SECDRV.SYS Not Loading in Windows 10; this will break thousands of older games.

Hello,

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.

SIGNIFICANCE:

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.

 

Question Info


Last updated August 24, 2019 Views 186,503 Applies to:

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The old way to run those older game right now is to dual boot an older SKU of Windows

I have been a vegan since 1969. I have experienced more prejudice than anyone can possibly imagine.

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You have to run an admin command prompt.  Right click start and choose command prompt (admin).

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Easy to install by kids and than they couldn't play their games :-( !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Adam,

Thanks for the detailed info.

I attempted your suggested workaround on the latest release of Win 10 Pro x64, and there is no change - first the 'permissions' alert, then when run as admin, - nothing.  Event log now shows:

"The SecDrv service failed to start due to the following error:
Windows cannot verify the digital signature for this file. A recent hardware or software change might have installed a file that is signed incorrectly or damaged, or that might be malicious software from an unknown source."

That is a difference in symptoms from the originating post (and pre-dseo application) but the result is the same.

I wonder if Microsoft saw your workaround and then put logic in a Win 10 update to defeat it.  Since they will say nothing other than "When Macrovision updates their driver for Windows 10...." which is BS.  Macrovision, - at least the part that deals with SecureDisk copy protection -  doesn't exist anymore in any way that anyone could request such an update to be made.  So, it appears the speculation that this is a Microsoft attempt to up its App Store sales is correct.

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So why upgrade to windows 10... for that matter why build a new pc and get windows 10???

Does Microsoft realize a very large portion of PC users at this point are gamers?

Not only does this kill the desire for me to continue using the PC, it also sets me down the thought of taking my xbox one and dumping it in the trash.

I mean the games I bought on disc can't run without the disc in the drive.

This is beyond unacceptable.

So, my PC is for gaming, I'll be "correcting" this issue that MS has created for me and completely opening it up on my PC, instead of MS providing a better secured product.

To quote MS own words,

Non-Affected Software

Operating System
Microsoft Windows 2000 Service Pack 4
Windows Server 2003 for Itanium-based Systems
Windows Vista
Windows Vista x64 Edition

So, windows 10 is inferior to windows vista?

What I would really like to see-

better information

Macrovision appears to have changed names to ROVI, and Safedisc is completely removed from any credible source on the web.

I'm guessing a good portion of this was beyond MS control, but when I buy a game for my Xbox One, and it REQUIRES the disc in the drive, I have no doubts there is a fair solution beyond a smack in my face.

Perhaps even something as simple as a compatibility mode option that requires the windows credentials to activate on a shortcut.

Then at least its only active on the shortcut, and if you really wanted to get secure, require the credentials each time its launched, at least that makes it possible to use the software that is now defunct thanks to Scandisc being hacked out of existence.

Find a solution, please, it can't be that hard.

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I'm not very technical, but my son is sad about not having his former game now. I have to decide if we go back to Windows7 within the 30 days or if there is a hope.

It is possible to have a virtuell machine with Windows7 on my Windows10 such that the secdrv.sys works? Or is the underlying Windows10 than the master for accessing the CD-drive?

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I tried the signing as well, I'm thinking WMCOLE is correct, they have put in place something to ensure secdrv.sys is disabled everytime windows restarts.

If such is the case, the only work around besides a dual boot setup with an older version of windows, is to purchase the game through an online portal like steam and play it through there where it doesn't require a cd.

(or digging through the waste of malware and viruses to find a no cd hack, which even if you have the cd is not legal)

No doubt at some point a virtual windows 7 will be available somewhere, but I still don't see secdrv ever seeing the light of day.

Not only has Microsoft made an enormous attempt to see its demise, it's my belief that Macrovision changed their name to RIVO in an effort to shed responsibility for older software that is now ravaged by malware and viruses.

(I could be wrong)

This of course, is not necessarily just to leave the full burden on companies that publish a new OS to deal with the pieces, but there are some clever alternatives to just shutting the software out, like I posted above.

We can only hope MS is willing to listen, as the older software may be old, but there is still enough that is valid, enough that they really need to address it.  Users will find a way around it anyway, and they will spend more time plugging those holes, than if they just create a solution.

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I suggest trying to move games to Steam or Origin or uPlay depending on who the publisher is

uPlay has removed all the DRM from their games so they will generally run ok on any machine

Steam has not been a problem, Origin has had issues but that was due the browser changes

I have been a vegan since 1969. I have experienced more prejudice than anyone can possibly imagine.

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It appears you may be more true than speculative.

As a "fix" for this "problem" with Windows 10, I resurrected an old laptop and re-installed Windows 7 as a platform for Civilization III and, eventually, IV. That worked fine until today. This morning there a slew of updates for Win 7, mostly "security" updates, which (as is my custom) I installed enmass. This afternoon when I clicked on the Civ III icon, basically nothing happened -- not even the opening screen. I painfully uninstalled all the "new" patches and rebooted (of course) and all is well -- Civ III came up and is running just fine. Apparently, Microsoft "fixed" Windows 7 to be more secure and not be able to run Civ II, presumably y disabling SECDRV.

I will re-install the patches one at a time over the next several days to try to isolate which patch disables Civ III and reply to this post if I'm successful.

Aaarrrrrggh!

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Adrianll,

The update you're looking for is KB3086255:

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3086255

MS15-097: Description of the security update for the graphics component in Windows: September 8, 2015

In the Summary for the KB article:

In addition to the changes that are listed for the vulnerabilities that are described in Microsoft Security Bulletin MS15-097, this security bulletin addresses a defense-in-depth update for the secdrv.sys driver, a third-party driver. The update turns off the service for the secdrv.sys driver. This may affect the ability to run some older games.

-T

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