As you likely well know, Windows 10 is upon us and many people are upgrading. After Windows 8, which most people couldn’t stand, Windows 10 seems to actually be a pretty decent OS. While some people have some concerns with the pirvacy policy, most people I’ve talked to seem content with it. Most programs that worked with Windows 7 and 8 seem to work on Windows 10. Although there are apparently a couple of exceptions.
As reported by Rock, Paper, Shotgun, Boris Schneider-Johne, a marketing manager for Microsoft, was at the recent Gamescom trade fair to talk about Windows 10. While there he talked a bit about compatibility and mentioned that almost all Windows 7 programs should work with Windows 10, with two teensy little exceptions. The first is antivirus software, which apparently has to embed itself pretty deeply into the system, though Microsoft is working on making them compatible in the future. However, the other exception is a bit more serious for some PC gamers out there.If you still have physical discs for games you bought circa 2003 to 2008 and those discs had SafeDisc or Securom DRM on them, then you won’t be able to play those games on Windows 10. At least, not without some workarounds. Apparently this is for reasons similar to the antivirus software, as those DRM systems would have to also embed themselves rather deep into the OS in order to authenticate what it needed to. Microsoft felt that giving such intrusive DRM systems access to the OS was just too much of a risk and therefore chose not to let them have it. This makes sense, since there have actually been a few instances where exploits in the DRM have made computers incredibly vulnerable. So while it might seem at first that Microsoft is being obtuse, they actually have really good reasons for doing what they’re doing in this case. Let’s face it, DRM is at best an imperfect solution to a problem that isn’t as big as it’s made out to be. In the case of such obtrusive DRM systems as SafeDisc and Securom, the cure was far worse than the disease.
So what do you do if you want to go back and revisit these games on Windows 10? Well, the most common workaround would be to find and run a patch that circumvents the DRM and lets you play the game without a disc. Such patches aren’t too hard to find for most games, but some of these patches are unofficial which are technically in a bit of a legal gray area and sometimes with unofficial patches you’re taking a risk. A more expensive option is to go to places like gog.com and find a 100% legal, DRM-free version of the game that’s already been updated and optimized to run on modern systems. This isn’t perfect either, since you have to re-buy the game and such websites might not have the game you’re looking for.
But hey, this is the digital age. How many other people out there even have their old discs still? Are you affected by this very limited annoyance? If so, how are you going to fix it? Let us know in the comments.