Windows 10 is still new, as far as major operating system upgrades go. As such, there are still new issues popping up every so often. A new one is causing older disc-based games to break without complicated workarounds. The DRMs in question are SafeDisc or Securom DRM, both of which Microsoft is blocking from working with the new OS, as reported by RockPaperShotgun.
There are quite a few games affected by these DRM services being blocked — hundreds according to initial reports. Some popular titles are in the mix such as the original The Sims, Grand Theft Auto 3, Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004, and Crimson Skies.
First instincts are to blame Microsoft for not letting players have access to certain games, but as it turns out, these DRM systems — especially SafeDisc — are not very secure anymore due to lack of support from the companies that made them, and Microsoft blocking them could actually protect users from security flaws.
The issue seems fairly widespread, with Microsoft even mentioning it at Gamescom this year. Microsoft’s Boris Schneider-Johne says (translated from original German):
“… and then there are old games on CD-Rom that have DRM. This DRM stuff is also deeply embedded in your system, and that’s where Windows 10 says ‘sorry, we cannot allow that, because that would be a possible loophole for computer viruses.’ That’s why there are a couple of games from 2003-2008 with Securom, etc. that simply don’t run without a no-CD patch or some such.”
Users on Microsoft’s support forums are also posting about the issues saying that the SafeDisc issue specifically refers to the SECDRV.SYS file not being present in Windows 10.
The ways in which users can get around these issues is to look for a no-CD crack — which is probably less safe than the DRM itself — by dual-booting into an older version of Windows, purchasing the game again from a digital distributor, or safe-signing the DRM themselves. None of these options are as ideal as simply placing the game in the drive, installing, and playing.
While it makes sense that Microsoft would want to keep users safe by getting rid of DRM that hasn’t been updated in years, it’s also a grim reminder that restrictive DRM can be harmful in the long term as well as annoying in the short term.