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Install Test Signatures for Windows Drivers

In Windows Vista, if you have received a driver from a vendor for testing purposes that is not yet signed, you can use a test signature to validate the driver and to test the installation. Test signing is the act of digitally signing an application with a private key and corresponding code-signing certificate that is trusted only within the confines of a test environment.

There are two primary ways to generate such test-signing certificates:

  • Developers can generate their own self-signed certificates.
  • Certificates can be issued by a certification authority (CA).

For either option, test-signing certificates must be clearly identified as appropriate only for testing purposes. For example, the word "test" can be included in the certificate subject name and additional legal disclaimers can also be included in the certificate. Production certificates that are issued by commercial CAs must be reserved for signing only public beta releases and public final releases of software and internal line-of-business software.

For additional information, see Driver Signing Requirements for Windows.

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