Introduction

I like this article because it’s based on a good news story – well, a news story on gaming websites if nowhere else. I became aware of this issue when I experienced it myself, forcing me to research it which I did extensively. It turns out Microsoft and PC gamers have been butting heads over an issue that started in September, 2015. The release of Windows 10 only made things worse, or better, depending on whose side you’re on.

 

The Error Message

Every time you try to launch certain old games the following error message appears:

“Please login with administrator privileges and try again”

 

SafeDisc, SecuROM and the Security Hole

The above error message is caused by a Windows update and affects some but not all games. Microsoft knowledgebase article KB3086255 discusses it. Click here to read the article. This problem can be traced back to two copy protection programs – SafeDisc and SecuROM – used on CDs and DVDs between 2003 and 2008. The problem affects all SafeDisc-protected games and some SecuROM-protected games released during the given time period. SafeDisc by Macrovision and SecuROM by SONY were developed to prevent software piracy.

When computers running Windows would boot, a file called SECDRV.SYS would load a program into memory. Later, when an attempt is made to play a SafeDisc or SecuROM-protected game, the SECDRV program would examine the installation CD/DVD in the DVD drive to ensure that it is an authentic copy and not an illegal copy of the disc. If an authentic copy of the game disc was not in the drive, the game would not start. Microsoft decided that this process created a security hole – the risk was that your computer could be hacked or exposed to a virus.

So, Microsoft in its infinite wisdom, released an update – KB3086255 – in September, 2015, for Windows Vista / 7 / 8.0 / 8.1. Once the update is installed, if an attempt is made to play a SafeDisc or SecuROM-protected game, the update stops Windows from confirming that the authentic game CD/DVD in the drive is, in fact, authentic. The update does this by deactivating the program loaded by the SECDRV.SYS file. Microsoft’s main interest was, as one would expect, maintaining security. Other issues were secondary. The update seals the security hole but the method used prevents SafeDisc and SecuROM-protected games from being played because Windows can no longer confirm that authentic game discs are actually authentic. This issue has never been resolved to the satisfaction of all involved: Microsoft and gamers.

Microsoft employs many smart people, as evidenced by the many good programs it has developed. Sony and Macrovision, no doubt, employ plenty of smart people, too. One would think that with all that collective brain power, these companies could work together to create a proper solution to this problem – a solution that seals the security hole but doesn’t make many old games unplayable. Unfortunately, such a solution has not been developed, leaving us with the current problem.

 

Solutions

Information about this issue can be found in many YouTube videos, forums and gaming-related sites. It is a widely, discussed topic. For Windows users who want to play their SafeDisc or SecuROM-protected games, the options differ depending on the version of Windows installed.

 

Windows 10

In windows 10, update KB3086255 is built into Windows and cannot be removed or disabled. This leaves you with three options

  1. Download a patch from the game developer
  2. Create a dual-boot system with Windows 10 and an earlier version of Windows
  3. Repurchase the game from a digital distributor

Before doing anything else, check for a patch from the game developer. Some game developers released patches that made their games playable. This is, of course, the best solution. I would assume that the patches simply instruct Windows not to bother examining the game discs to ensure that they are authentic.

Windows 10 users who have the install disc for an earlier version of Windows have another option. They can make use of option two – create a dual-boot system. Such users would have two versions of Windows installed on their computers and they would need to ensure that update KB3086255 is never installed to the earlier version. To play SafeDisc or SecuROM-protected games, users would boot to the earlier version of Windows since the games would not be playable in Windows 10. Instructions can be found online for how to set up a dual-boot system with Windows 10 and an earlier version such as 8.1 or 7.

If solutions one and two are not available to you, the only thing you can do is repurchase the game from a digital distributor – a game download site. Since you’re downloading the game, there is no installation CD/DVD so the game will run fine. For people running Windows 10, this is the only remaining solution. Hopefully, the game you want to play is available from a game download site.

 

Windows 7 / 8.0 / 8.1

For Windows 7 / 8.0 / 8.1 users, there are three options.

  1. Download a patch from the game developer
  2. Repurchase the game from a digital distributor
  3. Remove or disable update KB3086255

Once again, before doing anything else, check for a patch from the game developer. If no patch is available, choosing solution two, above, puts you in the same group as Windows 10 users who need to buy the game from a game download site. If you choose solution three, you have three alternatives. You can enter a command at the command prompt or edit the registry to disable the update or you can uninstall the update. All three alternatives, from the user’s point of view, accomplish the same thing and all three put the computer at the same amount of risk.

Uninstalling the update is the solution given in many YouTube videos and gaming-related sites. I uninstalled the update from my computer because it was preventing me from playing some of my games. I believe the risk from viruses and hackers is low. Anti-virus protects against viruses and a hardware firewall protects against hackers. Everyone has both of these (there’s a hardware firewall built into all cable and DSL modems).

Also, keep in mind that the security hole existed for 12 years before being patched in 2015. If many computers were being hacked or exposed to viruses, Microsoft would have patched the problem very quickly. Instead, they waited 12 years. I don’t believe that this security hole is a legitimate threat because Microsoft hasn’t treated it as such. If you want to play your game and solutions one and two are not available to you, you have no choice but to deal with the update using one of the three methods mentioned earlier. Below are the Windows 7 steps to uninstall the update.

 

Perform the following steps at your own risk:

  1. Go to Control Panel
  2. Change “View by:” in the top right corner to “Category”
  3. There are 8 categories. The bottom left category is “Programs”. Under “Programs” it says “Uninstall a program”. Click on that
  4. The “Programs and Features” window opens
  5. At the top left is a menu bar. Under the menu bar you should see “Control Panel Home” and below that “View installed updates”. Click on “View installed updates” shown in blue on the right
  6. Click in the search text box in the top right corner of the window
  7. Enter KB3086255. As you enter each character the list of installed updates is searched automatically making the list smaller and smaller until only 1 update remains (if it’s installed).
  8. Click on the update to uninstall it

 

If Windows is set to install updates automatically, the update will be re-installed automatically and you’ll have to go through the above steps again. To prevent the update from being reinstalled automatically, follow these steps.

  1. Click the Start button and then Control Panel.
    1. If you’re in “Category View”
      1. Click “System and Security” at the top of the left column
      2. Click “Windows Update” 4 items from the top
    2. If you’re in “Classic View” – “Large Icons” or “Small Icons”
      1. Click “Windows Update” at the end of the list
  2. Click “Change Settings” on the left of the window as shown in blue on the right
  3. Click the drop-down menu under “Important updates” and set it to something other than “Install updates automatically” as shown below
    .
    .
  4. Make other changes in this window if you want and then click OK

 

Click here to go to the first troubleshooting page “Autoplay Doesn’t Work”.

 

 

11 Responses

  1. Sean Mansfield

    That is quite an indepth report on how to fix “Please login with administrator privileges and try again” errors. I personally have not experienced this issue yet. but if I do I know exactly where to look.

  2. Will

    very informative article. I appreciate the detail you go into to fix this gaming problem. Well done and thanks for sharing!

  3. Jeremy

    I remember running into this problem a while back when I tried playing Age Of Empires 2 on my Windows 10 PC.

    Luckily I found a solution but it took me a while! if only their was an article like this back then I would’ve been able to play it sooner!

    Thanks for the detailed article.

  4. Jan

    Hi, Peter and thanks for your article!
    I remember the days when I played on Commodore 64 and have to adjust the tape drive head…I guess there are still some problems with playing games 🙂
    I think I had a similar problem when I played Diablo III on Win but it turned up ok later.
    Anyway…great with this easy to follow instruction and info!
    Regards, Jan

  5. Frank DeFuso

    I have not encountered this particular problem, however, I have encountered other issues and never seem to find step by step instructions to fix them. I always seem to get a run-a-round. Thank you for this because I know there are more like me out there who need people like you.

  6. Withaam

    A lot of useful content, the theme you’ve chosen also great
    You offer a lot of useful content that is easy to read and understand.

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