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#75452 by dhs
Tue Jan 08, 2019 6:52 pm
It is good to see that DataCAD LLC will be signing the DC 21 install file with an EV certificate. It puzzled me that they had not signed recent versions at all: Although hardened users would undoubtedly go ahead and install despite the Windows warnings, I expect that it turned at least some potential users away from installing a trial version.

Software signed with an EV (Extended Validation) certificate will generally be instantly accepted by Windows and will not show the 'may harm your computer' warning. Essentially Microsoft maintains both a black list and a white list of software and certificates. Software signed with an EV certificate will normally be instantly promoted to the white list, whilst software signed with a (non-EV) certificate (even one from a recognised signing authority) needs to earn trust though being downloaded and installed by various people over a period of time. I believe it is also possible for unsigned software to earn trust if the identical version is downloaded and used enough to be recognised, but I don't think that is a very common occurrence.

When you click the 'More Info' link in the windows warning, unsigned software will show 'Unknown Publisher', while signed software will show the name of the Certificate Owner (previous DataCAD install files showed the 'Unknown Publisher' warning).

All my software downloads are signed with a certificate from a recognised signing authority, and thus show my details when you click on the 'More Info' link.

The previous certificate I had was in the name of 'David Henderson House Plans' (the Certificate Authority insisted on using a registered business name, and that name was still registered even though I had not used it for well over 20 years). It was not an EV certificate, but appeared to have made the white list, so you didn't get any warnings when installing my software.
Instead of renewing that certificate, I decided to get a new one (without the 'House Plans' in the name) after the previous one expired mid last year. I can't justify the expense of an EV certificate (it's only a few hundred $US per year more, but I'm already running dhsoftware at a loss), so any software install files I sign with the new cert get the 'may harm your computer' warning. (But they at least show my name as the publisher when you click 'More Info'.)

In hindsight perhaps I should have renewed the old certificate. If you're interested enough to have read this far in this post, then perhaps you would like to help my new certificate gain Microsoft's trust: Please download and install some of my software! (e.g. the versions of dhBox, Layer Maker, and Shadow on my web site are all signed with the new cert ... I don't know how many times or from how many different places that they need to be installed to gain trust: I was quite surprised when my previous certificate stopped giving the warnings when it was only a month or so old - it may have been because I was travelling at the time and had test downloaded software signed with it from a number of different locations around the world?)

David H.

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