Games for Windows Live (GFWL), Steam, Windows 10 and You

First off, please do not ask a question in this thread.  If you have an issue with Games for Windows Live (GFWL) please create your own thread and a support agent or an ambassador will help you out.

I'm recreating this post because it needs updating, and I can't update my old post.

GFWL can work on Windows 10, however it may take a bit of additional work to get it working fully.



Purchased from Steam:

Steam is a wonderful platform - you buy the game, install it and it should just work.  Well with GFWL that's not always the case.  The reason is that Steam is required to redistribute the exact version of GFWL that came with the game.  This means that you're getting older versions when you install from Steam.

To fix this you need to install the latest version of GFWL.  You can see instructions under the Windows 10 header.

GFWL Achievements on Steam:

If you're worried about achievements for GFWL there is still a way to get them.

Some games on Steam (Ms. Splosion for example) allow you to install the Steamworks version or the GFWL version.  Other games (Batman Arkham series, Toy Soldiers, and many more) have patched GFWL out completely.  You won't be able to get the achievements for these games anymore.

These games may auto-update to non-GFWL versions, however there is a way you can prevent this:

  1. Select the game from the Steam list of games.
  2. Right click, and go to properties
  3. Click the Updates tab
  4. Under automatic updates select "Only update this game when I launch it"

This will prevent the game from getting updates automatically, however you'd still need to update it when you try to play it.  You can get around this by setting Steam to offline mode when you launch the game.

Windows 10:

Getting GFWL to work on Windows 10 take a bit of extra work. This can be fixed pretty easily by:

  1. Removing GFWL, the Marketplace, etc. from your PC
  2. Reboot
  3. Download the latest version of GFWL from http://www.xbox.com/en-CA/Live/PC/DownloadClient
  4. Install it
  5. Reboot

Now with GFWL this doesn't have a 100% success rate.  However you can try the exact same steps and it'll work the second or third time you do it.  Pretty annoying, but at least you get to play your game.

DLC:

Any DLC that you have purchased in the past will still be accessible and you can download it.  However you cannot purchase anything new.  There are a few ways around this.  For example Dirt 3 has a physical copy that includes codes for all the DLC.

If you have a DLC code it should still work, you just need to enter it via the GFWL client.

Games for Windows Live Release Date Activation:

Sometimes when you install a game that uses Games for Windows Live it'll ask you to verify the release date of the game online.  When you click the accept/next button it gives you an error that you're not connected to the internet.  This is called Zero Day Protection (ZDP) and is a form of DRM.

Thankfully there may be a very simple fix for you.  Change the date on your computer to be in the same month/year that the game was released.  For example, Batman Arkham City was released on October 18, 2011.  Changing your system clock to October 30, 2011 and then trying the activation will work.

If this doesn't work for you, you may be able to bypass this by manually downloading the patch for the game and then applying that patch.  For example, I had issues with Dead Rising 2 not getting past the activation check so I downloaded its patch (http://download.xbox.com/content/4343080e/tu10000084_10000284.cab), manually installed it and it allowed me to get past the activation.

Contrary to what SecurROM support states (https://support.securom.com/pop_batmanac.html) the Games for Windows Live service is NOT shut down.

Individual Game Support:

  • Grand Theft Auto 4: https://support.securom.com/pop_gtaiv.html
  • Bioshock 2: https://support.securom.com/pop_bioshock2.html

GFWL Log File Locations:


The log files for the GFWL client may provide some insight into what's breaking with GFWL.  These files are located here:

C:\Users\<Username>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\GFWLive\Logs

You can access/view these by:

  1. Press the Windows Key + R
  2. Type in: C:\Users
  3. Press enter
  4. Find your user name.
  5. Navigate to AppData -> Local -> Microsoft -> GFWLive -> Logs
  6. Right click on the log file and choose Open With
  7. Select Notepad (or another text editor)

The default Windows Notepad program will let you see the contents, however due to the nature of the log files they may be hard to read.  I personally use a program called Notepad ++ (https://notepad-plus-plus.org/) which makes the log files a bit easier to parse.  Right now I have one line in my log file that is 48849 characters which turns out to be 14 pages.

What to look for in the log files:

This is hard to say without knowing a specific problem, however searching for the word "error" may help.  As I mentioned above, some of the log lines may be quite long, and you'll have to use your judgement on if they provide any information that's of use.

GFWL Marketplace Issues:

If the marketplace is broken and not displaying any purchases, don't worry, it probably isn't you, it's Microsoft.  Check out your log files and look for something like this:

{Message: There was no endpoint listening at services.gamesforwindows.com/.../MarketPlacePublic.svc that could accept the message. This is often caused by an incorrect address or SOAP action. See InnerException, if present, for more details.}


Basically Microsoft broke something on their end and hasn't fixed it and there's nothing we can do until they do.

Useful Links:

PC Gaming Wiki - GFWL

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Thanks for the info Ackis.  It will come in handy.  :)

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Last updated January 24, 2021 Views 29,040 Applies to: