Home > Uncategorized > “No valid certificates were found on this smart card”

“No valid certificates were found on this smart card”

At work we use smart cards for TFA and largely for accessing company resources remotely.  I’m currently using a Gemalto .NET smart card with an OMNIKEY Cardman 6121—a SIM-sized SC plugged into a USB dongle which is more convenient than the older full-sized SC and wired Omnikey 3021 used previously.

For years this setup has been fine.  Connect to work from home, when certificates expire renew them, and when the card runs out of space delete the expired certs.

However a few months ago I started seeing the following error instead of getting prompted for my PIN:


No valid certificates were found on this smart card. Please try another smart card or contact your administrator

The same smart card still worked on my laptop and on other PCs so it wasn’t a matter of a expired certs.  But complicating matters was that my home PC’s TPM, of which I had stored virtual smart cards, had those same certs expire roughly around the same time and the error “No valid certificates” can be interpreted as (I feel) “we found certs, but none of them are valid” so I spent some extra cycles making sure all my certificates were updated and valid instead of finding the real problem.  (And between then and now I also updated the same system to Windows 10 which would explain the difference in screenshots)

After putting the problem aside for a while, I eventually noticed my working laptop was using the Gemalto mini-driver version and the system which didn’t work was using version  I installed the Gemalto version from the Windows Driver Catalog but whenever I selected the driver for the card it would update back to and because I was busy with other things at the time I didn’t really press on it.


 .NET Gemalto search on the Windows Driver Catalog (to install, download a cab locally, unpack it, and right-click the .inf and select “Install”)

However when I went to enumerate the certificates on the card via command `certutil –scinfo > scinfo.txt` instead of getting a PIN prompt the certificates I got this error instead:


The smart card cannot perform the requested operation or the operation requires a different smart card

and the scinfo.txt output file indicated failures reading the key container when the same operation succeeded on my laptop:

================ Certificate 0 ================
--- Reader: OMNIKEY CardMan 6121 0
--- Card: Axalto Cryptoflex .NET
Provider = Microsoft Base Smart Card Crypto Provider
Key Container = (null) [Default Container]
Cannot open the AT_SIGNATURE key for reader: OMNIKEY CardMan 6121 0 …

Knowing the key container is read/written to by the mini-driver, failure to read then still hinted at some incompatibility with the particular Gemalto mini-driver version I had installed.

So I went back to Device Management (devmgmt.msc) and selected the Gemalto IDPrime .NET Smart Card node under the Smart cards node.  From there I selected “Update Driver…” > “Browse my computer for driver software” > “Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer” and chose the previously-installed driver version:


Now when authenticating I can see the smart card LED blinking finally indicating activity and eventually the familiar PIN prompt:


Hooray, I can work from home again.

Categories: Uncategorized
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