After finally reinstalling Windows on my main PC (the smart card components in the old install were trashed), I dusted off the old smart card reader and started looking into smart card-based logon options again.
Windows logon screen using a smart card
After finding a way to forceconvince the installer for EIDAuthenticate, a program that lets you use smart cards to log on a Windows computer without the use of domains and Active Directory, to run on Windows 7 Professional (Microsoft DreamSpark only lets me obtain the Professional editions of Windows), I found a program called NFC Connector Light that lets you use any NFC-compatible smart card as a means of authentication.
Virtual smart card with certificate installed
NFC Connector Light links the unique identifier in an NFC-based smart card to create a virtual smart card on the local computer (no data is stored in the card itself), and that virtual card can be used like a real smart card within Windows. When paired with EIDAuthenticate, logging on is as simple as placing the smart card on the NFC reader and entering a PIN. This is especially useful when you set the Windows smart card policy to lock the computer when the card is removed (and it feels kind of cool to be able to lock your computer simply by taking your card off the reader).
After working so much with these battery chips, I thought I should spice up the Windows file icon for the .gg files that clutter my documents folder.
16×16 pixels (Enlarged)
32×32 pixels (Enlarged)
48×48 pixels (Enlarged)
I’m not a person for glossy icons, but I’m also not a fan of the super-flat colour scheme that the Windows Metro UI uses. I prefer the good old style of Windows 9x-esque icons (hey, it’s what I grew up on! 🙂 ), albeit with a more… contemporary colour scheme. Keep it simple!
Update (December 11, 2017): For those on Windows 10, click HERE for the SCR300 driver package – digitally signed to ensure compatibility. Extract the files, right-click the appropriate x86/x64 .INF file and select “Install”. Proceed with the installation as shown below.
A viewer requested help on installing the drivers for the Schlumberger Reflex USB smart card reader, so I’ve created a step-by-step instruction guide on doing so.
1. Plug in the smart card reader into an available USB port. Windows should attempt to install a driver but won’t succeed.
Windows detecting reader…
Of course, no drivers found yet.
2. Open Device Manager, and select the “SLB ReflexUSB SmartCard Reader” in the list.
Enter “devmgmt.msc” in the Run window to open Device Manager.
Select the “SLB ReflexUSB SmartCard Reader” from the list.
Click “Update Driver…” to begin the driver installation process.
3. Follow the wizard and opt to install the drivers manually.
Choose “Browse my computer for driver software” as Windows will not be able to to auto-select the driver for you.
Select “Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer”. This will allow us to force a driver install for the smart card reader.
When presented with a list of devices, scroll down to “Smart card readers” and click Next.
Scroll down to “SCM Microsystems” under the Manufacturer list, and select the “SCM Microsystems SCR300 USB Smart Card Reader”. Windows should say that the drivers are digitally signed.
Windows will alert you that the device driver may not be compatible; click Yes to continue.
Once you see “Windows has successfully updated your driver software” your smart card reader should work properly now.
Windows now recognizes the smart card reader.
4. Enjoy your now-functional smart card reader.
The reader is recognized in Windows, and in PC SC Diagnostic, a third-party application.
For a tutorial on how to install the drivers, click here.
A while back a friend of mine gave me an old smart card reader that was of no use to him; he had no need to use smart cards at home and the reader he gave me, a Schlumberger Reflex USB reader, had no support in 64-bit Windows 7, or so it seemed.
I cracked open the reader (didn’t take any effort, there are no screws nor snap-clips holding the case together) and found the internal part number: an SCM Microsystems SCR301 reader. Forcing Windows to use the SCM Microsystems SCR300 driver was successful in getting the reader to show up in Windows, meaning that I had a free, usable smart card reader to tinker around with. Awesome.
Update on June 20, 2013: Added a screenshot of the reader in Device Manager.