 and 8 I had the above issues.
In Windows 8.1 I could install the W7 drivers and the device would be listed
100% functional. But once I enter ANY SmartCard, I get a blue screen. So I
disabled the built-in reader

Instead, I bought myself a CardMan 4040 and it worked absolutely smoothly for
me - from Windows XP to Windows 8 - without "special" drivers!

Not so in Windows 8.1. Here the reader is also recognized and installs its
drivers. For some seconds, device properties show that it is up an running fine,
but after what sems like no time, it shows a device error and can't be accessed.
Asking HID support, I received no answer at all...

Since my other SCM readers SCR-335 (USB) and SCR-3340 (PC-Express/54) work fine
and there are at least more recent drivers on their website, I bought a used(!)
SCR-243 (PCMCIA). It also gets recognized after an automatic initial driver
download through Windows Update but it does not recognise any SmartCard.

I try to find out now whether just the reader I bought is broken or does not
work with Windows 8.1 at all. Does anyone use a SCR-243 with Windows 8.1?

Any other good experiences with other PC-Express/54 and/or PCMCIA readers using
GnuPG on Windows 8.1? Any hints or recommendations?

I own a CryptoStick (1.1) and could use that, but I really would like to use my
Card as it is - with a SmartCard reader... on Win 8.1, Mac OS X, and Linux.

- -- 
The Enigmail Project - OpenPGP Email Security For Mozilla Applications
Version: GnuPG v2.0.22 (MingW32)
Comment: Dies ist eine elektronische Signatur -


More information about the Gnupg-users mailing list