Windows Kernel-Mode Code Signing for Drivers

Digitally sign your Windows kernel-mode drivers using an extended validation (EV) Microsoft Windows driver signing certificate for as little as $250 per year (save 12%).

Kernel-mode code signing helps ensure these essential software components are trusted by Windows Vista and later versions of Windows operating systems. It also helps to protect them against tampering by unauthorized parties.

Not sure where to find an extended validation (EV) Windows driver signing certificate at a great price? We’ll help you compare Microsoft driver signing digital certificates to identify the right one for your software project.

Compare Windows Code Signing Certificates

Let’s get right to the point: All kernel-mode drivers must be digitally signed using an EV code signing certificate and submitted to the Windows Hardware Developer Center (Dev Portal) for review. The table below provides an overview of the five kernel-mode code signing certificate options that we offer at CodeSigningStore.com:

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Get the lowest price on a trusted code signing certificate that works for your needs. 100% guaranteed.

DigiCert Logo
MSRP$717.00/yr$524.66Per year

Sectigo Logo
MSRP$349.00/yr$277.71Per year

Comodo Logo
MSRP$349.00/yr$277.71Per year


MSRP$284.25/yr$250.00Per year


MSRP$687.75/yr$372.69Per year

ProductDigicert EV Code Signing
Certificate
Sectigo EV Code Signing
Certificate
Comodo EV Code Signing
Certificate
GoGetSSL EV Code Signing
Certificate
GoGetSSL EV Cloud
Signing
Certificate
Validation TypeStandardStandardStandardStandardStandard
Insuance Time1-5 Days5-10 Days5-10 Days1-5 Days1-4 Days
Removes Unknown Publisher WarningYesYesYesYesYes
Removes Microsoft SmartScreen WarningsYesYesYesYesYes
Trusted for Driver Signing/Windows Developer CenterYesYesYesYesYes
Requires Secure Key Storage HardwareYesYesYesYesNo

All EV code signing certificates offered by CodeSigningStore.com are trusted by Microsoft and will work for driver signing.

Want to Make Kernel-Mode Driver Signing as Easy as Possible? We Can Help

Microsoft no longer views digitally signing drivers as a wish list item. This is particularly true for kernel-mode drivers, as Windows 10 or later operating systems won’t trust unsigned ones. But getting and using a code signing certificate doesn’t have to be complicated, and it certainly doesn’t have to blow up your budget. This is why CodeSigningStore.com partners with the leading certificate authorities globally to make the process as simple and affordable as possible.

How do we achieve this? By offering the following for our driver-signing products and services:

  • Competitive prices on Windows kernel-mode code signing certificates
  • Versatile certificate enrollment options
  • Rapid certificate issuance times
  • Robust resources and educational materials
  • Technical support you can rely on 24/7

What Is a Windows Kernel-Mode Driver Signing Certificate?

A Windows kernel-mode code signing certificate is a tool that allows you to sign the drivers at the heart of your device’s operating system. More specifically, it’s a small file that protects your Windows driver and/or driver package against unauthorized alterations and proves its authenticity to device operating systems.

Why is this important? Because the certificate is issued by a trusted third party (i.e., a certificate authority, or CA for short). The CA attests that your digital identity is accurate — that you are who you say you are — after thoroughly vetting you and/or your organization. It then issues a code signing certificate you can use to sign driver packages and files so you can attach your digital identity to the driver.  

Windows 10 and Later Drivers Must Be Signed Using an EV Code Signing Certificate

Starting in Windows 10, all kernel-mode drivers and user-mode driver submissions must be signed by a developer whose Windows Hardware Dev Center account has an extended validation (EV) code signing certificate. Kernel-mode drivers must be uploaded to the Windows Hardware Dev Center dashboard and digitally signed by the Windows Hardware Compatibility Program (WHCP). 

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Note: Virtual drivers share the same digital signing requirements as physical hardware drivers.

For earlier versions of Windows (Windows 8/8.1 and older), the drivers will be signed by the Windows Certification Program instead of the WHCP.

How to Ensure Your Kernel-Mode Drivers Are Trusted By Windows Operating Systems

For a driver to be digitally signed and trusted by various Windows operating systems as Windows Certified, it must be certified as meeting specific security, compatibility, and functionality and Windows Hardware Compatibility Program requirements. Once you have developed your driver, you must:

  • Purchase an extended validation code signing certificate from a trusted source.
  • Sign up for a Microsoft Windows Hardware Developer Program account and upload your EV certificate to the Dev Portal.
  • Go through Microsoft’s driver signing process, which includes digitally signing your driver files or package using the EV code signing certificate.
  • Test your driver. For a driver to be eligible for the Windows Certification, you also must run tests using the appropriate test framework for the Windows operating system you’re creating the driver for:
    • Windows Hardware Lab Kit (HLK) or virtual HLK for Windows 10 or later OS versions,
    • Windows Logo Kit (WLK) hardware submission package for the 2008 or older versions of Windows Server.
  • Submit your signed kernel-mode driver to the Windows Hardware Developer Center to be reviewed (if necessary) and digitally signed by Microsoft. Click on the previous link to learn more about Microsoft’s driver submission, publishing, and distribution processes.

How to Use a Windows Kernel Mode Code Signing Certificate

An extended validation (EV) code signing certificate must be uploaded to Microsoft for verification before the tech giant will sign your driver. Why? Because kernel-mode drivers are privileged software components that operate at your device’s core operating system level. They enable critical systems and devices to communicate and do their jobs.

Typically, these drivers require signing by using an EV code signing certificate. The signed driver must then be uploaded to the Microsoft Hardware Dev Center dashboard for review, where it’ll then be signed by a Microsoft CA certificate.

Why You Should Always Sign Windows Kernel-Mode Drivers

Signing your Windows prior to distribution and any subsequent updates helps to:

  • Abide by Windows Driver Signature Enforcement
  • Eliminate unverified driver-related errors
  • Assert your verified digital identity,
  • Prevent tampering or infection of the driver,
  • Enable your driver to be publicly released (when paired with other steps)
  • Increase user trust in your brand and products, and

Microsoft Windows Kernel-Mode Code Signing Resources

Do you have an EV code signing certificate and you’re ready to start signing Windows kernel-mode drivers? We have a few resources to help you get started:

How to Sign Kernel Mode Drivers

Not sure how to sign Windows kernel-mode drivers? We’ll walk you through the process with this step-by-step guide.

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How to Sign an MSI File or Installer Package With a Code Signing Certificate in SignTool

Explore how to digitally signing a Microsoft software installation file or package ensures it’s trusted outside your organization.

Get your certificate issued faster with our validation concierge.

Let one of our code signing experts help you fast-track your paperwork so you can get validated sooner.

  • We’ll help you identify the simplest paperwork option for your country and get the necessary forms completed and submitted for validation
  • Have a question about the code signing process? Our support team is ready to help you 24/7 via phone, chat, or email.
  • Hit a problem with the validation process? One of our code signing experts will help you troubleshoot the issue and fix it as quickly as possible.
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