I have discovered an unfortunate problem with Windows 10.
Many games from the early-mid 2000's used Macrovision's SafeDisc (version 2) as a means of copy protection. At game startup, Windows loaded SECDRV.SYS to verify an original game disc was in the drive, after which the game would start.
When you try to run ANY game which uses this SafeDisc form of copy protection in Windows 10, the following happens:
- You get an error window that tells you to log in with Administrator Privileges and to try again. This happens on any account, even those with Administrator access. The game fails to start.
- If you then set "Run as Admin" compatibility mode on the game's startup file, the message disappears, but the game doesn't start.
- Keeping a window open for C:\WINDOWS\SYSWOW64\DRIVERS shows SECDRV.SYS appearing at the moment you try to start the game. Based on its size, it appears to be the file that is present on the game disc (tested across several games), even though I see no disc activity and cannot find the file elsewhere on my system.
- The Windows event log shows that SECDRV.SYS failed to load.
- This happens both with an upgraded install (Windows 8.1 > Windows 10) and with a fresh Windows 10 install, with one of the games being installed immediately upon the fresh install completing.
- On my Windows 64-bit 8.1 system, C:\WINDOWS\WINSXS has a folder called amd64_macrovision-protection-safedisc_31bf3856ad364e35_6.3.9600.16384_none_4e6b3758913c9240 with a SECDRV.SYS in it, presumably the one that ships with Windows. Windows 10 had such a folder in early builds, but it is missing from the release build. It appears SafeDisc support is missing entirely.
OTHER TESTING I HAVE DONE:
- I updated one of the games to a version that no longer required the CD check, and it started immediately and ran perfectly once the check was removed. However, this is possible only with a very limited number of games, or resorting to fixes that violate the game's EULA or put the user's system security at risk.
- I tried disabling driver signature verification and installing one of the games again; same problem.
- Multiple compatibility modes; same problem. XP (Service Pack 3) mode and / or Run as Administrator mode make the error message go away, but the games still fail to launch.
Unless this is fixed in Windows 10, a massive catalog of older games will cease to function in Windows 10 for the simple reason that they cannot pass the SafeDisc copy protection check. I am accustomed to some games breaking with every new version of Windows as technology progresses (for example, the loss of the ability to run 16-bit programs in 64-bit Windows), but this seems to be an unnecessarily harsh change.