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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Before posting on this forum, make sure to read the forum rules and the FAQ below. If your question is covered by the FAQ, your thread may be closed (see the (*) marks) as noone is willing to waste time with answering the same questions again and again. If you have any useful information to be changed in or added to this FAQ, please, post it to the PC Games - Frequently Asked Questions subforum (warning! questions are deleted from that subforum without notice!).

Thanks go to AstralWanderer, caki, cdkiller, DABhand, GLH, hance, krondike, maciozo, thebluegr, TippeX, XdaywalkerX, Zulu and other forum members for providing information.

Table of contents
  1. Forum use in general
    1. Any general recommendations on how and what to post?
    2. (*) Why can't I discuss warez when I'm sure the majority of people on this forum are using warez? You're a bunch of hypocrites!
  2. Playing games in general
    1. (*) What should I do if the original game doesn't work properly, not even without a crack?
    2. (*) What should I do if I have the wrong version/language of the game and I can't play/update it?
    3. (*) What should I do if once I applied a crack to the game and now I can't apply an official update because an original file/registry entry is missing?
    4. (*) What should I do if I want to play with my friends but I bought only one copy of the game?
  3. Downloading/requesting cracks
    1. Where do I find cracks?
    2. Why isn't a crack available on GameCopyWorld?
    3. (*) I can't find the crack for (a given version of) a new game, when is it going to be released?
    4. Where can I find a crack for (a given version of) an old/small game?
    5. What should I do if the latest crack I found is for an older version of the game?
    6. How do I submit cracks?
    7. What types of cracks are there?
    8. Why do people want to use no-CD/DVD patches at all?
    9. What can I do against copy protections? How can I make sure that I will be able to play my games from backups or images?
  4. Checking/reporting problems with cracks
    1. What should I do if I cannot extract files from the crack package I downloaded?
    2. What should I do if the cracked game doesn't work properly?
    3. What should I do if the game doesn't work properly from the backup CD/DVD?
    4. What should I do if the game doesn't work properly with a crack? How should I report problems with a crack?
    5. What should I do if my virus scanner reported a virus/trojan/etc. in a crack?
  5. Creating/using backups and mini/maxi images
    1. What should I do if I cannot extract files from the crack package?
    2. How do I make the mini/maxi image for a game, protected by SafeDisc 4.x/SecuROM 7.x/Starforce 3.x/4.x, work?
    3. (*) What should I do if the game asks me for a serial/CD-key/DVD-key and I can't find one included with the mini/maxi image?
    4. How do I create backups or mini/maxi/full images?
    5. Why doesn't the mini/maxi image work when I burnt it onto an empty CD/DVD? Why does the the game/the setup program crash when I launch it from a CD/DVD burnt/emulated from a mini/maxi image?
    6. What should I do if the maxi image costs me a lot of hard disk space?
  6. Miscellaneous
    1. Any recommended software?
    2. Any recommended documentations?
    3. Any other recommended sites?
  1. Forum use in general
    1. Any general recommendations on how and what to post?
      • Get yourself familiar with the forum for some time, before posting.
        Make sure you read the forum rules and this FAQ, to understand what is allowed and what is not allowed on this forum. You may also want to read the "3.0 One-to-Many Communication" chapter of the Netiquette for suggestions.
        If your posts are against the forum rules or are covered by the FAQ, they may be closed and you may even get banned!
      • (*) Don't open new threads unnecessarily.
        Before opening a new thread, to report your problem, search for the name (and version number) of the game (or game update) you're having problems with. If there are already threads related to this game, don't open a new thread, rather post your problems into an already existing thread.
        Unnecessary new threads only add garbage to the forum; such threads will be closed! Read forum rule #4!
      • Give sensible titles to your posts.
        When opening a new thread, add to the title the full name (and version number) of the game (or game update) you need help with. (Don't abbreviate the name of the game; this may cause confusion as there are multiple games with similar names!) Posting threads with titles like "please, help me!" are meaningless. Also, adding "urgent", "in a hurry" and "need it now/as soon as possible" is considered inappropriate as that is your problem, not ours!
    2. (*) Why can't I discuss warez when I'm sure the majority of people on this forum are using warez? You're a bunch of hypocrites!
      First, noone cares whether or not you have warez (as we're not an authority, we couldn't check it anyway); it's just that you mustn't discuss warez on this forum. Second, noone cares whether or not you agree with the forum rules; you "only" have to obey them, not like them; if you don't like them, find another forum whose rules are more satisfying for you. Third, without such strict rules, this forum could easily be closed down by game publishers and related authorities, because of supporting illegal activity.
      This question really pisses us off; your thread will be closed and you will also get banned!
  2. Playing games in general
    1. (*) What should I do if the original game doesn't work properly, not even without a crack?
      When having problems with the original CD/DVD (crashes, video/audio problems, weird behavior, missing functionality), try the following:
      • Read the manual, documentation and/or online help. Check out, especially, the minimum system requirements, both hardware and software. Note that some (versions of) games and some (versions of) copy protections don't support 64-bit Windows. As for Windows 95/98/98SE/ME, many newer games don't support them either (although, for a very few games, compatibility hacks are available).
      • Apply the latest official update (also see the game documentation and the install CD/DVD for URL's or visit the homepage of the game or the publisher). Note that some official updates remove (the annoying part of) the copy protection.
      • Install the latest Windows service pack and other critical and/or important updates.
      • For DirectX-based games, install the latest version of DirectX. Find the latest version at DirectX 9.x Redistributable packages (FileHippo) or in the list of DirectX 9.x Redistributable packages (Microsoft): these can also be installed offline, on a PC without Internet access.
      • Update your motherboard/chipset/video/audio/Ethernet/IDE drivers (see their printed documentations or install CD's for download URL's) to the latest versions. Some common manufacturers:
        • ABIT motherboards and video cards;
        • ASUS motherboards and video cards;
        • ATI Radeon video cards and chipsets;
        • Gigabyte motherboards and video cards;
        • nVidia (Geforce) video cards and (nForce) chipsets.
        For older hardware, search for their drivers at DriverGuide (requires free registration).
      • Update the firmware (the internal operating system) of your CD/DVD drive to the latest version. Visit the homepage of the manufacturer or The Firmware Page.
      • If the game still doesn't work properly, contact the publisher/developer or refer to the official support forum. See the game documentation for more information on how to report problems properly.
      This question is off-topic; your thread will be moved to the General Gaming forum!
    2. (*) What should I do if I have the wrong version/language of the game and I can't play/update it?
      Do not request original files or registry entries in the forum! Instead of asking for fixes or language packages, contact the shop, where you bought the original game, or the publisher, for a replacement or other options.
      This question is off-topic; your thread will be moved to the General Gaming forum! Also read forum rule #3!
    3. (*) What should I do if once I applied a crack to the game and now I can't apply an official update because an original file/registry entry is missing?
      Do not request original files or registry entries in the forum! Get that file from the original CD/DVD or (uninstall and then) reinstall the game instead. And, next time, when you apply a crack, remember to make backups of the files it overwrites!
      This question only adds garbage to the forum; your thread will be closed! Also read forum rule #3!
    4. (*) What should I do if I want to play with my friends but I bought only one copy of the game?
      Unless the EULA explicitly allows it, it is illegal to run one original copy of a game on multiple computers (at the same time).
      This question is related to obviously illegal activity; your thread will be closed! Read forum rule #1!
  3. Downloading/requesting cracks
    1. Where do I find cracks?
      To download cracks, see the following English sites: and Spanish sites:
    2. Why isn't a crack available on GameCopyWorld?
      Try all mirrors and all submirrors of mirror #1. Also, see the alternative links below the list of mirrors. If none of them work then the file may be offline because of server maintenance; try it again in a few minutes, hours or days. If still no luck, then report it to the GameCopyWorld Support forum.
    3. (*) I can't find the crack for (a given version of) a new game, when is it going to be released?
      Professional crackers don't visit this forum. Noone can answer your question, so there's no point in asking. If that game is popular and/or it is protected by an older and easier-to-crack copy protection, the chances for a crack to be released soon is higher. However, if it is a small and/or non-English game and/or it is protected by Starforce 3.x/4.x or SecuROM 7.x (scan it with ProtectionID), cracking it may even take several months or even a year!
      This question only adds garbage to the forum; your thread will be closed! Also read forum rule #6!
    4. Where can I find a crack for (a given version of) an old/small game?
      Scan the game (the main executable and all DLL's around it) with ProtectionID and report its copy protection to the forum. Some forum members might be willing to crack simple copy protections. Please, help them by creating a compressed archive (in a common format, such as ACE, RAR or ZIP) that contains all the files needed to launch the game to the point where the "insert CD-ROM" or similar message is displayed. (You can check if you've collected all the necessary files by uninstalling the game, putting the selected files into an empty directory and launching the main executable from there; or by copying the selected files onto another PC where the game hasn't been installed. If you get the error message, you're done.)
    5. What should I do if the latest crack I found is for an older version of the game?
      Suppose that the latest crack is for version X of the game and the latest official update for the game is version Y, and X < Y. (Re)install your game, apply the official update for version X and backup those non-cracked files that are replaced by the crack for version X. Apply the official update for version Y and compare the new, version Y files with the backups of the version X files. If they are all the same, the files have not been changed between version X and Y, so use the crack for version X with version Y, too. Otherwise, do NOT use old cracks with new updates because that can result in weird behavior, crashes, or loss or corruption of savegames!
    6. How do I submit cracks?
      You can submit cracks via E-mail or a Web-based form. Thank you for your help!
    7. What types of cracks are there?
      GameCopyWorld uses the following terminology:
      • Fixed EXE: This removes the copy protection but not the CD/DVD-check. You will still need a backup CD/DVD to play the game, but this backup may be created with any CD/DVD burner software (including but not limited to the popular Nero Burning ROM), not only special ones aimed at duplicating copy protected CD's/DVD's.
      • No-CD/DVD patch: This removes the copy protection as well as the CD/DVD-check. If you did a full install of the game (no necessary game files have been left on the CD/DVD), you will be able to play the game from the hard disk only, without the need to insert any CD/DVD, be it an original or a backup.
      • No-CD/DVD fixed image: A mini or maxi image (see below).
      • Mini image: This contains data from beginning of the original CD/DVD. It is in a special format so that, if you mount it into a capable virtual CD/DVD emulator (Alcohol 120% or Daemon Tools), the copy protection will think it is the original CD/DVD. It is also small, between a few ten kilobytes and a few ten Megabytes, hence the name "mini".
      • Maxi image: This contains data from not only the beginning of the original CD/DVD but also other parts of it. It is called "maxi" because its size is between several hundred Megabytes and a few Gigabytes. However, it is very well compressable (the compressed package is only a few ten kilobytes) as its vast majority, the parts that the copy protection doesn't check, is filled with zeros. See below for information on how to make maxi images use much less disk space than their actual size.
      The following are not cracks but are included for the sake of completeness:
      • Original EXE: This is the still copy protected - nowadays mostly encrypted, as well - original executable (and/or DLL).
      • Full image: This is the complete image of the original CD/DVD, without any modifications. You can mount it into a virtual CD/DVD emulator (Alcohol 120% or Daemon Tools) to install and play the game off your hard disk, without any cracks.
    8. Why do people want to use no-CD/DVD patches at all?
      Quote from thebluegr and AstralWanderer:
      Quote:
      All protections have blacklists which stop you from using legitimate programs or from copying your CD. People prefer no-CD/DVD patches because:
      1. They don't want to use their original CD all the time, as CD's become unreadable very easily (from scratching, temperature, humidity etc.). I for one put my CD's in CD wallets to save space and to keep them organized, but I've had a couple of old CD's (some 6 year old ones) that are unreadable now. Data doesn't last forever, therefore you NEED backups.
      2. Many people don't like swapping discs if they play 2 games in a certain period. CD images are a good way of swapping disks quickly and effectively.
      3. Because of the blacklists they have, protections don't allow you to use legitimate programs like AnyDVD, IdleDVD, Alcohol 120%, Daemon Tools etc. For example, Safedisc crashes if IdleDVD is installed and Starforce is known to affect the normal operation of Nero: Burning ROM.
      4. Protections like StarForce install system drivers in order to work. These drivers affect normal system operation by intercepting system calls and altering them. Starforce installs 6 drivers to work (!!!) and has been reported to damage optical drives.
      5. The drivers that these protections install run with SYSTEM privileges (that's more privileges than administrators have, and they obtain those privileges because they're drivers), which means they can do anything they want to your system. Some of these drivers (e.g. Starforce) have been known to have security holes in them, allowing malicious users to take over your PC remotely. Plus, you are not allowed to install games if your Windows account doesn't have administrative rights (because these protections want to install their drivers).
      6. The checks that these protections make take time. Starforce takes ages (up to 2 minutes) just to verify that the disc inserted in the drive is original. Can you wait for that check every time that you want to play a game? What if a game crashes often with a certain system configuration or is poorly written? How many times can you endure the delay that CD protections add to the beginning of the game?
      7. Because of the anti-piracy measures they have, protections can affect the performance of games. The constant on-the fly decryption of Starforce for example affects normal game performance, as it decrypts parts of the original executable each time from disc.
      8. Certain protections (e.g. Starforce) don't allow you to use trainers because they don't allow the memory that the game reserves to be altered.
      9. Companies fail to mention in the game's EULA that they want to install drivers on your system which will affect its normal operation. Those drivers are installed without you knowing, which makes the whole game protection scheme a bit of shady in the eyes of the law.
      10. Many companies have chosen to remove game protections from their games in newer patches because of the many problems that legitimate users report. I can remember Neverwinter Nights, for example, which used SafeDisc and then it was removed in a subsequent patch because of the numerous number of complaints received from users.
      11. Protections harm legitimate businesses like net cafés. Imagine having users that want to play a protected game over LAN. As a business, would you give them your original CD's without worrying about scratches and/or theft? Plus, it requires more money and space to watch over who uses your original game CD's and when.
      12. CD checking software tends to be specific to current versions of Windows, meaning that it may not function with later ones. Even if an update is released (e.g. as StarForce had to do for Vista) it may still require the software publisher to include it in a separate game update. For older games, it is unlikely they will bother (if the publisher still exists!) so CD checks often impose an artificially short lifespan on games. Similarly such checks often block emulators (like DOSBox or Wine on GNU/Linux systems) from running games.
      13. For laptop users, CD checks are a greater burden since (a) users have to carry CDs with them when "gaming on the go", greatly increasing the chance of damaging or losing them; (b) CD drives consume power and may prevent the use of a second battery, significantly reducing gaming time away from mains power and (c) smaller laptops (and UMPCs) do not include a CD/DVD drive to save space - no-CD cracks here allow owners to play their legitimately purchased games without having to continually carry an external drive with them.
      Note that some of the problems mentioned above have already been solved in newer versions of the copy protections but, rest assured, quite a few others are still present!
    9. What can I do against copy protections? How can I make sure that I will be able to play my games from backups or images?
      A few general guidelines:
      • Don't buy so-called "digital download" games, those that can be downloaded for free, usually playable in demo mode, and then their full contents unlocked ("activated") upon purchase. These usually have a copy protection that is different from the "retail" version, the one sold on CD's or DVD's, and therefore they often don't get cracked. Upon first use, the digitally downloaded game needs to be activated, which means an online connection to a server of the developer or the publisher. However, when the components in your system have been changed significantly (you upgraded a few parts in your PC), the game needs to be activated again. One problem is that, after a number of activations, the game needs to be purchased again; another is that, in a few years, when the developer and the publisher won't be available anymore, there will be no chance to activate the digitally downloaded game (on your then current hardware) at all!
      • Don't buy games that are protected with intrusive copy protections. (For more information on Starforce - by far the most intrusive of them all - see the Boycott Starforce site.) This will make sure that no hidden drivers are installed on your system, that may cause weird behavior, unexpected crashes, performance problems and even security holes.
      • Wait until a (proper) crack is released for the game or an official patch removes (the annoying part of) the copy protection, and only then buy the game. (But don't use a pirated copy in the meantime!) If many customers do this, the publisher will notice the long delay between the release of the game and your purchase and, perhaps, re-consider their use of that copy protection!
  4. Checking/reporting problems with cracks
    1. What should I do if I cannot extract files from the crack package I downloaded?
      • If you get decompression errors while extracting files or don't know how to extract them, get the latest version of 7-Zip, ACE, RAR or ZIP, depending on the type of the archive. Also, in the case of maxi images, note that FAT drives limit the maximum file size to 2 Gigabytes and FAT32 drives to 4 Gigabytes; for larger files, you need Windows 2000/XP and an NTFS drive (Windows 95/98/ME don't support NTFS).
      • If you don't know what to do with crack packages at all then:
        • Make sure you understand how the PC and Windows works. If needed, buy a book on how to use Windows and/or ask for help from a more knowledgeable person.
        • See the extension of the downloaded file, download the latest version of the appropriate archiver software and learn how to use it (read its manual). (See links above. By the way, WinRAR can handle all archive formats itself so you might want to download it anyway.)
        • Extract the contents of the archive into an empty directory. If you see any file with the extension ".nfo" or ".txt", open it (in NotePad, WordPad or any text viewer/editor software) and read it through for information on how to use the crack.
        • Usually, the crack consists of one or more files with the extension ".exe" and/or ".dll". Use the Windows search facility (Start Menu, Search, For Files or Folders; hotkey: Windows-F) to find files with the same names, or click on the icons that point to the installed game and enter their Properties page. What is important is to find the directory where the game is installed; this is where you need to copy the previously mentioned files from the crack, overwriting those already there. Important! Make sure to backup the original files because you may need them later (when applying official updates etc.)!
    2. What should I do if the cracked game doesn't work properly?
      Try again, with the original CD/DVD, without a crack. If that doesn't work either, see above for suggestions on how to make original games work or how to report problems with original games to the publisher/developer.
    3. What should I do if the game doesn't work properly from the backup CD/DVD?
      If the original game works but the backup CD/DVD image doesn't, check the readability of the backup. Copy all files and directories, recursively, from the original CD/DVD into an empty directory on your hard disk. Then insert the backup CD/DVD and do a recursive compare between the backup CD/DVD and that directory:
      • FAR Manager:
        • set the two panels to show the two directories; press F11, select the "Advanced Compare" plugin;
        • enable "subfolders", "size" and "contents", disable all others, press "OK";
        • the differences will be highlighted in the panels.
      • Total Commander:
        • set the two panels to show the two directories; go to main menu, select "Commands", then "Synchronize Dirs...";
        • enable "Subdirs", "by content" and "ignore date", disable the equation mark under "Show", press "Compare";
        • the differences will be listed below.
      • (No, Windows Explorer cannot do this.)
      At the end, there should be no differences at all. Also, while the comparison is running, watch the drive LED of the CD/DVD-ROM and listen to its noise. (No other software should be running on your system at that moment so that nothing interferes with the data transfer.) The drive should maintain constant read speed and noise, the drive LED shouldn't do rhythmic blinking, and there should be no squeaking noises, otherwise the drive is retrying read errors on weak sectors. If the backup CD/DVD is damaged (there are differences or weak sectors on it), create another one (see the guides below).
    4. What should I do if the game doesn't work properly with a crack? How should I report problems with a crack?
      If the original game works but the cracked game doesn't, report it to the forum. In your report, include, at least, the following information:
      • for a downloaded crack, exact name of downloaded crack (name, version and language of the game; type of crack; name of the group that released the crack), taken from the download page (alternatively, you can provide the URL of the download page);
      • for a backup CD/DVD you made yourself, name and version of the CD/DVD imager/burner software, the read/write speed used and the brand of the CD/DVD disk;
      • exact brand and type of motherboard, CPU, video and audio card and CD/DVD-ROM drive, amount of system RAM and video RAM, connection of CD/DVD-ROM drive (IDE, S-ATA, SCSI, USB/FireWire) (the latest release of Everest should help you with collecting this information; unfortunately, the free Home Edition has been discontinued);
      • exact name and version (or service pack number) of operating system (in the Control Panel, launch "System");
      • version of video and audio card drivers:
        • Windows 95/98:
          • open Control Panel, launch "System" and go to the "Device Manager" tab;
          • open "Display adapters" or "Sound, video and game controllers", right click on the name of the video/audio card, select "Properties", go to the "Driver" tab;
          • press "Driver File Details", browse through the list of drivers and see "File version" below;
        • Windows XP:
          • enter the Device Manager:
            • on the desktop, right click on "My Computer", select "Manage" and go to "Device Manager"; or
            • enter the Control Panel, select "Administrative Tools", then "Computer Management" and go to "Device Manager"; or
            • press the Windows-Pause key combination, go to the "Hardware" tab and press "Device Manager";
          • open "Display adapters" or "Sound, video and game controllers", right click on the name of the video/audio card, select "Properties", go to the "Driver" tab;
          • see "Driver version";
      • short description of what you did (launch the game; enter this or that menu; enable/disable this or that setting; start playing this or that subgame etc.) and exact error messages, if any, displayed by the game.
      Without this information, you may not be able to get proper help. And yes, if you contact the official game support, they will ask you to provide this information, too!
    5. What should I do if my virus scanner reported a virus/trojan/etc. in a crack?
      • If your virus scanner reported the "Win32/Keylogger.HotKeysHook.A" trojan for a trainer, don't worry about it. Yes, the trainer keeps watching your keypresses but only for good purposes: to be able to react to them by (de)activating a trainer function!
      • Check the suspicious file with another virus scanner and you will see that no, it does not contain any kind of malware. In general, we recommend that you do NOT use McAfee VirusScan or Norton/Symantec Antivirus because they are known to have too many false positives (and false negatives, too). We recommend you to use virus scanners with different, provedly more reliable technologies: AVG Anti-Virus, Kaspersky Anti-Virus or NOD32 Antivirus.
      • You may also submit suspicious files to a site like Jotti's Malware Scan or VirusTotal - since these use multiple scanners (21 with Jotti and 32 for VirusTotal) they should provide a better detection rate than any single scanner.
  5. Creating/using backups and mini/maxi images
    1. What should I do if I cannot extract files from the crack package?
      See above for suggestions.
    2. How do I make the mini/maxi image for a game, protected by SafeDisc 4.x/SecuROM 7.x/Starforce 3.x/4.x, work?
      Note that, apparently, there's no solution that would work under all circumstances but here are a few things you should try:
      • Important! For games protected by Starforce 3.4/3.5, SafeDisc 4.5 or newer, mini images will not work, because the copy protection checks several areas of the original CD/DVD!
      • First of all, read the documentation included in the package of the crack, and make sure you followed it exactly. Even missing a single step may make the crack inoperable! On the other hand, such a documentation might not be competely up-to-date; there may even be trivial mistakes in it! If you don't succeed with its help, read on.
      • If the mini image cannot be mounted into the virtual CD/DVD emulator, see if the mini image consists of only one file, with the extension ".mds". In this case, create a full image of your own original CD/DVD with Alcohol 120% and rename the resulting file, with the extension ".mdf", to the same name as the MDS file. Now you will be able to mount it into the virtual CD/DVD emulator. If the game asks for a CD-key, use your own.
      • For Windows XP, install Service Pack 2, as a few utilities, created for circumventing copy protections, don't work without it. (For sanely paranoid people: no, it doesn't mess up your system! Nevertheless, you may want to make a full backup before its installation.)
      • Install a virtual CD/DVD emulator, the latest version of: Note that Daemon Tools is always a step ahead Alcohol 120% in emulating/fooling copy protections so you should first try that one!
        Do NOT use: To avoid blacklisting (meaning: if the copy protection recognizes the emulator, it may refuse to start the game), make sure to change the driver names of the emulator:
        • Alcohol 120%: upon installation, enter different names for the two drivers; if the software is already installed, uninstall and reinstall it;
        • Daemon Tools 3.x: upon installation, select "Expert" mode and enter different names for the "Vendor" and "Model"; if the software is already installed, right click on the tray icon, select "Virtual CD/DVD-ROM", then "Device 0:", then "Set device parameters" and change "Vendor" and "Model";
        • Daemon Tools 4.x: the vendor and model names are both automatically random-generated, but you can still change it as with the previous version.
        Note that:
        • the new 4.x version of Daemon Tools supports Windows 2000/XP only; for Windows 95/98/98SE/ME, download the older 3.47 version instead;
        • Until very recent releases, Alcohol 120% didn't support 64-bit Windows; Daemon Tools has a separate download package for 64-bit Windows.
      • Download a mini/maxi image (see above) or create your own (see below), mount it into the virtual CD/DVD emulator (read the documentation on how to mount images) and configure the emulation:
        • Alcohol 120%: go to the main menu, select "File", then "Options...", go to the "Emulation" and "Extra Emulation" configuration screens, enable all options and press "OK".
        • Daemon Tools: right click on the tray icon, select "Emulation" and then "All options OFF". (The emulation options are for burned backup CD's/DVD's only; for mounted images the emulation options are configured automatically.)
      • Disable your IDE CD/DVD-ROM drives in the BIOS setup or Windows' Device Manager or with StarFucker/StarForce Nightmare (see below). Alternatively, physically unplug the power and/or IDE cable from the drives as disabling them via software may not be enough: newer versions of Starforce 3.x/4.x reenable them. Some say that, if you install the native IDE driver for your motherboard - rather than leaving the default "Standard Dual Channel PCI IDE Controller" driver or similar -, the physical unplugging is not needed on on PC's with nForce 1/2 chipsets; and the Daemon Tools developers confirmed that it is definitely not needed for nForce 3/4 chipsets.
      • Hide the virtual CD/DVD emulator from the copy protection (SafeDisc 4.x, SecuROM 7.x and Starforce 3.x/4.x), after you have mounted the image, with the latest version of one of the following utilities. The newest most recommended of all is: Some other, relatively new utilities:
        • CureROM.
        • Pr0t.St0p: Before launching the game, run the software, press "Hide" and exit. After the game finished, launch the software again, press "Restore" and exit. (This software is the next version of SR7.Stop).
        Older utilities which you shouldn't use unless absolutely necessary (possibly for older games with older versions of copy protections):
        • Anti-Blaxx: Beware, it is not a very well-written program, it may mess your system very badly in some cases! It is recommended that you use some other software instead.
        • SafeDisc 4 Blocker.
        • SafeDisc 4 Hider: Before launching the game, run the software, press "Hide" and exit. After the game finished, launch the software again, press "Restore" and exit.
        • Securom 7 Burner Loader: Run the software and launch the game through it, by opening the main game executable in the file selector.
        • Securom Loader (asr.exe).
        • SFCure: Note that there are two different versions: one for 32-bit Windows and the other for 64-bit Windows.
        • SR7.Stop: Discontinued; use Pr0t.St0p (see above) instead.
        • StarForce Nightmare: Before launching the game, run the software, press "Disable Node", wait until the window title changes back, press "Disable CD", wait, press "Disable Node" again and exit. After the game finished, run the software again, press "Enable CD", wait, press "Enable Node" and exit.
        • StarFucker.
        • Virtual CD-Hide.
        Read the software documentation, if any, for more information on their usage. Note that:
        • most of these utilities don't support 64-bit Windows, except for the x64 version of SFCure;
        • the new 4.x version of Daemon Tools is currently supported by Pr0t.St0p, Securom 7 Burner Loader, SR7.Stop 1.2 and Y.A.S.U. only.
      • Exit all software that may be blacklisted by copy protections:
        • Exit all virtual CD/DVD emulators (see above) so that even their small icons disappear from the system tray. Don't worry, the emulated drives will still be functional! If, upon exit, Daemon Tools asks you "Do you want to leave emulation options enabled?", select "Yes".
        • Exit all hider softwares (see above).
        • Exit all debuggers.
        • Exit all CD/DVD-related software that may filter communication with (emulated) CD/DVD drives. These may include but may not be limited to:
          • AnyDVD;
          • BusHound;
          • CloneCD;
          • CloneDVD;
          • GameJack (you may have to completely uninstall it, along with its virtual drive; if it doesn't uninstall properly then reinstall the software, find the .MSI installation file of the software's universal SCSI controller and uninstall it manually).
        It may be not only annoying to exit such autostarted software every time before playing a game, these may also affect system performance and/or stability. It is recommended that you do not let them autostart with the operating system, rather start them manually whenever you really need them. Read their documentation on how to disable their autostart and how to start them manually.
      • Some - including copy protection developers and game support/knowledge base sites - say that, under Windows XP, Windows 2000 compatibility mode helps with fooling the copy protection. (In Windows Explorer, right click on the main executable of the game, select "Properties", go to the "Compatibility" tab, enable "Run this program in compatibility mode for:", select "Windows 2000" from the list below it and press "OK".) Beware, it doesn't seem to work for everyone and it may significantly reduce game performance, as well!
      • You can try moving the drive letters of virtual CD/DVD drives in front of the physical CD/DVD drives (in the alphabet, the virtual CD/DVD drive comes first, then the physical ones). To change the drive letters of emulated CD/DVD drives, in any Windows:
        • Alcohol 120%: go to the main menu, select "File", then "Options...", go to "Drive Letter" configuration screen, click on a drive, press "Edit", select another drive letter, press "OK"; leave the options menu by pressing "OK";
        • Daemon Tools: right click on the tray icon, select "Virtual CD/DVD-ROM", then a drive, then "Set device parameters", select another drive letter at "Drive letter" and press "OK".
        To change the drive letters of all kinds of CD/DVD drives:
        • Windows 95/98:
          • open Control Panel, launch "System" and go to the "Device Manager" tab;
          • open "CDROM" right click on the name of the CD/DVD drive, select "Properties", go to the "Settings" tab;
          • set "Start drive letter" to the first, and "End drive letter" the last desired drive letter (in the case of one drive, the two drive letters should be the same);
          • reboot the computer (to spare rebooting, change the letters od emulated drives in the emulator software instead; see above);
        • Windows XP:
          • enter Disk Management:
            • on the desktop, right click on "My Computer", select "Manage" and go to "Disk Management"; or
            • enter the Control Panel, select "Administrative Tools", then "Computer Management" and go to "Disk Management";
          • right click on a drive - either in the detailed list at the top or in the graphical list at the bottom - and select "Change Drive Letter and Paths...";
          • press "Change", select another drive letter at "Assign the following drive letter", press "OK" and again press "OK".
        Never change the letters of drives on hard disks (except for removable hard disks in internal/external IDE/USB/FireWire racks etc.), otherwise the system may crash right away and may not even boot anymore!
      • Common error messages, displayed by copy protections:
        • A required security module can not be activated. This program can not be executed.
          SecuROM 7.x has detected a virtual CD/DVD emulator, an emulator hider software and/or other software that it finds suspicious. Exit all such software (see above), before starting the game. Alternatively, under Windows XP, you can try running the game in Windows 2000 compatibility mode (see above).
        • Please insert the original disc in drive <drive letter>:
          SecuROM 7.x has found a completely unrelated CD/DVD in one of your real IDE CD/DVD-ROM drives. Remove the CD/DVD so that the copy protection will check the emulated CD/DVD drives instead.
        • Please insert an original disc instead of a backup disc
          SecuROM 7.x has found out that the (emulated or burnt) CD/DVD is not the original. Create another backup (see below) or try mounting another mini/maxi/full image.
    3. (*) What should I do if the game asks me for a serial/CD-key/DVD-key and I can't find one included with the mini/maxi image?
      Do not request CD-keys/serials in the forum! CD/DVD-keys/serials have been intentionally deleted from mini/maxi images available on GCW. Use your own, from your original CD/DVD!
      This question is related to obviously illegal activity; your thread will be closed! Read forum rule #2!
    4. How do I create backups or mini/maxi/full images?
      Important: For games protected by SafeDisc 4.5 or newer, mini images will not work!
      For the creation of backups or mini/maxi/full images, see the following guides: and additional downloads: You should definitely use no software other than to create and burn the image, and you should read/write at the lowest possible speed. Some say that BlindWrite is better at determining the topology of CD's/DVD's, which is the key to duplicating newer copy protections.
      • For a mini image, you can either abort the creation of the image, as the guide recommends, or let Alcohol 120% create a full image and then cut out its first few sectors with ISO Directory. You should keep a few Megabytes or a few hundred kilobytes from the beginning of the CD/DVD.
      • For a full image, simply don't abort the image creation process, let it finish.
      • For a backup, create a full image and burn that onto an empty CD/DVD. Use CD's/DVD's from high-quality manufacturers (preferably, Philips, TDK or Verbatim) only; also note that cheaper CD's from these manufacturers, that come in cylinders of 25-50-100-150, may be made of lower quality, B-grade or even worse material. (See the Blank DVD media quality guide for more information.) In the "Prepare your CD/DVD Recorder" screen of Alcohol 120%'s Image Burning Wizard, select the name (and version) of the appropriate copy protection - or, for no copy protection, "Normal CD" or "Normal DVD" - from the "Datatype" list in the bottom left corner.
      • For a maxi image, create a full image and zero out as large parts of it as possible, but without the copy protection finding out that it's not an original. You should keep a few Megabytes or a few hundred kilobytes from both the beginning and the end of the CD/DVD, but this may or may not be enough. (This is a form of cracking so we can't help you; you're on your own!)
      In all cases, you can try reading/emulating/burning RMPS (Recordable Media Physical Signature) information:
      • When reading the CD/DVD in Alcohol 120%, capture RMPS information, as well: set "Datatype" to "Securom *NEW (4.x/5.x)*" in the Image Making Wizard and leave "Data Position Measurement (Precision: High)" enabled (also, make sure precision is set to high). This will add RMPS information to the resulting image.
      • When mounting the image, enable RMPS emulation:
        • Alcohol 120%: Open the "File" menu, select the "Options..." item, go to "Emulation" and enable "RMPS (Recordable Media Physical Signature) Emulation";
        • Daemon Tools: Right click on the system tray icon, open the "Emulation" submenu and enable "RMPS".
      • When burning the image in Alcohol 120%, burn RMPS information, as well: enable "Burn 'RMPS' to recordable media" in Image Burning Wizard. Remember that you'll need Alcohol 120% or Daemon Tools running, with RMPS emulation enabled (see above), to be able to use this CD/DVD!
    5. Why doesn't the mini/maxi image work when I burnt it onto an empty CD/DVD? Why does the the game/the setup program crash when I launch it from a CD/DVD burnt/emulated from a mini/maxi image?
      Don't burn mini/maxi images, as that way they won't work! Instead, mount them into a virtual CD/DVD emulator. Don't run anything off mini/maxi images (or CD's/DVD's onto which you burnt them), as they're mostly filled with zeros and contain just enough data to fool the copy protection, nothing more!
    6. What should I do if the maxi image costs me a lot of hard disk space?
      Under Windows 2000/XP, put the maxi image onto an NTFS drive and enable compression for less disk usage:
      • Windows Explorer: Right click on the file, select "Properties", press "Advanced", enable "Compress contents to save disk space", press "OK" and again press "OK".
      • FAR Manager: Press Ctrl-A on the file, enable "Compressed" and press "OK".
      Note that this won't change the visible file size, only the disk space the file uses; to see the disk space, that the compressed file actually uses:
      • Windows Explorer: Right click on the file, select "Properties" and see "Size on disk".
      • FAR Manager: Switch to "Detailed" panel mode (hotkey: Ctrl-5) and see the "Packed" column.
      Note that:
      • Windows 95/98/ME don't support NTFS drives.
      • Compression is not available on FAT and FAT32 drives or on NTFS drives with a cluster size higher than 8 kilobytes (8192 bytes). To see the cluster size:
        • In the Start Menu, select Run, run the "chkdsk <drive letter>:" DOS command and see the "The type of the file system is ..." line for the file system type and the "... bytes in each allocation unit." line for the cluster size.
        • FAR Manager: Go to the drive, press Ctrl-L and see the end of the separator line above "Total bytes" for the file system. Press Ctrl-Q and see "Cluster size" for the cluster size.
      • Some say that, to reclaim free disk space (get back the difference between the compressed and original size of the image), you have to reboot Windows.
  6. Miscellaneous
    1. Any recommended software?
      • CD/DVD:
        • Alcohol 120% (commercial): CD/DVD emulator and image reader/writer.
        • AnyDVD (commercial with 21-day free trial version): DVD copy protection remover.
        • BlindWrite (commercial): CD/DVD copier.
        • Daemon Tools (commercial with free lite version): CD/DVD emulator.
        • Nero Burning ROM (commercial): CD/DVD burner, CD/DVD image burner, audio/video player/converter and much more.
        • UltraISO (commercial): CD/DVD image editor.
      • Copy protection:
        • ProtectionID (free): Copy protection scanner.
        • For a list of CD/DVD emulator hider utilities, see this list.
      • Archiving:
        • 7-Zip (free): Archiver for 7-Zip archives.
        • WinACE (shareware): Archiver for ACE archives.
        • RAR & WinRAR (shareware): Archiver for RAR archives.
        • Info-ZIP (free): Archiver for ZIP archives.
      • File manager:
      • Antivirus:
      • System:
      • File editor:
        • Hiew - Hacker's View (commercial with limited free demo version): Multi-purpose hexa editor. (Note: version 6.10 is last freeware release, for DOS only; 6.86 is the last release for DOS; 7.x is Windows-only.)
        • Hex WorkShop (commercial): Multi-purpose hexa editor.
    2. Any recommended documentations?
    3. Any other recommended sites?
__________________
Joe Forster/STA
For more information, see the FileForums forum rules and the PC Games forum FAQ!
Don't contact me via E-mail or PM to ask for help with anything other than patches (or software in general) done by me, otherwise your request may be deleted without any reply!
Homepage: http://sta.c64.org, E-mail: [email protected]; for attachments, send compressed (ZIP or RAR) files only, otherwise your E-mail will bounce back!

Last edited by Joe Forster/STA; 14-07-2010 at 13:36.
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Joe Forster/STA For This Useful Post:
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