Smart Card Authentication

The basic parts of the smart card subsystem are based on PC/SC standards (see the specifications at These basic parts include:

  • A resource manager that uses a Windows API.
  • A user interface (UI) that works with the resource manager.
  • Several base service providers that provide access to specific services. In contrast to the resource manager's Windows API, service providers use a COM interface model to provide smart card services.

The following illustration shows the relationships of these parts in the overall smart card architecture.

smart card architecture

For information about how the smart card subsystem works with other services available in the Microsoft Internet Security Framework, see Relation to Other Services.

For information about smart card authentication, see the following topics.

Topics Contents
Smart Card Concepts
Basic concepts and description of the interaction between users and smart cards.
Smart Card Resource Manager
Information about the resource manager API, which manages the access to readers and to smart cards.
Smart Card User Interface
Information about the smart card common dialog box.
Smart Card Service Providers
Information about interfaces, commands, and wrappers that provide smart card capabilities.


Additionally, current Microsoft smart card developments can be found at