SecuROM causes Bad Breath and Leukemia

By Shamus Posted Wednesday Aug 27, 2008

Filed under: Rants 65 comments

Just yesterday I said that while SecuROM is an insult to customers, it had never personally caused me any difficulty. This morning I got to enjoy its shortcomings first-hand. With CD in the drive, I click to launch my game and…


Hm. Laying aside the immorality of forbidding your customers from making Fair Use backups of stuff they own, I want to point out that the legit disk was, in fact, in the drive.

I clicked the link in the dialog for help, where I was told the following:


Yes. Definitely direct the user to go mucking about with the low-level functionality of their fully operational computer. I can’t imagine how that could go wrong. Cynic that I am, I suspected that these directions were no more than dangerous busywork, so before messing around with my drives I tried rebooting my computer. That fixed it.

Oh, the Bad Breath / Leukemia thing? It might be a false positive. Still, better safe than sorry, right?


From The Archives:

65 thoughts on “SecuROM causes Bad Breath and Leukemia

  1. Jeremiah says:

    I heard SecuROM is linked to cancer.

    True story.

    1. Darkstarr says:

      I bet it makes hair grow in your palms, too. ^_^

  2. IncredibleGeek says:

    I heard SecurROM likes tickling soldier’s backs while they sleep.

  3. scarbunny says:

    and its a leading cause of ugliness and stupidity amongst males age 14-22.

    On the topic of SecuRom though, I had many months of not being able to play BF2142 as I had the wrong type of DVD-RW.

    Love the way it assumes you are using a back-up rather than assume its a software failure

  4. Melfina the Blue says:

    Oh, god, that’s a familiar error. Damn you Oblivion Expansion! (The only disc I’ve ever had that problem with was that one)

  5. Liz says:

    So… you can make a backup, but it won’t do you any good because you can’t use a backup to play the game? I… guess that’s one way around the whole pesky “letting people play their games” problem.

    I also note that whoever proofreads their messages doesn’t have a terribly solid grasp of grammar or the basics of clear writing. *twitch*

  6. GAZZA says:

    Oh yeah, SecuROM will eat your babies, torture your cats, and drink the last of the coffee without making a fresh pot.

    It will reply to spam messages on your behalf, post naked photographs of you on youtube, and declare war on a random oil-producing country.

    It will sign you up to Reader’s Digest.

    It will convert all your MP3s to Britney Spears albums, and then inform the RIAA that you’re filesharing them.

    It will cause Ragnarok.

    Every instance of SecuROM increases the effects of global warming. By a lot.

    Millions of SecuROM instances have secretly taken over large arrays of radio telescopes and are busy beaming taunting messages to highly advanced hostile aliens.

    And if you tell the punters all that – they won’t believe you.

  7. Sesoron says:

    SecuROM told Bill Brasky the true name of Hastur; Brasky then proceeded to summon him, eat him, steal his powers, and go on a rampage through the city of Ankara, Turkey. The Turks suspect Greek involvement and are currently mobilizing.

  8. strangeite says:

    SecuROM became self aware, waged war on humanity and sent a governor back in time to kill John Conner.

  9. Chuck says:

    Chuck Norris is able to use SecuROM without any problem.

  10. food4worms says:

    I love that step 1 is “Open the Device Manager”. How many non-Windows-geeks know what the sequence is to get there?

  11. Brad says:

    At least they give you benefit of the doubt and call the copied disc a “backup.” I halfway expected the message to read “Please insert the original disc instead of an illegal copy, you dirty pirate criminal scumbag.”

  12. Illiterate says:

    So, Shamus… You need help finding a cracked version so you can play the game you paid for?


  13. July says:

    Aw, Sam and Max has SecuROM? I was even thinking of buying it.

    Which is pretty ironic if you think about it. :D

  14. A Gould says:

    My first thought was to call customer support and report the store you purchased the game from for selling pirated copies. After all, the disk you purchased is a copy, not an original – your software says so! Look at all those copies on the shelves – practically a black market here at EB games! :)

    (But then, that’s my personal sense of humor. Yours may vary)

  15. Eric C says:

    I got a similar error message playing Episode 1 of Sam & Max Season One. A reboot fixed it for me the first time, but on subsequent attempts I would see the same error over and over again. As much as 80% of the time. It was a crapshoot just to try and play my legit, legal copy of the game. This made my blood burn, because I knew pirates everywhere were merrily enjoying their cracked version, hassle-free. Meanwhile, I was sitting there being accused of using “backups”.

    I emailed SecuROM customer support and they gave me a new executable for Episode 1, which fixed the problem, thankfully. (Cause if it hadn’t, I was ready to go postal on their behinds.) Strangely, none of the other episodes have given me any trouble.

  16. scarbunny says:

    Eric, are you sure your “new” executable wasn’t just a renamed no-cd patch?

  17. mark says:

    if you have daemon tools or some other iso mounting program, it may be detecting that and spazzing out. to correct this, burn your pc to the ground.

  18. folo4 says:

    @Eric C

    if your situation was resolved by customer support, why is there backlash against SecuROM now?


    aw, come on, SecuROM isn’t Ubisoft; they won’t do such a thing.

  19. Kel'Thuzad says:

    The thing Eric C’s talking about is what I had to do to be able to play both my Knights of the Old Republic games. Both the games have the old version of SecuRom on them, until you patch them, when they get the newest, “Evilest Evil in the Evil Evilness Evil world… EVIL” version of SecuRom. You will have to contact them to get a new executable, or reboot every time you want to play.

  20. Mari says:

    SecuROM once tried that with Mr. T. He folded his arms, shook his head and opened his mouth to speak. SecuROM straightened right the heck up so Mr. T wouldn’t pity it.

    SecuROM runs the Matrix and Keanu Reeves is our only hope for escaping it.

    Also, I heard a rumour that SecuROM was recruiting for the CIA, injected all the meat with hormones before throwing it out the window, and wears brown shoes with a blue blazer. I mean, can you believe it? How hideous!

    Personally, I’m thinking what we need is a a lot of torches and pitchforks and other farm implements so that we can lay siege to Sony and burn it with fire.

  21. folo4 says:


    Are you sure you’re not doing it on purpose?

    We can’t burn Sony; the PS3 install base will be with them. And they demand Additional Games.

    EDIT: cruddlesticks, you corrected them before I posted my comment!

  22. Kevin says:

    SecuROM hides your pencil erasers when you need them, and replaces them when you don’t.

    SecuROM gives colds to kids in oxygen tents.

    SecuROM makes you drink too much at office parties and finances movies like Beaches, My Girl, and The Piano.

    I have to admit, if I got a message like that while trying to play a game, I would have taken it right back to the store on principle, and possibly even written a letter to the manufacturer. That is absolutely ridiculous. I mean, really.

  23. Eric says:

    Securom is responsible for Sinbad. Securom started pirating, to give it’s self a job.

    I got a message like that playing solitaire.

  24. The Lone Duck says:

    That… Is very disheartening. I like Telltale Games, and their games. But I don’t care at all for the dangers of SecuROM. And I’m very annoyed that the stupid thing didn’t suggest rebooting. That’s the panacea of computer problems! Bah! Grumble grumble…
    Aha! SecuROM is a plot between Sony and Microsoft to erode the PC userbase and inflate their console base! Probably just paranoria, but it makes sense, and works in their favor.

  25. Mari says:

    @Loneduck – You know, you may be dangerously close to the truth. What if SecuROM is actually a plot from Microsoft (we all know they’re evil corporate overlords, right? ;-) ). Maybe Microsoft implanted the idea at Sony in order to drive up their own sales and improve their image while trashing the competition’s image (because until recently Sony was a benign corporate deity.)

    It also explains the iPhone. Microsoft is sabotaging the 3G network to make iPhones not live up to Jobs’ promises of “twice the performance at half the cost” to similarly turn public perception of Apple from benign corporate deity to evil corporate overlord.

    Good lord! Somebody better drop a line to Linus Torvalds quick before his PR drops into the gutter as well!

    And if I disappear, you’ll know that Microsoft has managed to find and silence me. Look to Redmond The truth is out there.

    P.S. Folo – It kind of almost was on purpose. My fingers move faster than my brain to correct improper useage and spelling, even when it’s actually a made-up word that’s quite proper but looks improper. Force of habit.

  26. Factoid says:

    As bad as Securom is, I’ve also never had a major problem with it. It sometimes doesn’t play nice with Daemon Tools or other CD virtualization suites, but it’s pretty easy to just disable those temporarily, or unmount the offending disc image.

    Starforce on the other hand…well I think the market has spoken on that one. I haven’t seen a mainstream retail title released with Starforce on it ever since the whole GalCivII debacle.

    Starforce was known to literally destroy DVD burners. It had a driver that tried to determine if you were burning a protected disc, right? Well in that process it often had to arbitrarily force your DVD drive to slow down in order to watchdog its every move. Some DVD drives were never meant to operate below a certain RPM, and by doing so it could cause mechanical problems, physically ruining the drive.

    It might not be able to give YOU Leukemia…but it’s certainly able to give it to your DVD Burner.

  27. says:

    SecuROM is causing poverty and hunger around the world by transforming random objects into useless data chunks.

    If I remember correctly, you got with FlatOut 2 an LEGAL securom or starforce removal tool (i’m not sure which one of them…)

  28. Takkelmaggot says:

    SecuROM sold Charles Freck a batch of hallucinogens disguised as downers.
    SecuROM spent a lot of time loitering around the girl’s bathrooms in grade school.
    SecuROM nailed Vince Snetterton-Lewis’s head to the floor every Sunday.
    Also, LOL@Sesoron.

  29. Bowmore says:

    SecuROM logs into your account on your MMO of choice, deletes all your characters, and replaces them with level 1 bardomancers.

  30. TA says:

    SecuROM prevents you from deleting 16-bit executables, crippling anti-virus software.

    o wait that one’s real

  31. guy says:

    I really, really, hate that. That prompt only fails to be the bane of my video gaming existance because of the fact that it eventually goes away. and most of my favorite games don’t use SecuRom

  32. BlackJaw says:

    It’s True!

    SecuRom stole my girlfriend.
    SecuRom drives in the HOV lane illegally.
    SecuRom votes for nanny laws.
    SecuRom is why we only have State Run Liqueur Stores in WA.
    SecuRom caused global warming to wipe out polar bears (they are clearly software pirates too.)
    SecuRom lied about the cake.
    SecuRom made 54% of all known Lolcat images.
    SecuRom crank called my grandma at 3am.
    SecuRom accused Chuck Norris of piracy.
    SecuRom wrote a law allowing gay marriage just so he could vote against it.
    SecuRom started the Great Chicago Fire and total framed that cow.
    SecuRom runs secret mind control opps for the CIA.
    SecuRom is why Hon Shot Last!
    SecuRom invaded Georgia.
    SecuRom made me do it!

  33. Sharon says:

    W@hat a clever, funny bunch of readers you have.

  34. Nilus says:

    SecurRom touched me in a spot my bathing suit covers :(

  35. Alleyoop says:

    Securom pisses off paying customers and shows them the wonders of TPB to get around its assininity. Also real, sry.

    May also cause headache, sweats, agitta, blinding rage and explosive profanity usage.

    When used as directed, Securom is completely harmless to pirates.

  36. Pederson says:

    Huh. I think I actually had this sort of problem with a UT-engine game called Rune ages and ages ago (like, ca. 2002). Seemed to be caused by a failing CD-ROM drive in my case. Windows had detected some exceeded failure threshold in DMA mode and switched over to a legacy mode as fallback. It seemed work fine on reinstall (drive still in old-school mode), but failed to authenticate the disk when switched back to DMA after that (another reinstall cleared that up, IIRC).

    Why the mode your CD drive is in should matter to these CD authentication algorithms I don’t know.

  37. McNutcase says:

    @Alleyoop: you’re supposed to be exaggerating, not telling the plain, unvarnished truth!

    SecuROM ate my hamster! Oh, wait, that was Freddie Starr…

  38. R says:

    As much as I hate to say that, Shamus, there’s one thing you have to do. “Upgrade” to piracy. Stop buying games legally, because goddamn not only are they crackable even with the most umpassable security system, but also make “good” costumer’s life more diffucult.

    Keep in mind that, even if it seems so wrong to you, they fucking deserved it.

  39. ShadowDragon8685 says:

    Well, Shamus, R could be onto something there.

    Buy games legally. Don’t ever bother installing them, just pirate the cracked version from The Pirate Bay. You’ve paid for the game – use it on your terms.

  40. Scourge says:

    Had the same problem once, or rather twice with some games, at least I can remember those.

    Both refused to run after I patched them to the newest version.

    The solution, a cracked exe file.

    Surprisingly did I ahve to use the 1.10 Cracked exe for one of the games although I only had the 1.09 patch isntalled.
    Anyone else who wouldn’t ahve been able to do that, or know what to do, would ahve wasted their money.

  41. lowlymarine says:

    I had a similar problem with my legit copy of Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory. The Starforce copy protection wouldn’t run on 64-bit Windows, so I had to install a no-CD patch in order to get my game to work. MY game, that I PAID real USD for, wouldn’t run on my system. But the pirated version ran flawlessly, and removed the irritating CD check and delays Starforce caused to boot. All because I had the gall to want to be able to use all 4 GB of my RAM.

  42. Hal says:

    SecuROM turned me into a newt!

    “A newt?”

    . . . I got better.

    (C’mon, am I really the only person who thought of it?)

  43. Christian Groff says:

    Oh god, you don’t know how many times I got that message while booting up my Sims 2 Freetime disk. That’s just a minor annoyance, but it’s still annoying as heck. I had to keep pulling the CD out and putting it back in to ensure that it was working properly.

    I hate SecuROM.

  44. Argiod says:

    SecureROM isn’t linked to cancer; it IS a cancer. A clear case of the cure (copy protection) being worse than the disease (pirated software).

  45. Argiod says:

    I understand entirely. I have a system with an Athelon 64, Windows XP Pro x64 Edition OS, and a whole lot of games that are gathering dust because they are not compatible with either this or the crappy Vista Home Premium 32 OS that came with the system.
    I have recently begun torrenting the fixes for those games that have fixes.
    If these mega million dollar/year companies want my further business, they had better stop punishing me for being a paying customer.
    I am only a hair’s distance away from switching to some form of Linux. I already have my Ubuntu 64 disk standing by; along with a new friend who knows how to program a Linux box. Ergo, I may just put my money where it will do some good, and support his efforts to make drivers for all the legacy games we all love to play. I’d rather support him in the development of Linux open source programs, than pay the blackmail that the big companies want to hit us with in their paranoid attempts to ‘protect’ themselves. So far, the Ubuntu community is thriving, and it is totally free! Free to d/l, free to use, free to modify and redistribute freely. They make their money on producing quality custom software for businesses.

  46. Felblood says:

    It used to be that I thought people who complained about this stuff were just over reacting, but since I stopped pirating, I’ve actually had more trouble getting games to work.

    Except for System Shock 2, but apparently, that was even harder on paying customers, because their copies didn’t come with links to the 92 different possible problems that could be causing their particular trouble. I never did get the cut scenes to display right side up…

    I digress, but really, this problem has gotten a lot worse in the last couple of years. There’s so few quality games and so few of them will run on a reasonable machine, already; the last thing we need is for half of them to be unplayable due to Copy protection insanity.

    My solution? Play indie games. The good ones tend to actually get fixed when they’re broken, and when they sell their game on a service model, you can expect actual services.

    Finding good indies is a challenge, but it was the thrill of the hunt that really made me pirate in the first place. Shutting down the torrent searches I used just gave we a reason, to find smaller harder to find ones. It was like a competition, where I tried to find the filez, before the ESA.

    Plus, many independent games are free to play, guilt free. That’s freer than pirate free.

  47. Mari says:

    Yeah, I was so thrilled about my totally awesome new computer with totally awesome Windows XP Pro 64-bit OS. And then I tried to install pretty much anything entertainment oriented that I actually own on it. Four things worked: original Zoo Tycoon, Cats 5, Baldur’s Gate and Guild Wars. I nearly cried. No Dungeon Keeper 2, no Majesty, no Bejeweled 2, for the love of all things right and holy. At this point, I’m shocked that Solitaire worked.

  48. DocTwisted says:

    Political scandal edition:

    SecuROM lied about WMDs and al-Qaeda connections to get congress to invade Iraq.
    SecuROM exposed Valerie Plame’s identity as a CIA agent, endangering her and everyone that could be connected to her.
    SecuROM was arrested for soliciting in an airport bathroom.
    SecuROM fired from the grassy knoll.
    SecuROM made business calls in the Oval Office while an intern half its age gave it sexual favors.
    SecuROM had an affair with its media advisor while its spouse was trying to survive cancer.

    Mad props to Mari for making the PCU reference before I got to.

  49. Miral says:

    Interesting; I use Win XP Pro 64-bit at home, and I’ve never once had a DRM-induced problem caused by the 64-bitness of the OS. (I have had far too many “ooh, you’re running Process Explorer, you must be a pirate!” moments, though. It also occasionally complains about Daemon Tools [which I use for legitimate reasons, not piracy], but an upgrade usually fixes that.)

    Maybe I’ve just been lucky?

    (I have heard that there’s a DRM-related problem with one of the games I have on Vista 64-bit, though. But it doesn’t affect me.)

    In fact thus far the only games I haven’t been able to play are the ones with 16-bit Windows components. (16-bit DOS games I can play via DOSBox.)

  50. GAZZA says:

    Fair enough Hal@42: Monty Python Edition!

    SecuROM is not the messiah – it’s just a very naughty boy.

    SecuROM is an ex-parrot.

    SecuROM owns Spiney Norman.

    SecuROM is not afraid to talk to Doug.

  51. MSchmahl says:

    SecuROM is the “Good Times” virus?

    Shamus, your help message reminds me of dancing bunnies.

  52. lowlymarine says:

    Felblood: I had that same problem with System Shock 2. It turned out to be a conflict with ffdshow, or so I thought, but even though they worked properly for a little while after uninstalling ffdshow, eventually they just stopped displaying at all.

    Also, just noticed this but there is no such word as “verbage,” at least according to Merriam-Webster (and, I now notice, Firefox’s spellchecker). Perhaps you were looking for verbiage?

  53. Mart says:

    TPB is the One. SecuROM is a result of The Equation, trying to balance itself out.

  54. Claire says:

    SecuROM ate Mr. T’s balls.

    SecuROM stole my dad’s car, had sex with my mom in the back seat, and returned it to the driveway at 4 AM with a bone-dry gas tank.

    SecuROM banned all the black men in suits from Habbo Hotel.

    Advice Dog says “Install SecuROM. Fill pepper shakers with cigarette ashes.”

    SecuROM touched me… in the bathing suit area. I said no, but… I… I don’t want to talk about it, anymore.

    SecuROM wrote every. single. episode. in Season 7 of Scrubs.

  55. Viktor says:

    SecureRom cancelled Firefly.
    SecureRom is supported by Clippy.
    SecureRom invented RickRolling.

  56. Mark says:

    Sam & Max has SeucROM?! Well, shoot. I was looking forward to playing that someday.

    Shamus, in case I should accidentally install a game with SecuROM, do you know of any way to remove it from a computer? Since you’ve been infected, now, the experience of removing it might make for a good post.

  57. Cuthalion says:

    SecuRom kidnapped Minsc and put Boo in a cage.
    SecuRom told that Goa’uld to kill Dr. Fraiser.
    SecuRom doesn’t believe in Santa.
    SecuRom raises gas prices.
    SecuRom sells pig meat to Muslims and Orthodox Jews by relabeling it as Kosher beef.
    SecuRom knows where you sleep.
    SecuRom told the first “Your Mom” joke.
    SecuRom shot JFK.
    SecuRom won’t let you play “Minesweeper”.
    SecuRom yells at kids to get off its lawn.
    SecuRom wrote Jar-Jar Binks into Episode I.
    SecuRom set us up the bomb!!!

    Also, genuine lol at “SecuRom lied about the cake.” And I haven’t even played Portal yet…

    SecuRom is still alive.

    Whoa, wait… I’ve never even noticed SecuRom and don’t even know if it’s on my computer… and I hate it just from you guys!

  58. Colin Lacey says:

    I find almost no point to buy games through retail anymore. Through Steam, not only do I have a good catalog of SecuROM free games, but I also find it much more convenient, expedient, and often cheaper to purchase them online..

  59. Richard Smith says:

    SecuROM is not in Nutty Buddies (they’re still occupied by Elvis).

    SecuROM didn’t send Shamus a copy of ObsCure. I did.

  60. Collar says:

    Didn’t Telltale remove the Securom from the first series of S&M (and not use it in season 2)? If so you should just be able to download the new copy of the executable from them.

  61. Tola says:

    . No Dungeon Keeper 2

    I’ve never had a problem with it.

    , no Majesty

    Try this: Run DXDiag, and turn OFF Direct3D(The top option in Graphics.) The game should run. You may encounter crashes, but at least you can play. Make certain Autosave is on-it’s off by default.

  62. Kel'Thuzad says:

    So, what did you do, Shamus?

  63. Writin Reg says:

    You need a reformat to remove Securom or go to the site and they have some lengthly instructions on removing it – which takes the better half of several hours to do. Securom implants itself in the Ring 0 main kernal, and trace logs show it phones home everytime you go online, even when you uninstall all games that had this crap on it. It does also behave like Starforce and there is info regarding some of the damage Securom can do to pcs also on that site if you read through the Tech section. The damages are listed in the Securom Lawsuit Gerard Gibbs has filed against EA.

    Registry files for Securom need a Null tool to find by the way. Oh and for you Steam Users, be forewarned EA is putting a bunch of Games on Steam, and they have Securom – so Steam is not as safe as you think. A bunch of us are riled up about it for all the good it does.

  64. silver Harloe says:

    SecuROM takes candy from babies, uses it to club seals to death, uses the seal bones to make harpoons and whales with them, secretly inserts the whale meat into vegan dishes, uses the whale fat to make soap, but gimmicks all the soap to make people turn blue, and uses the soap byproducts to make nitroglycerin bombs, and uses the bombs to level data centers which support Linux or BSD servers.

    SecuROM made Aragorn trip over his scabbard, turned every noble character in LotR into a nit, and didn’t include the Scouring of the Shire, and didn’t make The Hobbit using the same actors (where appropriate) and level of CGI spiffygoodness.

    SecuROM – you will not find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.

    SecuROM reads 1984 not as a dire warning, but as a guide book for the future it is helping create. Oh, wait, that one’s true. But, that reminds me of the classics:

    SecuROM is made of people. … PEOPLE!

    SecuROM “misplaced” the entire 14th Century.

    SecuROM drugs retired spies and sends them to be psychologically tortured in an inescapable city, where no one has a name.

    Keep your SecuROM off of me, you damned, dirty publishers.

    SecuROM did it. SecuROM finally did it!

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