Windows® 7 includes new features that make smart cards easier to use and to deploy, and makes it possible to use smart cards to complete a greater variety of tasks. The new smart card features are available in all versions of Windows 7.
What's new in smart cards?
Windows 7 features enhanced support for smart card–related Plug and Play and the Personal Identity Verification (PIV) standard from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
This means that users of Windows 7 can use smart cards from vendors who have published their drivers through Windows Update without needing special middleware. These drivers are downloaded in the same way as drivers for other devices in Windows.
When a PIV-compliant smart card is inserted into a smart card reader, Windows attempts to download the driver from Windows Update. If an appropriate driver is not available from Windows Update, a PIV-compliant minidriver that is included with Windows 7 is used for the card.