Important Info - Running Vanilla or Warlords on Windows from dvd


Fear him of the pink tie
GOTM Staff
Dec 23, 2005
London, UK
Attention everyone! A recent security patch on Windows 7 means that you may find Civ4 vanilla and Warlords no longer start.

The security patch comes with a recent batch of Windows updates, and it disables the service that verifies your dvd is genuine. Apparently security issues have been discovered with the service. The issue doesn't affect BtS (because BtS doesn't try to verify the dvd), and it won't affect you if you're using Steam (because - obviously - no dvd!).

If you want to know the gory technical details:

Discussion on civfanatics here
Details of the workaround here (Microsoft knowledge base article),
and here ( article).

(Thanks to High King J.J. for tracking down those links).

If you just want a quick fix:

To fix the issue, you'll need to temporarily re-enable the service just before you start civ.

1. Start the command prompt as an administrator. To do this, click the Windows button and type cmd in the textbox at the bottom. Then - this is important - hit CTRL + SHIFT + ENTER. (Don't just hit Enter, as that won't run as an administrator). You'll see the command prompt window - a black window that let's you type in commands.

2. In this window type in the following two commands - on each one hit enter, and then wait for the command to complete (a few seconds).
sc config secdrv start= demand
sc start secdrv
You'll now be able to start Civ. Note the spaces are important in these commands.

3. Once civ has started, you really ought to stop the service (because it has a security vulnerability - although it won't stop civ working if you don't do this). To do this, in the same window type
sc stop secdrv

Unfortunately you'll need to do this every time you start civ (if you don't bother stopping the service, you won't need to do it again until you reboot your computer).

As an alternative to step 2, if you want an easy life, you can type in
sc config secdrv start= auto
sc start secdrv
This should set the service back to how it was before the security patch - always running so you'll always be able to start Civ in the future without going through this annoying procedure (until MS disable it again, which I wouldn't be surprised if they do). However, this isn't recommended due to the service having a security vulnerability.
I can confirm:

The quick fix above also works on Win 8, which got the same annoying update (even if you did not downgrade to Win10):rolleyes:
I also get this problem on Windows 10 running Civ4. I can't be bothered messing with the fix every time I play. I am thinking of buying the Steam version for £15 even though I already paid for numerous copies over the years. Is there a downside to using Steam ? I never used it before.

By the way, thanks to you CivFanatics guys for the explanation. I never would have figured out why it suddenly don't run after all these years.
The main downside to Steam is that it can be fiddly to get the HOF mod working with it. Some people have done it without any problems, but others have encountered issues that are hard to track down. But if you do get it working with the HOF mod, then I believe it shouldn't be any different from the dvd version to use.

Before you pay £15 for the Steam version, I should mention that, because of these issues with Vanilla and Warlords, the GOTM staff are discussing the possibility of running more BtS games and fewer Vanilla/Warlords games in the future.

By the way, the fix in this thread is for Windows 7 and Windows 8. I don't have Windows 10, but I understand from people who do that this fix won't work on Windows 10 (There is a way to fix it on Windows 10, but it's more complicated).
Just wanted to drop a note and say thanks to the OP

I'm running windows 8.1 and the fix above worked sweetly

The only other thing I had to do was run in compatibility mode as a previous Windows version (XP patch 3). Windows 8 now remembers that setting each time I load the game.

I have also saved the game to a stand-alone folder - as opposed to within Program files

Thought this might help anyone else who tries the fix above and doesn't get it to work

FWIW - I'm running an old vanilla disc I bought well over a decade ago which I love to give a run every now and then to remember uni days!! (and high school playing civ 1)
Top Bottom