Microsoft Enhanced Cryptographic Provider

The Microsoft Enhanced Cryptographic Provider, called the Enhanced Provider, supports the same capabilities as the Microsoft Base Cryptographic Provider, called the Base Provider. The Enhanced Provider supports stronger security through longer keys and additional algorithms. It can be used with all versions of CryptoAPI.

To maintain backward compatibility with earlier provider versions, the provider name, as defined in the Wincrypt.h header file, retains the version 1.0 designation. However, version 2.0 of this provider is currently shipping. To determine the version of the provider in use, call CryptGetProvParam with the dwParam argument set to PP_VERSION. Version 2.0 is in use if 0x0200 is returned.

Provider type:PROV_RSA_FULL
Provider name:MS_ENHANCED_PROV


The following table highlights differences between the Base Provider, Strong Provider, and Enhanced Provider. The key lengths shown are the default key lengths.

AlgorithmBase Provider key lengthStrong Provider key lengthEnhanced Provider key length
RSA public key signature algorithm512 bits1,024 bits1,024 bits
RSA public key exchange algorithm512 bits1,024 bits1,024 bits
RC2 block encryption algorithm40 bits128 bits128 bits

Salt length can be set.

RC4 stream encryption algorithm40 bits128 bits128 bits

Salt length can be set.

DES56 bits56 bits56 bits
Triple DES (2 key)Not supported112 bits112 bits
Triple DES (3 key)Not supported168 bits168 bits


The Strong Provider and the Enhanced Provider are backward-compatible with the Base Provider except that the providers can only generate RC2 or RC4 keys of default key length. The default length for the Base Provider is 40 bits. The default length for the Enhanced Provider is 128 bits. Thus the Enhanced Provider cannot create keys with Base Provider-compatible key lengths. However, the Enhanced Provider can import RC2 and RC4 keys of up to 128 bits. Therefore, the Enhanced Provider can import and use 40 bit keys generated using the Base Provider.