Windows provides different error codes for different types of errors. These codes can be useful in identifying the root cause of the problem and then resolving it. You may get the following error while running a device/component in Windows 10/11:
Windows cannot verify the digital signature for the drivers required for this device. A recent hardware or software change might have installed a file that is signed incorrectly or damaged, or that might be malicious software from an unknown source. (Code 52)
This error was prevalent in Windows 7 but has been reported on Windows 10 and even Windows 11 systems. Most modern components of the PC are automatically installed by Windows 10/11. However, some specific hardware devices may have corrupted drivers or nonstandard drivers might have been installed. As a result, Windows may display Error code 52.
What is Code 52 Error?
In general, error code 52 indicates that Windows is unable to verify the authenticity of the driver installed. As a result, the device cannot be started under Windows. Driver verification is done through the Driver Digital Signature system.
What is Driver Digital Signature?
Windows uses Driver Digital Signatures to verify the legitimacy of device drivers. Microsoft requires hardware vendors to verify their drivers before they can be installed on Windows. In the event that any driver is not verified, Windows will display the above-mentioned error code 52.
Since Driver Digital Signature is a paid service from Microsoft, small vendors do not get their device drivers verified. This is especially the case for USB drives.
Core 52 Error Solutions
Once the problem has been identified, a solution is straightforward. Given that we know the root cause of the error message is a lack of a proper driver, let’s explore the solution steps here.
You may want to backup the installed drivers before proceeding with the uninstall and reinstall steps below.
Disable Driver Signature Enforcement
Microsoft gives users the option to disable driver signature enforcement. If you disable this option, Windows will accept all drivers installed in the system, whether they are signed by Microsoft or not verified.
To disable driver signature enforcement, follow the steps below:
Open Command Prompt with administrative privileges and run the following commands:
bcdedit.exe -set loadoptions DISABLE_INTEGRITY_CHECKS
bcdedit.exe -set TESTSIGNING ON
You will need to restart your system after successfully running the commands. If you get an error that the value is protected by Secure Boot policy and cannot be modified or deleted, please try the below-mentioned method.
Step 1: Start your computer and then keep tapping the F8 key to open Advanced Options. You can also open Advanced Options by starting your system normally, opening Windows Settings –> System –> Recovery, press Restart now under Advanced Startup.
Step 2: After the restart, you’ll get the Windows advanced startup option blue screen. Select Troubleshoot.
Step 3: Select Advanced options on the next screen.
Step 4: Select Startup Settings on the next screen.
Step 5: Press the Restart button to restart your computer. After the restart, you will get the option to enable or disable Windows settings. Press 7 to disable driver signature enforcement.
This procedure to disable driver signature enforcement is the same for all versions of Windows, including Windows 7, Windows 8/8.1, Windows 10 and Windows 11.
Disable code signing for device drivers using Group Policy
If you find the above mentioned method difficult, you can also disable driver signature enforcement using Group Policy. Follow the steps below to get rid of Code 52 error:
Step 1: Open the Group Policy Editor by going to Run –> gpedit.msc.
Step 2: Go to User Configuration –> Administrative Templates –> System –> Driver Installation.
Step 3: Open Code signing for driver packages and select Disabled.
Please note that this method may or may not work with Windows 10 or Windows 11. If this doesn’t work, you should follow the above earlier method which certainly works.
Install a verified driver
The best way to tackle the Code 52 error is to install a verified driver from the vendor (provided the vendor offers one).
1- To install a new device driver, you will need to uninstall the existing installed driver first. To uninstall the existing driver, open Device Manager (Windows key + X + M).
2- Open the device properties and go to Driver tab.
3- Press Uninstall Device to uninstall the driver.
Once you have uninstalled the device driver, Windows will try to find the appropriate driver and automatically install it for you. You can also download and install the latest device drivers automatically using third-party software. Otherwise, you can download the drivers from the vendor’s website.
Here’s how you can identify unknown devices in Windows.
Once you have installed a custom driver, you should disable automatic driver updates in Windows to make sure Windows does not replace the installed drivers.
Disabling driver signing is an advanced option and should be used with care. Make sure you trust the vendor before installing unverified drivers. For advanced users, Dism++ utility can be used to disable automatic drivers signing in Windows using a Live bootable CD like LiveCD.
Have you encountered a Code 52 error on your system? Which drivers were the most problematic?