Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.
Give me an alternative!
Published on March 26, 2006 By Draginol In PC Gaming

Spent yesterday playing Oblivion. Very impressive RPG.

But today I wanted to go back to playing one of my other favorite games.  My desk is a mess and I managed to find the CD and put it in. So I try running the game and I get a "Cannot locate the CD-ROM".

Ack. So I dig up the other CD for it and try that. Same thing. I've played the game a zillion times before, never had a problem.  My Dell has two CD drives (one DVD, one CD). So I tried putting both CDs in the drive, same thing.  Then I tried disabling one of the drives and trying both CDs in turn. Same thing.

I then uninstall the game, reinstall it. Installs fine.  But I can't run it. I get that damn message every time. So what's the issue? There's only two CDs for the game in question. I've tried both. They used to work fine. They've worked fine for months. The only thing I've done new is install Oblivion which I don't see how that could affect anything.

I try logging on as another user, same problem.  I try deleting every other process I can, same problem.  Either the CD somehow got damaged in some subtle way (but had no problem doing a full reinstall of the game) or something on my system has changed that I can't figure out.

Either way, it's incredibly frustrating to be wasting hours on a Sunday trying to figure out why I can't play the game when I know, all the while, that people who warezed it had no problem. 

I've googled and the only other people who had something similar that I could find are people who put the wrong CD in the drive (due to a misprint) but that's not an issue here since I've tried both and played the game successfully for months.

Give me activation or some other mechanism. I just want to play the game without having to mess with some stupid CD ROM, especially if the checking is flakey due to whatever reason (it's probably not even the game's fault, it's probably something that's changed on my system).  All I know is that I can't play the game.

It's exactly the type of reason why I hate CD copy protection though. The game's using 1.5 gigs of hard drive space and I can't play it because the "dongle" doesn't work.  Heck, sadly, I would prefer a real life dongle. Give me a USB dongle I have to use or something. I have a zillion USB ports, I'd happily sacrifice one. I just want to play the game without inconvenience.

Comments (Page 1)
on Mar 26, 2006
I've had that problem before. The only thing I could find to do was to either uninstall the offending new game, find out its protection and then never use either again, or get the crack for the game that no longer works. I'm sure you'd know where to get an exe that won't be baffled by Oblivion's changes to your cd drives.
on Mar 26, 2006
Is it a SecureROM system? There were problems with FEAR that required a patch for some drives. What gamne is it?
on Mar 26, 2006
I haven't heard any reports of Oblivion doing anything to the way Windows deals with drives.  Seems like people would already be making noise if there was.
on Mar 26, 2006
Rootkit.  Arrgggghhhh!
on Mar 26, 2006
And Oblivion does NOT use Star Force. just FYI.
on Mar 26, 2006
What game was it, just asking? I've had numerous problems with dvd games from EA, as well the dvd edition of the movies. I've said it before and I'll say it again, CP should move away from the cd and more thru the company. Similar to how Stardock registers the games thru SDC that way pirated copies can't get updates and such.
on Mar 26, 2006
I here that this can be blamed on stardocks minor modification of drivers in order to more fit its own games, (or that somehow stardock should infact take responsiblity) anywho, I have heard that unistalling the stardock central system, then reinstalling the game may fix this issue, (I think, I forgot but it is a post somewhere in the forums here)
on Mar 26, 2006
I feel your pain! It happens all to often & seems to be becoming more & more common.

The number of times I've had to resort to dubious cracks & fixes to get legitimate retail games I've bought to run is quite ridiculous!

Once, quite a few years ago now, I had problems with Mechwarrior 4 refusing to run & feeling just a little bit masochistic I rang the Microsoft help line for assistance. After numerous phone calls over a two day period that totaled to just under three hours the game still wasn't running.
So I tried a nocd patch & what do you know, the game ran perfectly. I then took great delight in ringing M$ back & informing them.
The response was that it was great that my game was now running, but that they could not condone the use of such measures & wouldn't log it as a solution.

I've not bought another Microsoft game since & added a few other names to the list along the way.
I do miss stomping about in my mech though......
on Mar 26, 2006
Oblivion doesnt use TF thank god. I bought the CE & the strat guide. GREAT GREAT GREAT game.

Been a great year so far CE Oblivion & CE GalCiv2 . WOOT
on Mar 26, 2006
Like others here, I feel your pain and join you in cursing CD Copy protection. I've never been a fan of it, and wish that all forms of copy protection would just die-die-die. I pay for my software, and support developers and their right to get paid, but I really don't need the hassles involved in copy protections - be it inputing code words from a manual (as if I should really have to keep the manual handy all the time), or having to insert the stupid CD. I plead for all developers to stop calling me a pirate, and stop harrassing me after I've paid for theri products.

I can't say how many games along the way I've given up on completely, or refused to buy because of crappy copy protection, but the numbers are staggering. Meanwhile, I know from 'back channels' that most piracy has never really been slowed by copy protection. It may stop neighbors and co-workers from sharing software, but the warez kiddies find the products easily enough. It's just a sad fact of life that copy protection doesn't stop piracy and only harrasses the legitimate customers.
on Mar 26, 2006
I assume you're referring to Civ 4, as I know that they misprinted which CD is which for it, and also because I've had the exact same issue with the CD not being recognized by the game when trying to start it up. The only solution I found was to download a no-CD crack, it makes it a lot easier just being able to turn on the game anytime I want to.
on Mar 26, 2006
It may stop neighbors and co-workers from sharing software, but the warez kiddies find the products easily enough.

I don't think it really does that anymore either. Most people who game have some idea of what a crack is, and where they could look to find it. It would be interesting to see statistics for just how many are downloaded per game within a set period of its release. Does anyone know if one of the major sites has those sort of statistics?
on Mar 26, 2006

Something I find rather handy is GameJackal : it isn't a hack / crack, but it does allow you to play a lot of your games without having the CD / DVD in the drive. Seems it builds a profile of what the game looked for on the CD, and copies that to the hard drive, at which point you just load GameJackal and tell it to run the game's profile.

No swapping CDs out every time you want to switch games, with possibility of scratching them, no having to _find_ the CDs, no wear and tear on the CD drive. Costs about $20 to register it, but you can get a trial version of it to test for free.
on Mar 26, 2006

I here that this can be blamed on stardocks minor modification of drivers in order to more fit its own games, (or that somehow stardock should infact take responsiblity) anywho, I have heard that unistalling the stardock central system, then reinstalling the game may fix this issue, (I think, I forgot but it is a post somewhere in the forums here)

Well you heard wrong.  Stardock Central is simply a download manager.

I got the game to work by installing it to a different computer. So something changed with my main home PC that prevents the game in question from recognizing that it has the correct CD in the drive.  It worked fine up until yesterday.

on Mar 26, 2006 is a pretty good source for no-CD .exes, although you will possibly not be able to install patches because there aren't always updated no-CDs available for every game.

Unfortunately searching for the game you need to fix is hard, because apparently they're black-listed by google (and they use google for their search function). So it doesn't work. That's really bullsh*t as far as I'm concerned, because does NOT help pirates; pirates already get no-CD patches or cracks within the zips they get the game in. I know this.

Gamecopyworld only helps actual legitimate users, because when you buy a game in a store it doesn't have a crack on the CD to disable copy protection.. To reiterate, pirates do not need gamecopyworld or sites like it, sites that ONLY host fixed .exes and utilities and not the game files themselves. When you pirate a game 99.9% of the time you'll get a crack included in the zip, so that site would be pointless for a pirate.

Oh and also make sure you're using a decently secure browser and take basic precautions and such. Hell I've gotten malware and viruses off Alakazam and, it's not like gamecopyworld is particularly dangerous.. but searching around for CD cracks and such, you have to be careful. Wouldn't be surprised if misguided anti-piracy companies are actually behind some of those dangers.

oh and I know how you feel. Morrowind stopped working for me when I got my new DVD drive, basically I can install it (and both expansions which I paid good money for!) but no matter what it lags insanely. I think it's to do with the CD protection. The lag of the CD check was supposedly fixed in a patch but I don't believe it was. Thank Akatosh that Oblivion is here now.