Smart Card Overview


Applies To: Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2012, Windows 8

This topic lists documentation resources for smart cards that include product evaluation, getting started guides, procedures, design and deployment guides, technical references, and command references.

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Feature description

Smart cards are a tamper-resistant and portable way to provide security solutions for tasks such as client authentication, logging on to domains, code signing, and securing e-mail.

Practical applications

Smart cards and their associated personal identification numbers (PINs) are an increasingly popular, reliable, and cost-effective form of two-factor authentication. With the right controls in place, the user must have the smart card and know the PIN to gain access to network resources. The two-factor requirement significantly reduces the likelihood of unauthorized access to an organization’s network. Smart cards provide particularly effective security control in two scenarios: to secure administrator accounts and to secure remote access.

See also

The following table provides links to relevant resources in understanding and using smart cards.

Content type


Product evaluation

What's New in Smart Cards | Understanding and Evaluating Virtual Smart Cards

Scenario documentation

Strong Authentication with One-Time Passwords in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2

Planning and Architecture

Windows Smart Card Technical Reference
Covers all supported versions


Smart Card Troubleshooting Guide

Community resources

Windows Security Survival Guide