FAQ: pcsc-lite and SCARD_E_SERVICE_STOPPED error

One of the most popular search request that bring people on my blog is about SCARD_E_SERVICE_STOPPED.

The problem

With pcsc-lite the only cause for the error SCARD_E_SERVICE_STOPPED is that the two sides, pcscd and libpcsclite, are using a different version of the communication protocol.

See for example the reported issue "SCardEstablishContext: Service was stopped.".

In the logs you have something like:

$ journalctl --unit=pcscd
févr. 11 18:55:07 debian pcscd[3715]: 00000006 winscard_svc.c:361:ContextThread() Received command: CMD_VERSION from client 8
févr. 11 18:55:07 debian pcscd[3715]: 00000004 winscard_svc.c:373:ContextThread() Client is protocol version 4:3
févr. 11 18:55:07 debian pcscd[3715]: 00000001 winscard_svc.c:382:ContextThread() Communication protocol mismatch!
févr. 11 18:55:07 debian pcscd[3715]: 00000002 winscard_svc.c:384:ContextThread() Client protocol is 4:3
févr. 11 18:55:07 debian pcscd[3715]: 00000001 winscard_svc.c:386:ContextThread() Server protocol is 4:4
févr. 11 18:55:07 debian pcscd[3715]: 00000002 winscard_svc.c:396:ContextThread() CMD_VERSION rv=0x8010001E for client 8
Here the server is using version 4.4 but the client is using version 4.3.
The error code 0x8010001E is SCARD_E_SERVICE_STOPPED.

The cause

This situation can happen if you reinstalled pcsc-lite yourself but in /usr/local/ instead of /usr/. In that case you have 2 different versions of pcsc-lite installed at the same time on your system.

You may also use an application inside a flatpak container that uses a different version of pcsc-lite. See the limitations listed in "Accessing smart cards from inside a flatpak sandbox".

The solution

Do not mix different versions of pcsc-lite.


This is the second article in the FAQ "section". The first one was "FAQ: wintypes.h or winscard.h not found". I will try to provide other articles about common errors.