Documented STARFORCE Breakdowns or Crashes


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#1 Lurker

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Posted 07 November 2005 - 09:48 AM

Pete has suggested that we start a list of the make, model, and the details of anyone who has experienced a StarForce crash of any kind.

What we want here is to know the nature of your problem, the make and model of the piece of equipment that has stopped working right, and general information about the other hardware you were using when you believe that StarForce ruined your machine or hurt your machine.

We want to see the trends -- to know what types of equipment are vulnerable and what types of documentable problems have really happened to you.

Please don't report, unless you have actually had a piece of your own equipment go bad because of StarForce.  We don't want rumors here.  We want documentable firsthand facts.  If it happened to you, then you qualify to respond, and we want to know the details.

Once again, if StarForce has hurt your personal equipment, tell us what it did, and what equipment you were using when it was hurt.  We don't want to know about your neighbor's experience, unless your neighbor signs in and reports his own experience.  We are trying to avoid all rumors here and get to the facts.

Also, the version of StarForce or the game that StarForce came in would also be helpful information to have, so that we can indeed track what is really causing what.

Thank you.

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EDIT:

And, so that the rest of you don't feel left out.  If you have second-hand information about StarForce, want to rant or vent about StarForce, have interesting second-hand links to share, or want to report your neighbor's experience, then please go over to this thread:

Why I hate StarForce *rant*
http://www.strategyc...?showtopic=4399

#2 pkovak

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Posted 07 November 2005 - 07:34 PM

OK, I was asked to describe what happened to my DVD recorder. As soon I installed Aftershock from DVD, I rebooted my PC just like Starforce asked me to do. After restart I have found out my LG GSA 4120 (Firmware updated to A104, A 105, I am not sure) can't read any DVD - RW, R, RAM, + or - , original DVDs - nothing works. Seems like CDs are working fine (CD writing hasn't been tested).
In desperate move to return my DVD recorder to it's former glory I downloaded Starforce removal tool from Starforce web page, but even after uninstalling and rebooting, nothing changed. My second move was I downloaded and used newest firmware for DVD recorder, version A115. Again, all in vain. It seems recorder can't even find DVD's - it is trying as it finds there is a disc in it, but it don't recognize it as known type. To ensure this is not caused by Windows XP SP1 I have restarted and entered BIOS, to have enough time with pretty nice probability Windows won't interfere with tests. Again I tried several types of DVD's, nothing, again all CDs working.
The only test that avaits me is to put DVD recorder to another PC to test if it can't be caused by something wrong in PC, but probability is very low.
In it's one year life before Starforce DVD recorder had no problems and worked without flaw.

My Config: AMD Athlon 64 3000+ socket 939 (I think it is first version of this CPU, no revision, but I can't be sure)
2x 512 DDR 400 GEIL RAM Dual Channel
MotherBoard Gigabyte K8NXP-9 (nForce4 Ultra chipset)
HDD Hitachi 250 GB SATA II NCQ 8 MB Cache
FDD 3,5" Teac
Gigabyte GF6600 GT 128 MB RAM Graphic Card (PCIex)
WinXP SP1.

Hope that helps, ask me if you need more details.

#3 Pete

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Posted 08 November 2005 - 07:57 AM

Just a note - Hellb0und mentioned somewhere else on these forums that going to the DVD player's homepage and downloading the firmware and doing something worked on his friend's machine: http://www.strategyc...pic=4399&st=20#

Might be worth a try to save your DVD drive if you haven't tried it already.

Not that this helkps with StarForce, but it might help get your hardware back ;)
May your terror missions always be infested with Chrysalids.

#4 Noob

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Posted 08 November 2005 - 09:59 PM

My DVD drive no longer played DVDs (CDs) after i installed Silent Hunter III which uses Starforce. I had a BTC DRW1016IM drive. CD's would play fine, but no DVDs. And burning CDs wouldn't work either. I bought a new drive.

Btw, my graphic card died some days later, but i don't think that was caused by Starforce. At least i hope so....

#5 Lurker

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Posted 08 November 2005 - 11:49 PM

Downloading Firmware didn't work for Pkovak, but it might or might not work for other DVD drives.  While creating this list of equipment and doing this little science experiment, we need to dig in there and bring forward the Brand and Model of the DVD player that was broke and subsequently fixed with firmware.  We want to try to see what trends emerge.

For myself, I breathed a sigh of relief when I realized that I don't have a LG GSA 4120 DVD drive or a BTC DVD drive.  I have three different NEC drives, but my boycott of StarForce has prevented me from running the experiment on my personal equipment.  I'm too chicken to do so.

As part of this science experiment, it would also be helpful if Noob told us what other equipment was in the machine at the time of his DVD breakdown.  If, in the future, we discover that not all BTC drives go down when exposed to StarForce, then we can look to Noob's list of other equipment to see if maybe some other combination of equipment was a contributing factor in the breakdown.  The more details we have to work with in the long run, the better.

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It has been suggested (or thought) that my list of restrictions in my first post are too limiting.  I wanted to get away from rumors and second-hand information and get straight to a list of specific first-hand problems.  Now, I know, that this list will be slow in coming and may take weeks or years to flesh out.  First, people have to find this thread, and second, they have to have a first-hand experience with details to report.  I know it will take some time.  The are many fewer first-hand experiences than second-hand reports and rumors of the original experience.

As an easing of my restrictions, I would say that if you find a quote or a link where a person is saying, "This is what happened to me.  This is the equipment that was damaged or the software that was broken by StarForce.  This is what I tried to do to fix it.  This is some of the other equipment in the system at the time of the breakdown," then you have found first-hand information, and it is fine to post a quote of that information here and/or to provide a supporting link to that information.

If we do that, then in time we might be able to create a list of actual equipment that is practically guaranteed to breakdown when exposed to StarForce.  That's what we are after here.  Also, if you find a link someplace else where people have already started this little science experiment or made such a list of equipment or list of first-hand experiences, then a link to that site would be very appropriate to this thread.  It would give us data and details to work with.

We just want to avoid rumors and hearsay and try to stay as close to the facts and the details and the first-hand experiences as possible, so that the list that emerges will be really useful and really truthful when it is done.

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On other threads, I have seen rumors and reports of people saying that StarForce erased their Serial ATA hard drive, or made their Nero or Alcohol software stop working, or made their CPU fans stop working, or made their CD burner stop burning.  But, these have all been rumors or second-hand reports from what I could tell, and I haven't found or been led to the first-hand reports.  If you can link us up to the first-hand reports where they are telling us what happened to their own equipment, what version of StarForce or game with StarForce did the damage, and what equipment or software they were using at the time, then that all would qualify and be useful information to have quoted here or to be linked to from here.

I guess, somebody or some bodies, could do a StarForce google search, read all the different information, and then link to or quote the first-hand experiences that they come across, where the person is saying, "This is what happened to me and this is the specific Make and Model of my equipment that was damaged by StarForce."  That's what we are after and qualifies to be added to the list.

#6 Lurker

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Posted 09 November 2005 - 12:02 AM

Quote

Just a note - Hellb0und mentioned somewhere else on these forums that going to the DVD player's homepage and downloading the firmware and doing something worked on his friend's machine: http://www.strategyc...pic=4399&st=20#

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Okay, I went and read the thread, and the name of the specific Brand and the Model number of the DVD player were not mentioned.  I don't doubt that it happened, but until I have the specific Brand and Model of the DVD burner that was damaged, it is still only second-hand information and not really useful to making this specific list.

However, this part does contains specifics that are useful to our list or start to qualify:

Quote

But my neighbour recently bought Splinter Cell 3: Chaos Theory (it uses Starforce version 3.4.71.19), installed it and played it for a few hours... all good... until the next reboot.
His DVD burner was F*****, and it was now only recording and reading CD's at really slow speeds, EVEN after a total HDD format and installing XP again (with my borrowed DVD-RW drive) his drive still didn't work properly.

Here we see that it was Splinter Cell 3 and StarForce Version 3.4.71.19 that did the damage.  We also get hints from subsequent parts of the message that the damage was not permanent and was fixable with firmware, but that the damage came back once StarForce was installed again.  Also, very useful information!  But, what Brand and Model of DVD player are we talking about here?

In fact, that's part of the problem here, that we are trying to document.  Some of the older versions of StarForce are still doing the damage.  Yes, Pkovak was using Aftershock and a recent version of StarForce, but there are also older versions of StarForce floating around out there that are still doing damage.

Anyway, it seems like a really good idea to stay away from the older games that had StarForce in them.  I'm planning on staying away from Splinter Cell 3 and Silent Hunter III, thanks to the recent information, but I'm still no closer to knowing if my specific DVD drives are safe or not, should I decide to install a 'modern' recently released game that has StarForce on it.

Now, go forth my minions and provide us with other useful first-hand information, so that this here list will be complete.   ;)

#7 Noob

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Posted 09 November 2005 - 02:59 AM

The firmware update did nothing for my drive as well. (XP,Sempron3000,1024RAM) Sorry, i don't know which version of Starfarce Silent Hunter uses.

#8 Pete

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Posted 09 November 2005 - 07:38 AM

Can we please stick to Starforce issues with Aftershock, as at least we know this uses the latest version of Starforce.
May your terror missions always be infested with Chrysalids.

#9 Lurker

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Posted 10 November 2005 - 12:43 AM

I thought about this too, last night.  We don't need to list every game that has StarForce in it.

Here are a couple of lists of Boycotted StarForce games:
http://www.glop.org/starforce/
http://www.fileforum...ead.php?t=70333
http://www.closecomb...ead.php?p=46530

There, done with that list.

(With some of these, you have to scroll down a bit to get to the lists.)

You can google "boycott starforce" for more links.

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DOCUMENTED STARFORCE BREAKDOWNS:

The purpose of this list is to create a list of hardware (and software) that are known to be vulnerable in a deleterious way to StarForce.  We want to know what specific damage StarForce does, so that people with similar hardware and software can beware of StarForce in the future.

Therefore, I do disagree with Pete's suggestion in one respect.  There are still older versions of StarForce floating around and they are still doing damage to current equipment.  So, when it comes to creating a list of current hardware that is vulnerable to StarForce damage, we will still have to take the older versions of StarForce into count.  That's how I see it -- in order to do the most good for the most people.

It is already interesting to note that there are a whole lot less first-hand experiences with StarForce damage than there are rants and rumors and second-hand experiences with StarForce damage -- not that the StarForce damage isn't deplorable.  But, I kind of expected that there wouldn't be too many reports of first-hand StarForce damage, or that these reports of StarForce damage would have to be researched and dug up and quoted and linked to.

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Here is a current link to a current StarForce problem with Aftershock, and last night Nagash even had a huge multi-page list of all the things that StarForce was printing out documenting the error, before Nagash's attached list got edited away.

http://forum.ufo-aft...?showtopic=1582

This time around, it wasn't damaged hardware, but a buggy StarForce that was slowing him down, and this time around, it looks as if the StarForce people were able to help Nagash solve the problem.  Alas, once again though, I don't know whether it was a hardware issue or a software conflict, but his hardware was experiencing extreme slowdown with the current version of Aftershock's StarForce.  Now, if we can just get Nagash to tell us what hardware he was using and how the problem was solved, then we will have something useful.

#10 Pete

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Posted 10 November 2005 - 07:41 AM

Whoah there Lurker - I just re-read one of your earlier posts here.

We're ONLY interested in Starforce problems with UFO Aftershock from the people who have the time to come here themselves and talk about their own experiences.

I'm still happy for you to link to posts where the person makes it quite obvious that it's a Starforce problem with this game, but I don't want any posts where they talk about a friend's experiences (not checked but I don;t think you have - just saying), or experiences with another game that we can't confirm the version of Starforce for.

Who knows, it might be a Starforce issue with just this game, so even another game with the same version number is of no use.

So, folks - just AS + the Starforce that ships with it please. It's the only version and bundle that would be of any interest to the developers ;)
May your terror missions always be infested with Chrysalids.

#11 Bad Boy

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Posted 17 November 2005 - 11:43 AM

It appears I may have a problem with Starforce and UFO:AS, the game installed and played fine until last night when on a Wargot mission an ugly bug reared it's head and the game crashed, now I cannot even start the game! The game starts the Starforce check then the computer just stops completely and restarts itself without even shutting down. I've changed nothing with drivers or settings so why suddenly is the game not working. I uninstalled the game and removed the Starforce drivers, reinstalled the game and let the game reinstall the Starforce drivers. Rebooted then tried to play the game again, it now completes the Protection check then switches resolution and then I get UFO.exe has experienced a problem and needs to close do i want to send an error report.

Any ideas, i've bought a game that did work, crashed and now doesnt work at all. This is ridiculous!!

#12 Kret

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Posted 17 November 2005 - 04:06 PM

Bad Boy, could you start a topic with your problem. You should only post a reply here if you've verified that StarForce is the culprit behind this and by the description you're giving it doesn't seem to be. Once the new topic is up I'll give you my 2 cents in regards on what could be happening to you.
There's always some dirt to dig out

#13 Tethran

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Posted 23 November 2005 - 06:15 PM

I'd like to say thanks to the ******s at StarForce. Thanks a lot for making it impossible for me to backup any disk using this PC. Any disk at all. However, if I went online to get a cracked version I could play that. But I can't backup any disk I've legally bought and I'm trying to make a legal backup of. Somehow I think that's more than a little messed up. The only thing that's changed between me being able to backup CDs and DVDs and it the programs not recognising the DVD drive is the installation of AS alongwith StarForce.

(On a side note other than the backup issues I don't have any issues with StarForce with an Asus-E616P 16x DVD drive, WinXP Home, Intel P4 2.4GHz CPU.)

#14 UfoMan

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Posted 20 January 2006 - 12:52 AM

There was a thread there over on Altar's forum in which they talked about how much better Aftershock ran without the StarForce, but the thread was deleted or censored away.  But in that thread, there were real world examples of how the game loaded 3 times faster without the StarForce and had ten times fewer CTD's without the StarForce.  The important thing to me was the fact that the hard drive light wasn't continuously on without the StarForce.  That's important from a stability and quality control point of view, a programmer's point of view.  I posted my response elsewhere, because I think those wayward souls had stumbled onto something important.

http://forum.ufo-aft...indpost&p=30660

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I'll quote my message here:


Any time you access the hard drive continuously or any time you use the hard drive as memory, you increase the number of random CTD's. Cenega probaby doesn't know how to properly incorporate the StarForce so that it isn't constantly thrashing the hard drive.

By this point in time, Altar and Cenega have garnered within the user community a huge reputation for crashes to desktop and unfixed bugs. The scuttlebutt in the background is buyer beware whenever you see anything from Altar.

Yet another sad thing about StarForce is that the Altar people and the Aftershock users are blaming some of the problems on StarForce when the fault is with Altar and the Aftershock program. And likewise, the StarForce makers are blaming many of their problems on their customers, the game publishers who are unwise enough to use StarForce.

Cenega still has a chance to get it right by giving us a US Release without the StarForce, but all indications are that Cenega and TriSynergy aren't listening and don't care. It looks like they aren't going to have the wisdom to try something different in terms of copy protection. If there is something I have missed, please tell us, and then we can all celebrate about a future version of Aftershock that is freed from the chains of StarForce.

Meanwhile, Altar never got all the bugs out of Aftermath, so many of us no longer have faith that Altar will ever get all the bugs out of Aftershock, and the whole subject is rather moot as long as Aftershock is being polluted by StarForce.

MindJuicer wrote: "Can I suggest Altar find a better publisher, or at least get a contract saying you get paid long enough to actually finish the game... "

Wiser words were never spoken.

Meanwhile, I would put in a suggestion that Altar get into writing that StarForce won't be used to pollute or destroy the upcoming UFO:Afterlight -- since according to so many of the StarForce messages floating around nobody knows how to incorporate StarForce properly anyway, aka StarForce people blaming publishers. All StarForce does is increase the frequency of crashes, and sometimes the crashes are fatal or permanent.


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In that forbidden censored thread over on Altar's forum, the thread that was deleted, those were real documented StarForce problems, problems that were present when StarForce was present and problems that went away when StarForce was not present.

You couldn't ask for a better example, a scientific proof if you will.  Pete was looking for scientific proof and real world Aftershock examples.  They were there in that thread for awhile.  They were real people talking about their own experiences with Aftershock, and that was something that Altar and Cenega should be made aware of.

Their implementation of StarForce in Aftershock is buggy and/or or not done right.  If Altar or Cenega got the message, that would help them in the long run, whether they get rid of the StarForce or not.

For awhile there, while the forbidden thread lasted, there were documented StarForce breakdowns being reported there.

#15 Slaughter

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Posted 20 January 2006 - 11:55 AM

That thread was based on using an illegal "patch" for the game, and thus it's no shock it was deleted. It's against the forum rules, and everyone knows that.

For those that doesn't like StarForce, there will be a version without it available soon.


#16 Cpl. Facehugger

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Posted 20 January 2006 - 11:37 PM

 Slaughter, on 20th January 2006, 11:55am, said:

That thread was based on using an illegal "patch" for the game, and thus it's no shock it was deleted. It's against the forum rules, and everyone knows that.

For those that doesn't like StarForce, there will be a version without it available soon.

I noticed that. What I'm wondering is if it means Altar is going the Valve/Steam route and thinking about distributing games through some online system. I hope not. Steamlike systems can work passably for a massive, industry-shaking name like Half-Life 2, but I don't see it working for a small developer making a niche game.
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#17 Slaughter

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Posted 21 January 2006 - 01:20 AM

No, I doubt that. They are probably just wishing to give the people that didn't buy the game because of StarForce, or can't get it in their country, a chance to buy it. They will release UFO: Afterlight with a publisher. Even Half-Life 2 was released on DVD as well...


#18 Mazdek

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Posted 04 April 2006 - 06:59 AM

So theoretically if someone installed the cracked Aftershock executable because they just recently got the game and had heard all these horror stories about damaged *hardware* from some wack malware being passed off as copy-protection by Russian banditos, and then they ran the Starforce removal tool just to be safe, the machine requests a reboot and falls into a cycle of resetting after trying to start windows... even when trying safe mode and after an in-place repair installation to the same Windows folder.

Where would such a person find help determining what causing the failure?  This theoretical incident can't be unique.

hi all!   :lovetammy:

#19 Azrael Strife

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Posted 04 April 2006 - 02:28 PM

Not sure what you mean, but I did ran a cracked Aftershock copy and starforce didn't run at all, I tried the removal tool a long time afterwards and it ran without trouble, didn't change anything anyway, but no problems there.
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#20 Avenger

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Posted 16 April 2006 - 04:34 PM

While my problem with Starforce came from installing Bet On Soldier, the problem is common to many SF protected titles, and the fix is designed to work with all their products, so I thought this would be the best place to put it for people to find.  I originally posted this on the AS Forum

I installed the game, correctly entered the CD Key, but when I tried to run the game SF came up with an error stating that the EXE file had been modified and had been corrupted or infected with a virus, please try reinstalling the software.  I re-installed only to get the same message.  I tried patching the game before running it and still no luck.  I looked on SF Forums and found several similar threads for other games (X3 Reunion, Virtual Skipper, and a few others).

The reason I am posting this here is because the problem is to do with SF verifying the disc, and the fix can be used on all SF protected products. The fix is from the SF forums, so isn't illegal or bypassing SF. I have tried it on BOS and found that it worked, so maybe someone here will find it useful. It is designed to fix the problem that after installing the game, and entering the CD Key the game fails to start claiming UFO.EXE has been modified and is corrupted or infected with a virus.


Quote

1) Backup game's EXE (one, about which you have the message about modified module, it is called "<old name of exe>" below) from the game's directory.
2) Copy UpdateModule.exe to game's directory (http://help.starforc...pdateModule.zip).
3) Run UpdateModule.exe with the following command line parameters:
UpdateModule <old name of exe> <new name of exe>
You can use windows command line for this: Start -> Run -> cmd
4) Delete <old name of exe> from the game's directory and rename <new name of exe> to <old name of exe>
5) Try running the game.

I'll run through that in plain English specifically for Aftershock.
1) Copy UFO.EXE to your desktop, so you have a backup in case everything goes wrong. Not sure why this step is necessary, since the original file doesn't work  

2) You will need to download UpdateModule.exe from the StarForce website - click this link http://help.starforc...pdateModule.zip Unzip the file and copy it into the UFO Aftershock main directory.

3) If you just run the UpdateModule.exe file a screen will flash up for half a second and disappear, but does nothing. You need to change the command line of it to make it work. Click Start ---> Accessories ---> Command Prompt
Type "cd\" then hit Enter (Don't type the "")
Type "cd Games\UFO Aftershock" then hit Enter (replace Games\UFO Aftershock with the location you installed AS onto your machine).
Type "UpdateModule UFO.exe UFONew.exe" then hit Enter
The Update module file will run, and should display a message that it has worked.

4) Looking in the UFO Aftershock directory you will now have UFO.EXE (the old file that SF claims is corrupted) and a file called UFONew.exe. Delete the old file, and rename the new file UFO.EXE.

5) Run the game as you would normally.

Hopefully that will fix the problem. The original source for this fix is here - it shows a picture of the Command Prompt if you need to check what you are doing is correct.




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