Archive for December, 2006

12.22.06

VMWare 6.0 beta

Posted in General at 6:10 pm by jw

Just got an email about the beta, and this upgrade looks pretty damn cool.  My favorite points:

  • Integrated Virtual Debugger – Workstation integrates with Visual Studio and Eclipse so you can deploy, run, and debug programs in a VM directly from your preferred IDE
  • Automation APIs (VIX API 2.0) – You can write scripts and programs to automate VM testing
  • Headless mode – You can run VMs in the background without the Workstation UI

Seriously, those must be the three things I’ve been wanting for the last few months of using VMWare pretty heavily for software development.  The debugger is just flat out amazingly cool.  Every software developer on the planet needs this.  Right now!

12.11.06

Dark Messiah Copy Protection (update 2)

Posted in General at 9:41 pm by jw

Seems to be almost an illness in the copy protection industry – penalize the more skilled computer users for actually using their computers.  Previously it was limited to StarForce and their silly kernel driver antics but now it’s expanded to Securom in Dark Messiah of Might and Magic.  If you happen to run the FileMon tool from Microsoft Sysinternals at any time on your machine then you have to reboot before the copy protection will allow you to play the game you forked over good money for.  To make matters worse, their instructions on how to analyse the problem don’t work on the version downloaded through Steam.

Fortunately, Sysinternals has released Process Monitor which supercedes FileMon and performs all the same analysis and more so I was just forced to reboot (ugh, usually only reboot every month or so) and upgrade my deveopment toolset.  I did send a nasty letter (below) to the support line at Securom as well – have to see how things turn out but I’m pretty sure they aren’t going to be in any way helpful.

On purchasing Dark Messiah through Steam, this error message showed and the game refused to run.  I am quite distressed by this as I properly paid for my software (I’m actually a software developer with a dozen years of experience) and now feel like you are somehow treating me as a criminal http://www.vardenafil20mg.me/.  As unacceptable as this is, I’m aware it’s the business model you’re in, so I’ll cut to the chase:

Following the instructions to get an analysis file doesn’t work.  I’ve tried within Steam, with the desktop shortcut and right clicking on the application inside the SteamApps directory and nothing gives me the option to create the analysis file.  In any case, these are the programs (again, all legally purchased and legally installed but not active on my machine) that may cause issues:

(Running Windows XP x64)
Microsoft Sysinternals utilities: Filemon, Regmon, Process Explorer

If you could advise me of which are causing the issues and if there is a workaround short of rebooting my machine every time I want to play a game I own I’d be very appreciative – especially with avoiding the hassle of returning software that obviously won’t work well for me.  Yes, I am a little upset at forking over $50 and being treated like a pirate but I earnestly hope you will be able to solve my problem.

For what it’s worth I also left a message over with Microsoft, but I doubt it will see any real action.  Not a lot they can do.

I’m honestly tired of being treated like a criminal because I use software development tools.  Had I bought this game at the store (which I probably will do in future if Steam is going to give me issues like this) then I could have easily just gone over to Megagames and downloaded the No-CD patch from Reloaded.  Didn’t work on the Steam version though – stupid me I guess for thinking a downloaded file would be a good alternative.

 

Update

They actually responded quite quickly.  Shame they didn’t actually read my email before responding, but you can’t have everything.

Thank you for your email. We are sorry to hear that you are having issues launching your game. The error message that you are receiving does indeed concern a software conflict with either a File Monitoring or Registry Monitoring software. Since it appears that you have both, please disable FileMon and RegMon and then attempt to launch your game. If you are still having issues, please create an analysif file for us to review.

The Launch Analysis option should be available after you re-start the computer. If Launch Analysis is still not available you can launch the analysis using the command line mode by following the instructions below:

1.) Make sure the original disc is in your local CD or DVD drive.
2.) Please re-start your computer.
3.) Click with the right button of your mouse on the shortcut on your desktop.
4.) Choose Properties, then highlight and copy everything in the ‘Target’ window.
5.) Click on the ‘Start’ button in your toolbar, click ‘Run’, type ‘cmd’ and press enter. Now a DOS window will appear.
6.) Type ‘cd\’ and hit enter to get to the root of your C drive.
7.) Click with the right button of your mouse into the DOS window. If a menu appears choose ‘Paste’.
8 sovaldi india.) Press the space bar once and add the text ‘/secuexp’ and press Enter.
9.) A disclaimer window may appear on your screen. To proceed, please click onto the ‘Yes’ button. A window stating that an Analysis log will be generated may appear, if so click OK. If an error message appears, please click Cancel.
10.) The program will now generate a file named ‘AnalysisLog.sr0’ on the root of your hard drive (usually C:). When it finishes another window should appear stating it has finished, click OK.
11.) Please zip the ‘AnalysisLog.sr0’ file using a program such as WinZip, WinAce, or WinRAR (to prevent email corruption) and send it to support@securom.com.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

My response:

 Thanks for your prompt reply, but I’m not sure you actually read the original email correctly.  I don’t have an “original disc”.  I clearly stated I purchased the product through the Steam (http://www.steampowered.com) online system.  As such, there is no “disc”, original or otherwise to insert.

Rebooting the machine does allow the game to run but doesn’t solve the underlying problem.  As I am a software developer I tend to use registry and file monitoring tools as part of my day to day activities.  Are you seriously suggesting that your software will make me reboot my machine every single time I want to play the game?  Doesn’t that strike you as, well, onerous?

Is there any workaround to Securom’s apparent incompatibility with standard Microsoft provided diagnostic tools?

I know I’m being someone annoying to the poor tech support guy (it’s not his fault his employer bases their business model on the antisocial assumption of guilt over innocence/common sense), but if I don’t tell them what else can I do?

 

Update #2

More emails

Thank you for your email. Please be informed that the ‘5016’ error is caused by Filemon. When you deactivate the program a reboot is required, as the driver (probably filem.sys) is still running.
After a reboot everything is deactivated and the game can be started.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

My response

Just to be absolutely clear, to run a game protected by your software I will have to reboot my machine every time if using Filemon is a standard part of my daily activity on my computer.  I am sure you are aware Filemon is a recommended utility which is provided and supported by Microsoft and referenced over 20 times on their site so the use of this utility can hardly be considered “abnormal” activity.

Does Securom have any plans to fix this incompatibility with Microsoft software, or will I always be forced to reboot my machine to play games between software development activities?

What I am really looking for is some sort of workaround.  I do not enjoy rebooting my machine just to run a particular software package and I don’t understand why your software is forcing me do this when I’ve purchased the package legally.

I don’t think they understand my real problem.  I use Filemon because it’s a great little utility for software development.  I don’t want to reboot because it reduces the component life of the machine.  I don’t even care if they make sure Filemon itself isn’t running while the game is playing, but to simply detect that it has run (ie the driver is loaded) is ridiculous.

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