Sunday, July 18, 2004

Copy Protection Grrrrr...

Jack's kids are huge Harry Potter fans. The youngest's birthday is coming up very soon, and as she just spent the week at Grandma's and Grandpa's, they gave her some money to buy her own birthday present.

I loved getting money as a kid, meant I was able to get what I wanted, instead of 'something close'.

Jack takes the kids to a local computer store to pickup a RAID controller for a client installation, and while we're there, they see Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban for both the PC and the Gamecube. We have 10 PCs and 1 Gamecube - yes, I know, I'm hopeless.

The Gamecube version is $40, and the PC is $30. The youngest just happens to have exactly $30, and decides she wants the game. So we buy the PC version.

I put the game CD into my computer and start the installation, which goes just fine. After the game installs, it tries to start and stops with the error, "CD ROM not found. CD/DVD emulationb detected, please disable CD/DVD emulation and try again."

OK - The CD is in the tray, don't know why it can't find it. However, I do use an old version of CloneCD that supports 'Virtual Clonedrives'. Why? Because I have kids. Kids are very rough on CD media. This way I can image the disk to the hard disk, and the kids know how to mount the images.

No problem, I disable CloneCD and try again.

Same error.

Over at Foxnews, they have the Strakalogue, which chronicles things that make you go Grrr... They also have some interesting definitions of people like 'Oblivions', 'Obliviots', and 'ImporTants'.

I know its the CD protection on the disk that is causing this error, and that makes me go Grrr. I'm using their disk in my computer, I didn't download it from some warez website. I bought it with cold hard cash. Actually, my little one did.

Back to the computer store for another copy in-case this one is bad. With the advanced copy protections using things like digital signatures, bad sectors, and the like, it would be easy to get bad copies. I exchange it and head back home.

Same error after uninstall-reinstall. I even uninstalled and cleaned CloneCD from the computer just in case. No help.

I head down to my workshop, haul out one of my test computers, do a complete install of Windows XP only with all the patches. Install the game, and yes, it works, after a lot of thrashing about.

Hmmmm. So I head over to some of the areas on the web that help you make backup copies of software. I know that most of these sites are so you can get games for free, but I'm just looking to get my $30 out of what I bought. I use a program that analyses the disc, and tells me that it is using Safedisc v3.20.20 - Which uses a bunch of different methods to protect the disc.

I have no problem with that at all, until it comes to the point that I can't play a game I paid for on a computer that has nothing wrong with it.

I did find a solution to the problem at one of those sites. I'm not going to tell you where I found it or what it was, because I don't want to help people steal the games, but its safe to say its not hard to find on your own.

I certainly wouldn't blame anyone for taking the same steps I did to get something I paid for working. It is sad that I had to go that route at all.

UPDATE: Apparently my blog is high on the Google search list results for this same problem. I have received many e-mails from people with the same problem. Here's a Google Search you can try to get you what you need.