Windows Vista x64 To Require Signed Drivers


For Windows Vista and later versions of the Windows family of operating systems, kernel-mode software must have a digital signature to load on x64-based computer systems.

This paper describes how to manage the signing process for kernel-mode code for Windows Vista, including how to obtain a Publisher Identity Certificate (PIC), guidelines for protecting keys, and how to sign a driver package by using tools that are provided in the Windows Driver Kit (WDK).


What this means for Windows Vista. To increase the safety and stability of the Microsoft Windows platform, beginning with Windows Vista:

Users who are not administrators cannot install unsigned device drivers.

Drivers must be signed for devices that stream protected content. This includes audio drivers that use Protected User Mode Audio (PUMA) and Protected Audio Path (PAP), and video device drivers that handle protected video path-output protection management (PVP-OPM) commands.

Unsigned kernel-mode software will not load and will not run on x64-based systems.

Note: Even users with administrator privileges cannot load unsigned kernel-mode code on x64-based systems. This applies for any software module that loads in kernel mode, including device drivers, filter drivers, and kernel services.

To optimize the performance of driver verification at boot time, boot-driver binaries must have an embedded Publisher Identity Certificate (PIC) in addition to the signed .cat file for the package.

Read the rest here


Filed under Windows Vista

4 responses to “Windows Vista x64 To Require Signed Drivers

  1. Stephen

    Like many, the main concern regarding Vista will be driver support … especially being I now have the AMD 64 processor. I am also looking forward to running the beta in 64 bit mode, just as you\’ve been doing. 🙂

  2. Andre

    Its pretty stable, but as we already know the Driver issue is still not resolved, I hoping to see stronger driver support from the Industry by at least RC. Still, I would give it a year to really take off. Whats scaring me is, will consumers who already own a 64-bit processor and purchase the upgrade to Windows Vista, which instruction code will they choose to run, 32 or 64 bit? That can have a major negative support on 64 bit driver development, especially with millions of modern 32 bit machines in existence that can run Windows Vista x86 just fine.

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