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Including executables with no copy protection

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I never realized so many games simply stopped working on Windows 10, I've pretty much backed up my whole CD/DVD collection already just in case and I always remove the copy protection seeing as some of my DVDs are also pretty badly damaged.


Is there no way around that. Can't we just put up downloads for the patched executables.


Filling every page with a negative keypoint related to the whole Win 10 thing seems pretty stupid to me.


I feel as if this would be fine seeing as you literally need those things to play the game.

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I can agree on the part that adding keypoints of the game not working under Windows 10 pretty stupid. 


Problem is that those "patched executables" are basically No-CD patches, which remove DRM completely. Distributing regular untouched game executables is already pretty bad idea, sharing those executables with DRM removed becomes really bad idea. I was talking about xdelta possibility on IRC channel while back about this, but it would still be xdelta patch with info for removing DRM from untouched executable so it would still fall under super gray area. I though this would be neat idea as translation and undub patches on consoles use this, but difference is that those patches only contain changed game data, while this is for removing DRM. 


I'm still thinking about making and sharing xdelta patches for games that require minor hex editing (Killer is dead, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Microsoft Windows games) as automatic patchers are usually red flagged instantly with antivirus software (like seen in Burnout Paradise case) so xdelta would be super easy solution for this that won't require user to use hex editor or download and install extra software. 


This is indeed really stupid thing that some games would work without any problems under Windows 10 if DRM is removed. As No-CD patch basically makes the game work it should be at least mentioned on game article though... 

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This is not the first time DRM has broken due to OS changes (see older StarForce versions). SafeDisc has only worked all this time because Microsoft shipped an updated driver with Windows.


Many games removed SafeDisc as part of a later patch (while sometimes retaining a basic disc check), so you could check those to see if the game is fixed that way. Similarly, some of the unofficial patches covered on the wiki happen to remove the SafeDisc protection as part of the fixes.


SafeDisc's SECDRV.SYS reportedly works on Windows 10 in test signing mode when self-signed (see Microsoft Answers topic). This is not a solution that is suitable for everyday use, but given time someone might make some sort of pre-signed replacement. The file doesn't work as-is because it uses the OS signature method rather than a normal embedded signature.

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Oh, so TESTSIGNING works indeed. And that's already a solution by the way.
Are.. you implying that would pose a security risk or, something?
Still indeed that's only one lucky case in an ocean of dread.

TAGES is still a pain in the ass (I have a good post about it in the works for the records)

And sometimes then, this isn't even a problem only because the game can't start (albeit that's the biggest and most evident one).
For example, in Colin McRae Rally 2.0 (that uses SecuROM, which contrarily to popular belief is way better than other kind of DRM, given it doesn't require drivers) you still have to tinker with drm, cause a protected executable is very often an unmoddable executable.
And even in the case no integrity check is performed, I dare you to work on something where code jumps back and forth thousands of times thanks to obfuscation and all.
Anyway back to the original question: my vote goes to static unpackers (where possible at least, like these situations).


First, they avoid having a specific -delta- patch for every game versions (and there are plenties with such old kind of games)

Second, once you solve the problem for, take Age of Mitology, I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be very hard to port to Black & White or Far Cry.

Third, if you are worried cause DMCA disallows circumvention of drm, I'd like to remember that under fair use cracking games when they don't work anymore is probably more lawful than in order to, say, just add features

Last but not least.. this looks quite more reliable than telling people to download random pre-cracked executables from the internet themselves.

The code will be shared on github or similar hopefully, and even if you are one of those security paranoids you are going to be satisfied that way



Edited by Mirh
added testsigning link
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  • 4 weeks later...


Anyway, a more user friendly workaround (100% GUI), may simply be suggesting to look for the "Security Driver" service in device manager.

You'll have to enable "Show hidden devices" option and check "Non Plug and Play driver" node.

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Not sure why people (mainly gaming news sites) were saying SecuRom wouldn't work on Windows 10, tested a couple games that use SecuRom's activation system (Bioshock retail and Fable 3) and there was no issue whatsoever. (in case anyone was curious)

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SecuROM has no driver (or well, at least nothing like SafeDisc).

I never read how it works (since I never had problems with it) but I find hard.


I looked around and the news started here, where a Microsoft spokesman allegedly mentioned security issues.

I don't know German (damn me), and I don't hear any clear reference to either DRM.. though imo they/he might have confused the two things. 


EDIT: ok, the quote starts here. Intriguingly, it's not so "faithful". And indeed it starts to talk about "other class of programs that does [the same thing of AVs]" around 16:15.


At 16:49... it seems to be saying something like "zykurom" for real :|

Edited by Mirh
added video comment
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Many gaming sites merely report what they've read elsewhere, so the initial association of SafeDisc and SecuROM has been repeated ever since despite Microsoft's own documentation making no mention of SecuROM.


Microsoft's changes only apply to the SafeDisc driver (secdrv.sys), so this doesn't even affect other driver-based systems like StarForce.

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Microsoft's got to create some kind of official emulator that supports DRM-based games.  This complete shut-down of older games on Windows 10 is a level of bullshit I can't comprehend, and they're actively encouraging piracy by destroying legimate users' purchased products.

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You can read their official stance in the security bulletin.

Frankly, it's not even wrong that more often than wanted the driver revealed to be easily exploitable.

And an emulator.. would have the same downsides I guess.


Said this, there are plenties of alternatives.

You can force that driver even on w10, you can use unSafeDisc for older games, or you can use ReLoAdEd universal loader for all the newer games.

It's doable.

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A little update. It seems there was indeed a SecuROM issue this summer

But it was just Skylake CPUs having stupid microcode or something like that.

And funnily I guess the fact it affected high end hardware (ie enthusiasts) could have shifted sample population to W10 (it's not like this wasn't a problem with every OS).


There are reports games do work in w10 after the update anyway.


EDIT: intriguingly, Skylake CPUs are also affected by another bug

EDIT2: and another and others!

Edited by Mirh
expanded intel cpu bugs
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  • 8 months later...

Ok, I updated post #8 to reflect my new listening to the video.

The guy really says (I think) SecuROM.

Even though, aside of the obvious crazy reference itself he did, I can't understand the 2003-2008 time range, considering the drm is being used since 1998, and even in 2009 I think some games were released using it.


Anyway, three things:

  1. somebody should try some games (better if with different versions, like SimCity3000, Diablo2, UT2003, SWKOTOR, GTA:SA, TR:Anniversary, GTA:4) on W10
  2. somebody should tell all these people they have been wrong
  3. SafeDisc is officially dead. Multiply. So, really, any kind of unpacker should be fine. So, hurry! Run for the code!
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