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.

18 Comments »

  1. NOONE Said:

    December 23, 2006 at 7:40 pm

    Sounds like typical EA support to me…
    Good luck.

  2. jw Said:

    December 24, 2006 at 12:48 am

    They’ve given up talking to me, and I just don’t want to deal with them any more. I got the game working well enough to finish the single player version (especially with my machine getting reinstalled to replace a failing main HDD in the meantime).

  3. Tom Said:

    January 5, 2007 at 2:54 am

    My Dark Messiah: Might and Magic game does not work right either. I don’t have this kind of problem, and I received the boxed version for christmas. When I run it, the Ubisoft logo and other logos etc. at the beginning do not show, but instead I get a white square with a line running diagonally through it. Then I need to configure the grey and black lines. Then when I click New Game, it loads for a while…and then it shuts down and gives me an error message. The first level refuses to load. It might be my computer though, but I don’t know. Any suggestions, please?

    Thanks in advance,

    Tom

  4. jw Said:

    January 6, 2007 at 5:30 pm

    Not sure. What error message is it displaying? What video card/drivers?

    Can try to help, but you might be better calling Ubi’s support line?

  5. Bob Said:

    February 8, 2007 at 12:16 am

    Sigh.
    Copy protection is such a PITA.
    I’m a developer too (mostly CGI interfaces for programs for this little DB called UniData on UNIX) and I’ve certainly run FileMon in the past.
    (Glad I have my old versions too… I’m not sure Microsoft’s plans for Sysinternals software will be inline with my priorities)

    My habit is to make an image of any game I use and run the games from that. This is more convienant than having to drag out the box and find the CD and less dangerous than leaving the CDs in a pile on the desk.
    And of course when I buy a new game every few months, there’s always something new and more invasive.
    With Dark Messiah I get a nice little love note from SecureRom telling me “Conflict with Emulation Software detected”.
    Sigh.
    What’s this version of SecureRom looking at to determine the image is on a virtual drive?
    Could be a hundred things I suppose and now I’ve got to figure out what it is and how to change it.
    It seems there are always no-cd patches, but that’s a horrible alternative.
    I just go without playing a game before running who-knows-what software from the kinds of places you find those patches.

    Anyway, thanks for posting those nice emails.
    It’s nice to see other people getting near-robitic responses too.

  6. Martin Said:

    March 21, 2007 at 10:46 am

    Hello!

    I’m expiriencing the same problem and wonder if you could give me some help to deactivate Filemon.

    I get this Info from Securom regardless I never installed Filemon and I never used it. Thus I don’t know how to deactivate it. I woul be very glad if you could help me as I’m experiencing THIS problem the second time (before with another game) and am only able to play when I disable EVERYTHING else. Being without firewall and virus scanner isn’t an option only to play.

    Best regards,
    Martin

  7. jw Said:

    March 21, 2007 at 11:16 am

    I’d suggest trying tech support at Securom. At least make them pay for the hassle they are causing you.

  8. Martin Said:

    March 22, 2007 at 5:34 am

    I’ve done that and they propose I should delete the file filem.sys. Anyway I’m not sure if that’s a good idea?

    I really-really-really hate that. Would be much easier to download the software and crack it than to buy and use ist. As I’m a developer too, that’s no option to me. I simply don’t want to put such things as no-cd cracks and so on on my perfectly legal system.

    Anyway, thanks for the answer:)

  9. jw Said:

    March 22, 2007 at 12:39 pm

    filem70.sys is part of the filemon executable, so there’s no “file” to delete. If you do have a filem.sys laying around I guess you could delete it (or rename it might be better) to stop it loading.

    And I hate putting no-cd patches on my system too, but I’m starting to think they are less invasive than the actual copy protection mechanisms and wondering just how “illegal” it is to run a crack of something you actually own a license to run.

  10. Martin Said:

    March 22, 2007 at 2:56 pm

    Renaming the file worked. Just as hint for those experiencing the same problems.

  11. xenon Said:

    March 27, 2007 at 5:06 pm

    I had exactly the same problem with the game STALKER. If procexp is launch, the securom security is not able to launch the game….
    This is very difficult to admit this, and I am decided to get back the money of this game : beginning a long battle again THQ.

  12. jw Said:

    March 28, 2007 at 8:44 am

    They’re targetting Process Explorer now too? That’s even more insane.

  13. jr Said:

    April 10, 2007 at 4:35 pm

    Hi

    I am getting the same error with my dark messiah game and the securom help thingy i cannot do because for some reason i do not have an advanced settings tab in my device manager to fix the problem. i have the original disc in the drive and i am not using any emulation tools such as daemontools or alcohol 120% can somebody please help!

    thanks

  14. jw Said:

    April 10, 2007 at 7:42 pm

    Not sure what is telling you to look for an “advanced settings” tab on your device manager. Have you tried talking to Macrovision about the issue?

  15. Dan Said:

    October 5, 2007 at 8:18 am

    Hello.

    Everytime I start up Dark Messiah (I have the Cd version), Ican get past the first loading screen and ito the first level, but the graphics are quite messed up. The game either doesn’t even show what’s supposed to be there, or does show them, but there is something wrong with it (like stone is reflecting things). Also, when/if I get past the first level with no problems, I get to the loading screen for the second level and it crashes with THIS particular error message. ‘The instruction at “0x2408b179” referenced memory at “0x2041ea8”. The memory could not be “read”.’ Anyone stilol here that can help?

  16. jw Said:

    October 5, 2007 at 10:27 am

    Dan,

    Sounds like a driver issue. Tried updating to the latest video drivers? Also, might be worth talking to EA’s support folks, after all you paid for the game so you’re paying for support too!

  17. Dan Said:

    October 5, 2007 at 11:57 am

    jw,

    I updated the drivers for my video card yesterday, after the game didn’t work. Also, I originally had the Steam edition, but I’ve deleted that from my account. That version worked well until near the last part of the second level. The first time it happened was when I ran after the man you’re supposed to chase, and the sound cut out, and about three or so seconds later, the game freezes and made my pc go unresponsive. I will take it to the people at EA, thanks for the advice :).

  18. baczek Said:

    November 4, 2007 at 2:53 pm

    you’ve probably saved me lots of time. thanks.

    also, steam should die.

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