At the turn of the century, it was hard to find gamers—or gaming journalists, for that matter—who didn’t despise SecuRom and SafeDisc digital rights management copy protection on some of the top titles of that age. The DRM was accused of causing harware problems and were incredibly invasive on a user’s system. Those DRM mechanisms are gone now, but people still love to pop in their old Grand Theft Auto IV or Spore DRM-laden discs and play a little of these classics.
In Windows 10, however, that’s no longer possible: Windows 10 does not allow the SecuRom and SafeDisc DRM schemes to run, which means the games will fail to start. Boris Schneider-Johne, Microsoft’s German marketing manager for enthusiasts, explained the situation during Gamescom earlier in August (translation courtesy of Rock, Paper, Shotgun).
“Everything that ran in Windows 7 should also run in Windows 10. There are just two silly exceptions: antivirus software and stuff that’s deeply embedded into the system…old games on CD-Rom that have DRM…that’s where Windows 10 says ‘sorry, we cannot allow that, because that would be a possible loophole for computer viruses.’
The two DRM schemes were thankfully short-lived—they ran primarily between 2003 and 2008, according to Schneider-Johne—so the number of games affected by this is relatively small.
The impact on you at home: Windows 10’s refusal to run DRM is a very simple example of how owning digital property with copy protection never turns out well for the consumer. Some games may already have patches that fix the issues the DRM caused, or you can re-purchase the game from places such as GOG.com that sell versions already patched. Alternatively, you could just run an older system and not bother with the upgrade, or you could try running the games in a virtual machine.