Product Documentation

Authenticate securely with smart cards

Aug 09, 2013

If your organization employs smart cards for user authentication, XenDesktop supports smart card authentication within the guidelines set here.

Manage smart cards

Considerations when managing smart cards in your organization:

  • Multiple smart cards and multiple readers can be used on the same user device, but if pass-through authentication is in use, only one smart card must be inserted when the user starts a virtual desktop or application. When a smart card is used within an application (for example, for digital signing or encryption functions), there might be additional prompts to insert a smart card or enter a PIN. This can occur if more than one smart card has been inserted at the same time. If users are prompted to insert a smart card when the smart card is already in the reader, they should select Cancel. If they are prompted for the PIN, they should enter the PIN again.
  • If you are using hosted applications running on Windows Server 2008 or 2008 R2 and with smart cards requiring the Microsoft Base Smart Card Cryptographic Service Provider, you might find that if a user runs a smart card transaction, all other users who use a smart card in the logon process are blocked. For further details and a hotfix for this issue, see

Your organization might have specific security policies concerning the use of smart cards. These policies might, for example, state how smart cards are issued and how users should safeguard them. Some aspects of these policies might need to be reassessed in a XenDesktop environment.

You can reset PINs using a card management system or vendor utility.