SCardEstablishContext function (winscard.h)

The SCardEstablishContext function establishes the resource manager context (the scope) within which database operations are performed.


LONG SCardEstablishContext(
  [in]  DWORD          dwScope,
  [in]  LPCVOID        pvReserved1,
  [in]  LPCVOID        pvReserved2,
  [out] LPSCARDCONTEXT phContext


[in] dwScope

Scope of the resource manager context. This parameter can be one of the following values.

Value Meaning
Database operations are performed within the domain of the user.
Database operations are performed within the domain of the system. The calling application must have appropriate access permissions for any database actions.

[in] pvReserved1

Reserved for future use and must be NULL. This parameter will allow a suitably privileged management application to act on behalf of another user.

[in] pvReserved2

Reserved for future use and must be NULL.

[out] phContext

A handle to the established resource manager context. This handle can now be supplied to other functions attempting to do work within this context.

Return value

If the function succeeds, the function returns SCARD_S_SUCCESS.

If the function fails, it returns an error code. For more information, see Smart Card Return Values.


The context handle returned by SCardEstablishContext can be used by database query and management functions. For more information, see Smart Card Database Query Functions and Smart Card Database Management Functions.

To release an established resource manager context, use SCardReleaseContext.

If the client attempts a smart card operation in a remote session, such as a client session running on a terminal server, and the operating system in use does not support smart card redirection, this function returns ERROR_BROKEN_PIPE.


The following example establishes a resource manager context.

LONG            lReturn;
// Establish the context.
lReturn = SCardEstablishContext(SCARD_SCOPE_USER,
if ( SCARD_S_SUCCESS != lReturn )
    printf("Failed SCardEstablishContext\n");
    // Use the context as needed. When done,
    // free the context by calling SCardReleaseContext.
    // ...


Minimum supported client Windows XP [desktop apps only]
Minimum supported server Windows Server 2003 [desktop apps only]
Target Platform Windows
Header winscard.h
Library Winscard.lib
DLL Winscard.dll

See also