ActivClient is one of the most important pieces to the puzzle of being able to use your CAC at home. It is software that allows your computer to communicate with the CAC reader itself. Depending on which branch of service you are affiliated with, you can find specific download locations and installation instructions on this site.
In order to use your CAC reader from home, you will need to install a couple things. The most important of these is ActivClient. ActivClient is the software that communicates between your computer and the little chip inside your CAC.
It is a little tricky to get up and running because it relies on services that are launched when the CAC is inserted into the reader. These can sometimes fail to start for various reasons. In the past, one solution was to uninstall and reinstall ActivClient. This usually fixes the issue.
ActivClient is the software that allows you to utilize your Common Access Card (CAC) at home. It is one of the key pieces to using your CAC at home, having the proper reader, and having the DoD Root Certificates installed. This hotfix is cumulative and contains all previous hotfixes from the ActivClient 6.2 series. Please read the technical description of this hotfix in its accompanying Readme file for more details on the issues it addresses.
If you are getting the error that ActivClient says it does not have a reader plugged in even though your external CAC reader is attached, it is likely because the built-in Windows 7 reader is taking priority over the external. You can fix this by using the Registry edits below.
Where do I Download ActivClient?
The easiest way to download ActivClient is through your AKO portal. Just make sure you select the appropriate branch of the military you are affiliated with. Once you have the ActivClient program, you will need to install it on your computer.
Once installed, you will need to re-configure your browser settings so that it can read the CAC correctly. This can be done by opening your web browser and going to Options, Advanced, and then checking the “Use this PIV when logging in to my Microsoft Account”. This will allow you to log in with your CAC and access websites that require CAC authentication.
Steps to take before using your CAC on a personal computer
If you are a member of the military, there are several steps to take before using your CAC on a personal computer. This includes getting the correct software, installing it correctly, and ensuring you can use it properly. This website offers step-by-step instructions on how to do all of this and links to other resources for additional assistance.
To begin, you need to get the correct software for your specific branch of the military. This software includes the CAC reader driver (the driver that allows your card to talk to Windows), ActivClient, Lotus Forms, and ApproveIt (for signing forms). To download these programs, follow the links on this page to the appropriate download location for your branch of the military.
Once you have downloaded the correct program, follow the installation instructions provided by the manufacturer. Generally, these instructions will involve opening the installer, allowing it to install, and then following the on-screen prompts to complete the installation process. This process should take no more than 30 minutes, allowing you to access websites requiring CAC authentication.