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TAP-Windows driver (NDIS 6)

This is an NDIS 6.20/6.30 implementation of the TAP-Windows driver, used by OpenVPN and other apps. NDIS 6.20 drivers can run on Windows 7 or higher except on ARM64 desktop systems where, since the platform relies on next-gen power management in its drivers, NDIS 6.30 is required.


The prerequisites for building are:

  • Python 2.7
  • Microsoft Windows 10 EWDK (Enterprise Windows Driver Kit)
    • Visual Studio+Windows Driver Kit works too. Make sure to work from a "Command Prompt for Visual Studio" and to call with "--sdk=wdk".
  • The devcon source code directory (setup/devcon) from Windows-driver-samples (optional)
    • If you use the repo from upstream remember to include our patch to devcon.vcxproj to ensure that devcon.exe is statically linked.
  • Windows code signing certificate
  • Git (not strictly required, but useful for running commands using bundled bash shell)
  • MakeNSIS (optional)
  • Prebuilt tapinstall.exe binaries (optional)
  • Visual Studio 2019 and WiX Toolset for MSM packaging (optional)

Make sure you add Python's install directory (usually c:\python27) to the PATH environment variable.

Tap-windows6 has been successfully build on Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016 using CMD.exe, Powershell and Git Bash.

View build script options:

$ python
Usage: [options]

  -h, --help           show this help message and exit
  -s SRC, --src=SRC    TAP-Windows top-level directory, default=<CWD>
  --ti=TAPINSTALL      tapinstall (i.e. devcon) directory (optional)
  -d, --debug          enable debug build
  --hlk                build for HLK tests (test sign, no debug)
  -c, --clean          do an nmake clean before build
  -b, --build          build TAP-Windows and possibly tapinstall (add -c to
                       clean before build)
  --sdk=SDK            SDK to use for building: ewdk or wdk, default=ewdk
  --sign               sign the driver files
  -p, --package        generate an NSIS installer from the compiled files
  -m, --package-msm    generate a MSM installer from the compiled files
  --cert=CERT          Common name of code signing certificate,
  --certfile=CERTFILE  Path to the code signing certificate
  --certpw=CERTPW      Password for the code signing certificate/key
  --crosscert=CERT     The cross-certificate file to use, default=MSCV-
  --timestamp=URL      Timestamp URL to use, default=
                       Path to the version override file

Edit version.m4 and as necessary then build:

$ python -b

On successful completion, all build products will be placed in the "dist" directory as well as tap6.tar.gz. The NSIS installer package will be placed to the build root directory.

Building tapinstall (optional)

The easiest way to build tapinstall is to clone the Microsoft driver samples and copy the source for devcon.exe into the tap-windows6 tree. Using PowerShell:

$ git clone
$ Copy-Item -Recurse Windows-driver-samples/setup/devcon tap-windows6
$ cd tap-windows6
$ python.exe -b --ti=devcon

The build system also supports reuse of pre-built tapinstall.exe executables. To make sure the buildsystem finds the executables, create the following directory structure under tap-windows6 directory:

├── Release
│   └── devcon.exe
├── x64
│   └── Release
│       └── devcon.exe
└── ARM64
    └── Release
        └── devcon.exe

This structure is equal to what building tapinstall would create. Then call with "--ti=devcon". Replace "Release" with your build configuration; for example, when using --Hlk you'd use "Hlk".

Please note that the NSIS packaging (-p) step will fail if you don't have tapinstall.exe available. Also don't use the "-c" flag or the above directories will get wiped before MakeNSIS is able to find them.

Developer Mode: Installing, Removing and Replacing the Driver

The driver can be installed using a command-line tool, tapinstall.exe, which is bundled with OpenVPN and tap-windows installers. Note that in some versions of OpenVPN tapinstall.exe is called devcon.exe. To install, update or remove the tap-windows NDIS 6 driver follow these steps:

  • place tapinstall.exe/devcon.exe to your PATH
  • open an Administrator shell
  • cd to dist
  • cd to amd64, i386, or arm64 depending on your system's processor architecture.

If you are actively developing the driver (e.g.: Edit, Compile, Debug, Loop...), you may not be signing your driver each time, thus you need to be aware of the following additional items.

Disable Secure Boot:

Unsigned drivers require disabling secure boot.

Enable Windows Test Mode:

Test mode is also required.

Driver Installation:


  • The command tapinstall install OemVista.inf TAP0901 installs the driver
  • Because your driver is not signed, the tapinstall install step will pop up the "Big Scary Unsigned Driver Warning", you'll need to click OK.
  • As a result, the driver will be copied into the Windows Driver Store

Updating the Driver, and the Windows Driver Store:

At some point, you will build a shinny new driver and need to test it.

  • The command tapinstall remove TAP0901 - removes the driver
  • However, the previously approved driver is still in the Windows Driver Store
  • Typing tapinstall install ... now, only re-installs the old driver that was copied into the driver store.

Key step: The driver needs to be removed from the driver store also.

There is a script to do this, but it only works if you have not changed the text strings in your driver package

The manual steps are:

  • Step 1 - Obtain a list of Installed drivers via the command: pnputil -e, this will list all of the oemNUMBER.inf files that are in the driver store.
  • Step 2 - Find your driver in that list, it will be some oem<NUMBER>.inf file
  • Step 3 - To delete, use pnputil.exe /d oemNUMBER.inf

Finally use tapinstall install OemVista.inf TAP0901 to install your driver


If you do not see the Big Scary Unsigned Driver Warning - Windows will use the old (not new) driver.


Examining the SetupAPI log file helps, see C:\Windows\INF\

Build for HLK tests

A test-signed version of tap-windows6 driver should be used for the HLK tests. The recommended procedure is to use pre-built, cross-signed devcon.exe and use the WDK-generated key for signing the driver.

First setup the directory with prebuilt devcon as described above. Then run the build with the --hlk option:

$ python.exe -c -b --ti=devcon-prebuilt --hlk

Release process and signing

Microsoft's driver signing requirements have tightened considerably over the last several years. Because of this this buildsystem no longer attempts to sign files by default. If you want to sign the files at build time use the --sign option. The "sign" directory contains several Powershell scripts that help produce release-signed tap-windows6 packages:

  • Cross-Sign: cross-sign tap-windows6 driver files and tapinstall.exe
  • Create-DriverSubmission: create architecture-specific attestation signing submission cabinet files
  • Extract-DriverSubmission: extract attestation-signed zip files
  • Sign-File: sign files (e.g. tap-windows6 installer or driver submission cabinet files)
  • Sign-tap6.conf.ps1: configuration file for all the scripts above
  • Prepare-Msm.ps1: take Win7- and Win10-signed "dist" directories and produce a "dist" directory that MSM packaging can consume

Most of these scripts operate directly on the "dist" directory that tap-windows6 build system produces. Below it is assumed that building and signing is done on the same computer.

First produce cross-signed drivers for (Windows 7/8/8.1/Server 2012r2):

$ python.exe -c -b --ti=devcon
$ sign\Cross-Sign.ps1 -SourceDir dist -Force

Note that the "-Force" option for Cross-Sign.ps1 is required except in the unlikely case that you're appending a signature.

Next produce a driver submission cabinet files for attestation signing:

$ sign\Create-DriverSubmission.ps1
$ Get-ChildItem -Path disk1|sign\Sign-File.ps1

Three architecture-specific (i386, amd64, arm64) cabinet files are created. Submit these to Windows Dev Center for attestation signing. Note that unsigned cabinet files will be automatically rejected.

When submitting the drivers to Microsoft take care to only request signatures applicable for each architecture.

At this point move the cross-signed "dist" directory away:

$ Move-Item dist dist.win7

Download the attestation-signed drivers as zip files put them into a temporary directory (e.g. tap-windows6tempdir). Then run Extract-DriverSubmission.ps1:

$ Get-ChildItem -Path tempdir -Filter "*.zip"|sign\Extract-DriverSubmission.ps1

This extracts the drivers into the "dist" directory. Move that directory to dist.win10:

$ Move-Item dist dist.win10

After this you can start creating the installers and/or MSM packages.

If you're creating NSIS packages do:

$ Move-Item dist.win7 dist
$ python.exe -p --ti=devcon
$ Move-Item dist dist.win7

Followed by:

$ Move-Item dist.win10 dist
$ python.exe -p --ti=devcon
$ Move-Item dist dist.win10

Finally sign both installers:

$ Get-Item tap-windows*.exe|sign\Sign-File.ps1

On the other hand if you're creating MSM packages do:

$ sign\Prepare-Msm.ps1
$ python -m --sdk=wdk
$ Get-Item tap-windows*.msm|sign\Sign-File.ps1

For additional instructions and background information please refer to this article on OpenVPN community wiki.

Overriding setting defined in version.m4

It is possible to override one or more of the settings in version.m4 file with the --versionoverride <file> option. Any settings given in the override file have precedence over those in version.m4.

This is useful when building several tap-windows6 drivers with different component ids for example.

Notes on proxies

It is possible to build tap-windows6 without connectivity to the Internet but any attempt to timestamp the driver will fail. For this reason configure your outbound proxy server before starting the build. Note that the command prompt also needs to be restarted to make use of new proxy settings.

MSM packaging

In order to build the MSM packages build and sign the driver first:

  • Build the TAP driver with and "-b" flag.
  • EV-sign the drivers
  • WHQL/Attestation-sign the drivers

Place the signed drivers in a directory structure under tap-windows6 directory. Each platform directory should contain the EV-signed driver with a "win10" subdirectory containing WHQL/Attestation signed driver for that platform:

├── amd64
│   ├── win10
│   │   ├── OemVista.inf
│   │   ├──
│   │   └── tap0901.sys
│   ├── OemVista.inf
│   ├──
│   └── tap0901.sys
├── arm64
│   ├── win10
│   │   ├── OemVista.inf
│   │   ├──
│   │   └── tap0901.sys
│   └── (Note: EV-signed driver for arm64 is not used.)
├── include
│   └── tap-windows.h
└── i386
    ├── win10
    │   ├── OemVista.inf
    │   ├──
    │   └── tap0901.sys
    ├── OemVista.inf
    └── tap0901.sys

Building MSM packages requires Visual Studio 2019 (EWDK is not sufficient) and the WiX Toolset installed. In a Developer Command Prompt for Visual Studio 2019, run:

$ python -m --sdk=wdk

This will compile the installer.dll file with embedded drivers and package it as a platform-dependent tap-windows-<version>-<platform>.msm files.

As the WiX Toolset does not support the arm64 platform yet, only amd64 and i386 MSM files are built.

Optional: Consider EV-signing the MSM packages before deploying them. Thou, MSM signature is ignored when merging MSM into MSI package, users get a choice to validate the integrity of the downloaded MSM packages manually.


See the file COPYING.