What is a Windows Code Signing Certificate [ A Detailed Guide]

What is a Windows Code Signing Certificate

The Windows Code Signing Certificate is critical to the developer as well as the user. This is because these certificates add a layer of security to your digital solution. The consumer feels that the software is safe to use, and it is easy to deal with. On the other hand, for a developer or development company, boosting their software with a signing certificate means good business. in Study by interesting geometryIt has been found that cyberattacks are more likely to shoot down an F-35 than a missile. Almost everyone has come across one of these news where their friend, relative, colleague or anyone in the circle is the victim of a cyber crime. Therefore, to protect yourself and everyone around you, it is important to tread carefully on the web. One aspect of this careful approach is to check if the software you are about to download is locked with an extension Windows Code Signing Certificate.

How can Microsoft developers use code signing?

Microsoft has made development apps and software relatively easy for developers compared to development systems in the past. A wide range of Microsoft products are available today, and code signing is recommended for most of these products. These include;

DevOps Experience 2022

1. Windows desktop developers: Desktop-based programs built with Microsoft development tools require code signing certificates to make their solution secure and maintain code integrity.

Users open browsers, Outlook, and other Microsoft programs via executable files. In this scenario, when they come across unsigned executables. At this time, Windows sends the user a message that the file is not safe to download.

To prevent this from happening, you need to sign your custom Windows desktop software with a digital certificate.

2. Microsoft Office and VBA Developers: Microsoft Office and VBA macros always prefer to integrate with programs that have a code signing certificate from a trusted source.

Here again, to prevent a program from interrupting users with a security warning or a macro from failing to load the macro, VBA developers using executables need to sign their programs with a code signing certificate.

3. Windows Phone and Xbox 360 developers: Games and executable applications with a code signing certificate are recommended by service providers. Therefore, game developers who use the Microsoft Development Kit and IDE to create games must obtain a trusted CA to issue a signing certificate.

Obtaining a code signing certificate before running any application or program on the Windows platform means that your solution will also get Microsoft Windows® Logo. This will add a critical factor to your solution.

Types of Code Signing Certificates

Now that you understand what a Windows Code Signing Certificate is, let’s move on to learn about the types of Code Signing Certificates.

Standard Code Signing (OV) Certificates

This type of code signing certificate is also called Organization Validation (OV) Code Signing Certificate. In this, the CA will verify that the organization is trying to secure the code signing certificate. As a result, the name of the organization is also included in the list of trusted parties. This lends more credibility, trust and reputation to the organisation.

Businesses and organizations, including government companies, use this form of token-signing certificate to build trust among their customers. However, due to some past events, most notably, when hackers obtained NVIDIA code signing certificates, some changes are expected to be rolled out in the next few months.

  • After November 15, all new and reissued OV and IV token signing certificates will be stored on preconfigured devices provided by CAs.

* Basically, devices must be FIPS 140-2 Level 2 and Common Criteria EAL4+ compliant (or equivalent).

  • Also, token signing certificates will now be shipped to the recipient in a USB device to the user’s Hardware Security Module (HSM). This method is already used for EV token signing certificates. But OV token signing certificates will also be provided similarly.
  • The recipient of the Windows Code Signing Certificate will no longer complete certificate signing requests. Instead, the CAs will take care of all the technical stuff.

Electric Vehicle Code Signing Certificate

The Validation Code Signature Certificate Extension It aims to provide the greatest amount of confidence to visitors and users. In addition, these certificates also need most of the time to prepare at the end of the CA.

To issue a signature certificate for electric vehicles, CAs need additional documents. These include;

  1. Electric Vehicle Subscriber Agreement – Signed
  2. Electric Vehicle Authorization Form – Website
  3. Submit any of the following;
    • Company number Dun and Bradstreet.
    • A letter from a chartered accountant – to verify the business.
    • A letter to register a legal opinion or a Latin notary letter.
    • Letter of legal opinion to verify the government entity (only intended for government agencies and companies).

Once you submit the details, the CA or its partner will check a few things, including;

  • Legal presence and identity
  • Presumed trade name
  • operational presence
  • physical existence
  • Domain Ownership
  • Name, surname, authority and signature

Finally, the Windows EV Code Signing Certificate is necessary to sign all Windows 10 drivers and any other driver. This certification provides the driver or solution with an instant SmartScreen badge. It ultimately helps in building the right authority and verifying the identity of the user.

Microsoft software and solution developers always face the dilemma of which Windows Code Signing Certificate fits. Continue the above to see their differences and make an informed decision.

What Windows Code Signing Certificate should I use?

To choose between the two, follow the table below;

OV Code Signature Certificate Electric Vehicle Code Signing Certificate
The requirements for obtaining an OV token signature certificate are less stringent. EV Code Signature Certificate has multiple strict requirements. In addition, entities undergo a rigorous verification process.
OV certificate holders do not benefit from instant reputation. Their reputation for the program will be built organically. With an EV, your software or solution gets an immediate reputation boost. This is because of the SmartScreen badge that comes with this type of Windows Code Signing Certificate.
The certificate file is stored in the user’s system. But that will change after November 15, when the OV certificates are stored on a CA-recommended HSM. However, to use the certificate to sign a program or executable file, OV certificates can be easily shared with other devices and users. The EV token signing certificate is stored with two-factor authentication. Users are provided with an encrypted token and private key which are required to sign any program or executable file.
It may take anywhere from one to three days for the OV token signing certificate to be issued. It may take anywhere from one to five days for an EV token signing certificate to be issued.

To make it easier for you, you can go ahead with an OV token signing certificate if you don’t want to spend a lot of money on this exercise. In addition, a Windows OV Code Signing Certificate is recommended when the program is started for testing. Second, choose this, if you can’t build an instant reputation, you can let nature take its course.

However, if you want an instant reputation boost and are looking to sign Windows 10 Kernel mode drivers, you need a Windows EV Code Signing Certificate.

Benefits of a Windows Code Signing Certificate

After purchasing a Windows Code Signing Certificate, a few things will take effect. These include;

Better security for your software: When you sign the software with a code signing certificate, it will get SHA-2 hash protection. This means that any case of tampering with the source code will be immediately recognized.

When the user’s browser or operating system defragments the executable, it will know if the integrity of the program is intact. In the latter case, the user will receive a message, and may not proceed with the download.

Helps build a real reputation: Every published program must go through a verification process to obtain a code signing certificate. The fact that these publishers are certified means that they are genuine and legally registered.

Confidence and reassurance: A token signature certificate is necessary to build trust. Since today’s business operates online, it must be trustworthy enough to attract customers. A Windows Code Signing Certificate will give publishers authentication, and developers need to build trust.


The Windows Code Signing Certificate is a critical component in the deployment of software, applications, and games. Whether these solutions are running a browser or an operating system, a code signing certificate is essential.

In the Windows Code Signing Certificate, you can choose between an OV Code Signing Certificate or an EV Code Signing Certificate. Having either of them will help you build trust among the audience and become a real service provider.

Digitally sing your software/app codes and scripts with a Windows Code Signing Certificate starting at just $49.99/year.

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