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Updated: 19/08/2014
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Smartcard reader installation troubleshooting guide



  • Apply this procedure in case your smartcard cannot be detected by your software or you have doubts about your reader installation. This procedure applies to all PC/SC compliant readers on Microsoft systems from Windows XP.
  • Other problems not directly related to installation (functional, mechanical or aspect issues) are not covered by this procedure.


  • Ensure that your smart card reader is physically plugged to your machine according to the note supplied with your device.
  • Before starting the procedure, ensure that you are currently connected to your system using an account that has local administrative rights, needed to be granted for:
    • The load\unload driver privilege.
    • The permissions needed to copy files to the system32\drivers directory.
    • The permissions needed to write settings to the registry.
  • In case you are running Vista and 7, you will also need to disable temporarily the UAC this way:
    • Start >> Run >> Type "msconfig" then enter
    • Go to the "Tools" tab
    • Double click the "Disable UAC" option.
    • Reboot the system

Check reader detection at hardware level

Check if the right driver for your reader is installed. To do this: open the device manager using the keyboard shortcut Windows key + Pause (break), then select the "Hardware" tab:


Now click the "Device Manager" button:


Ensure that the reader you are using is visible under the "Smart Card Reader" section and the driver is functioning properly. A smartcard reader correctly recognized by the system appears like below in the device manager (name of the reader may be different depending on your model):


In case your reader is well detected but not correctly installed, an exclamation mark will appear:


The reason why the reader is not correctly installed may vary: either a wrong driver has been installed or there are some missing / corrupted keys in the registry.  To get a better idea of what is wrong, right-click on the smartcard reader name, then click Properties on the menu:


In the following case, there is a problem with the registry. In such case, you should try to uninstall the current driver and install it again. If you notice no improvement, you may encounter a registry corruption. In such case, you will have to run specific Microsoft commands to check your registry integrity, but this is out of the scope of the present procedure.


In case a wrong driver or no driver was found when you plugged your smartcard reader in, you will probably get the following error:

pcscre6 pcscre7

In such case, go to the Gemalto support site http://support.gemalto.com/download and download the driver that corresponds to your device.

Install the driver

Go back to section "Check reader detection at hardware level " and check if your reader is correctly installed now. If this is the case go to next step "Check reader installation at system level". Otherwise try to plug your reader into another USB slot of the same machine or into another machine. If you get the same kind of problem, your reader is probably faulty.

Check reader installation at system level

Assuming that your reader is correctly detected at hardware level, and the appropriate driver is installed (as described in the previous section) we will check now the higher level of the Microsoft software that manages the smartcard readers in the system.

The easiest way to do that is to use Gemalto Smartdiag utility software. You may find it in Windows main menu in "Programs >> Gemalto >> Smartdiag" in case you already instaleld some Gemalto software. Otherwise you will be able to get it from this support page here.

Download and install the Smartdiag tool on your system.

Insert a smartcard in your reader and run Smartdiag, you will get the following view, click on Start to run the diagnostic:


First case : If you get the status "PASSED", everything should be fine concerning your reader installation, just click "Advanced view" to get the confirmation:


We cannot see any problem reported neither on the smartcard nor on the reader. The simple fact that the smartcard type is displayed (here an " Axalto Cryptoflex .NET") is the proof that the reader is correctly installed and fully functional. In that case, you can stop here this procedure: if you have still an issue using your software application it is probably not due to a hardware failure but to a system or software installation / configuration issue that is not covered here.


Second case: The status given by Smartdiag is "FAILED", and a specific error message is displayed:


Since we are now at system level, a failing diagnostic can have various reasons: corruption of the smartcard service or related components, permissions missing on certain parts of the registry, on services or on files located on the hard disk, bad entries in the registry.

When you get the "FAILED" status, click on the "Advanced view" to get a complete status:

  • If you have an error on the Resource Manager


Go to I have a Resource Manager error in the SmartDiag tool

  • If you have an error on the card itself


Go to The SmartDiag tool displays "Unregistered Card" or "Mute Card".

You can also get information to resolve a specific issue in the Readers and Tokens FAQ

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