Daemon Tools v4 doesn't work! (Or does it?)

As almost every Daemon Tools user will have noticed by now, images of games protected with the latest versions of SafeDisc (v4.6), SecuROM (v7+) and StarForce (v3.5+) will not work with Daemon Tools v4 in most cases.

Even if you are using a perfect image, one that cannot be distinguished from an original CD when it's mounted, you will probably still get an error like "Please insert the correct CD-ROM" or "Please insert the CD-ROM into another drive". But we (the Daemon Tools team) claimed to have fixed all blacklists with Daemon Tools v4? So what's going on?

The explanation

Well, no blacklist will recognize DTv4 anymore. And they probably won't for quite some time because DTv4 includes some really hard to break anti-blacklist measures. But the developers of StarForce (and subsequently SecuROM and SafeDisc) decided to blacklist all SCSI drives, at least if any optical IDE drives (that is CD & DVD drives) are found in the system.

DTv4, like every other existing virtual drive, is SCSI-based. And as most people have optical IDE drives in their computers, Daemon Tools' virtual drives won't work anymore although they're not even recognized as such. By the way, those games won't run from SCSI CD-ROM drives either!

So we did exactly as we claimed, we fixed all blacklists, and we support all existing copy protections, but still it won't work because of that SCSI blacklist.

So what can you do to fix this?

Until very recently all these SCSI blacklists could be fooled by hiding the optical IDE drives with tools like StarForce Nightmare. And there are other tools like SafeDisc 4 hider or SR7 burner loader that will let you run games with some of those protections, too. (This is not true for Windows XP x64, so far there are no such tools that run on that operating system.)

But ultimately, those tools are temporary fixes, and I wouldn't count on them working for too long, after all, StarForce 3.5+ has already defeated those. And once that has happened, all you can do is switch off your computer and unplug your optical IDE drives. That way the requirement for SCSI blacklists - the presence of optical IDE drives - is not met anymore.

The future

The next main update to the customer version of DTv4 will be a virtual IDE drive. Protected against blacklisting with all the measures that are used on the SCSI version of DTv4, but immune to SCSI blacklists, it will once and for all make unplugging your drives a thing of the past.

Furthermore, there will be a Daemon Tools IDE jammer for the free (SCSI) version of Daemon Tools that hides the optical IDE drives. It will basically do what StarForce Nightmare does, but with the anti-blacklisting features that are used on Daemon Tools.

A special note for nForce 3/4 users

The IDE controller that is used on nForce 3/4-based motherboards cannot be directly addressed by today's copy protections; as a result, SCSI blacklists don't work on those systems. If you are fortunate enough to have an nForce 3/4-based system, you should be able to run all the latest SafeDisc-, SecuROM- and StarForce-protected games with your IDE CD/DVD drives plugged in and working. Edit: This doesn't always seem to work, and sometimes it works only with some copy protections.