Signing Windows 7 x64 drivers

For security reasons, 64-bit versions of Windows Vista and newer require the drivers to be digitally signed to load. This strict driver signing policy leads to one of the following:

  • The driver must contain an embedded driver signature.
  • The driver must be distributed together with an INF file and a signed catalog file.

For development and test purposes, the signing requirement can be bypassed using several methods. This tutorial focus on using a test certificate and the Test Mode to install and load self-signed drivers.


  • Windows 7 x64.
  • WDK version 7.1.0 (free download from the Microsoft Download Center).

Once you are familiar with driver signing tools and requirement, you can update the previous configuration to target other platforms.

Download the WDK’s ISO file, extract it to your hard drive (I recommend using 7-Zip) then run KitSetup.exe to install it into C:\WinDDK\7600.16385.1\ (default folder).

My working folder is C:\Briolidz\MyDrivers.

Windows Test Mode

The Test Mode allow loading any type of test-signed kernel-mode code by adding the TESTSIGNING boot configuration option.

To activate Test Mode you need to start a command prompt with administrator rights then execute the following command (use off switch to disable it):

C:\Windows\system32> bcdedit /set testsigning on

Restart the computer for the change to take effect.

Upon reboot you will notice that the Test Mode watermark is present on the desktop. If you can’t stand seeing this watermark you can use Remove Watermarks to remove it. I highly recommend backing up the original user32.dll.mui file on your system before it gets patched.

Create certificate

– Open with administrator rights the WDK command prompt : Start -> Windows Driver Kits -> WDK 7600.16385.1 -> Build Environments -> Windows 7 -> x64 Free Build Environment. Then move to the working folder:

C:\WinDDK\7600.16385.1> cd C:\Briolidz\MyDrivers

– Create a certificate and install it into the Trusted Root Certification Authorities store:

C:\Briolidz\MyDrivers> makecert.exe -$ individual -r -pe -ss "Briolidz Certificate Store" -n CN="Briolidz Certificate" "Briolidz Certificate.cer"

C:\Briolidz\MyDrivers> certmgr.exe /add "Briolidz Certificate.cer" /s /r localMachine root

C:\Briolidz\MyDrivers> certmgr.exe /add "Briolidz Certificate.cer" /s /r localMachine trustedpublisher

– Verify that the certificate is correctly installed in “Briolidz Certificate Store” -> Certificates:

C:\Briolidz\MyDrivers> %WINDIR%\system32\certmgr.msc

Driver without an INF file

– Sign the driver (for instance MyDriverNoInf.sys) with the certificate:

C:\Briolidz\MyDrivers> signtool.exe sign /v /s "Briolidz Certificate Store" /n "Briolidz Certificate" /t MyDriverNoInf.sys

– Verify the signed driver validity:

C:\Briolidz\MyDrivers> signtool.exe verify /pa /v MyDriverNoInf.sys

– Install the driver.

Driver with INF file(s)

– Move to the working folder and open your INF file (for instance MyDriverWithInf.inf) in a text editor:

Ensure that under the [version] section you have an entry specifying a .cat file (see “CatalogFile” key).  Also make sure that the date format is correct. Below a sample:

Signature   = "$Windows NT$"
Class       = NetService
ClassGUID = {4D36E974-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}
Provider  = %Msft%
DriverVer = 01/01/2012,7.0.5019.0
CatalogFile =

– Create .cat (catalog) file:

CAT files are catalogue files that contain the information about the driver package. These need to be generated from the INF files to allow the signing to be done.

C:\Briolidz\MyDrivers> Inf2cat /driver:"C:\Briolidz\MyDrivers" /os:7_x64

Running this successfully will generate (Note that the CAT file specify Windows 7 x64 for installation). Update “/os” switch to target other operating systems.

– Sign the catalog file:

C:\Briolidz\MyDrivers> signtool.exe sign /v /s "Briolidz Certificate Store" /n "Briolidz Certificate" /t

– Some drivers have several INF files. They can be located in driver’s folder or in its subfolders. In this case, you MUST REPEAT PREVIOUS COMMANDS for each INF file.

– Install the driver.


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