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Common Access Card help for your
ersonal Computer



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IN MY TESTS WITH WINDOWS 11 (BETA), my CAC read fine and accessed,, and signed a PDF.


However, I highly recommend you wait for the official release starting on 5 October 2021.

Running beta software is only recommended on a computer you do not use as your daily computer.







Utilizing your CAC on Windows 11 "can" be as easy as...

 Installing the DoD Root certificates and making sure the Internet Options are set correctly.

However, computers don't always cooperate with us.  So....

Here are my findings and solutions:


Information:  Edge is the default web browser in Windows 11.  Internet Explorer is NOT on the computer which means no backwards compatibility for web pages that do not work with Edge.



Finding 1.  I can't access encrypted emails when using the Edge web browser

Solution 1:  The Edge web browser does not support S/MIME.  See my recommendation above to see how to use Internet Explorer to read and send your encrypted emails when using OWA / webmail.

Information (from Microsoft):  To understand the problem with OWA, Edge, and S/MIME you need to know the OWA S/MIME is an Active-X control.  By design Edge does not support Active-X (or Browser Helper Objects); this is good from a security perspective, but bad if you want to use OWA with Edge. Windows 10/Edge is a work in progress, Microsoft is planning to use other technologies to replace Active-X sometime in the future. In the meantime use Internet Explorer 11. 

Finding 2.  I can't sign PDFs (Portable Document Format) like I did in Windows 8.1

Solution 2:  To digitally sign PDFs, you need to save the PDF to your computer and, NOT the default PDF viewer of Edge web browser, and have Adobe Reader set as the default PDF viewer.  NO other PDF readers will allow digitally signing of forms.  This should happen automatically when installing Adobe Reader.  However, if it doesn't, here is how to change the default viewer:

Type:  "default" into the Search the web and Windows / I'm Cortana / Ask me anything (box) near the Windows logo at the bottom left of your screen. 

Click: Default Programs at the top of the list. 

Click: Associate a file type or protocol with a program

Scroll down to .pdf, if it shows Adobe Acrobat Reader, it is set correctly, if it shows some other program, select .pdf and click the Change program.. (button) in the upper right corner of the screen.  

"Adobe Acrobat Reader" should be in the list of choices, select it and then OK


Finding 3.  How do I get to Internet Options in Edge?  I can't find it.

Solution 3:  Follow slide 5 of


Finding 4.  Cannot see / select the Authentication / PIV certificate in Windows 11

Solution 4:  Windows 11 users will see the certificate selection differently than older versions of Windows.  There is no more need to click More choices to see additional certificates.  Select the correct certificate and then click OK.  For 99.9% of DoD websites, we now select the certificate Without the Word EMAIL in it


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Last Update or Review:  Tuesday, 31 August 2021 20:43 hrs


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