Resolving SECDRV.SYS Related Compatibility Issues

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A Windows Update (KB3086255, September 2015) was pushed through for Windows Vista, 7 and 8/8.1, which had the goal of disabling the secdrv.sys driver which is no longer maintained by its authors and is considered by Microsoft to be a security issue because of that. Windows 10 already has the driver disabled or removed.

This driver is related to the SafeDisc copy protection system, and since it is unable to be run, games which have that copy protection method applied can not start, and can display an error asking the user to "Please login with administrator privileges and try again":

Nbalive access denied.png

A list of problematic games has been posted here. The affected games relevant to our community are:


Fortunately, there are a couple of workarounds. While there is little real danger of re-enabling this driver, you do so at your own risk.

1. Run those games in a virtual machine, using Windows 98/2000/XP[edit]

If you've got an old disc for Windows 98, 2000, or XP lying around, you can use VMWare or VirtualBox to set up a virtual machine. Generally speaking, this is a good way of getting older Windows based games to work, though it does require a bit of computer know-how (and a legal copy of Windows). I'd definitely recommend setting this up if you have the know-how (or have a friend/family member that does) and enjoy retro gaming.

2. Revert the update[edit]

This is an easy and quick solution. In the Control Panel, go to Windows Update, then the Installed Updates list. From that list, find the update with the number KB3086255, right-click on it and remove it. Restart the computer, then enter the Windows Update menu in the Control Panel again. Manually check for updates, find the one with the number KB3086255, right-click on it and choose "Hide This Update".

3. Reactivate the secdrv.sys service manually[edit]

This one also requires a little know-how, but it's a lot quicker to do than setting up a virtual machine. If you're not that savvy with computers though, I'd recommend getting someone who is to do it for you. The steps are outlined here on Microsoft Support:

...and here on My Online Security:

Type the following commands at an elevated command prompt. You should press Enter after you type each command.

To disable the driver’s service, type the following command:

sc config secdrv start= disabled

To set the driver’s service to manual, type the following command:

sc config secdrv start= demand

To enable the driver’s service (and to set it to automatic), type the following command:

sc config secdrv start=auto

To manually start the driver’s service, type the following command:

sc start secdrv

To manually stop the driver’s service, type the following command:

sc stop secdrv

Use the sc config secdrv start= demand and sc config secdrv start= disabled commands, for an easy on/off toggle. To run an elevated command prompt, type CMD in the Search bar, right click the CMD program that it finds, and Run as administrator.

Note that there's also a potential security risk here (the update disabled the secdrv.sys driver for a reason, after all), so do this at your own risk! If you're unsure of how to run these commands yourself, try these batch files that automate the process. Please note that I take no responsibility for any damage that may be caused by using this method. If in doubt, look into setting up a virtual machine.

A note on Windows 10[edit]

With more recent builds of Windows 10, it is impossible to simply place the missing secdrv.sys driver (which comes with all games that use it) to the system32 folder and restart it as it is. Recent builds of Windows 10 do not allow running drivers without a digital certificate, which SafeDisc lacks. One potential method is using a PowerShell plugin called PsSecDrv.

A note about cracks/No-CD patches[edit]

To pre-empt another suggestion that may be thrown out there: discussing cracks/No-CD patches is strictly against the rules in the NLSC Forum, and we won't provide any help or support for them. Please consider this fair warning of our zero tolerance policy regarding those discussions; barring the discovery of another legitimate workaround, the three solutions posted above are the only ones that may be discussed here.