Fallout 3 uses SecuRom ONLY for disc check


For Fallout 3’s copy protection on PC, we use the same security model as we did for Oblivion – a simple disc check. We only use SecuRom’s disc check functionality for copy protection. We do NOT limit the number of installs. We do NOT use online authentication or any other SecuROM functionality except for a disc check when you install the game and when you launch the game. We do not install any other programs and we don’t have anything that runs in the background while you’re playing the game.

If you experience issues installing the game, try running setup.exe directly off the disc. That will resolve most compatibility issues.

Get the latest information from our tech support forums, including this specific thread related to SecuROM.

Reader Comments

  1. Besthesda really needs to create clear labeling on the back of their packaging. In fact the gaming industry needs to come clean and display if the product comes with a limited activations or the dreaded rootkit or does not.

    I fully support Besthesda and are looking forward to buying the game next week. Others should take a more pragmatic approach to this victory. You really do own this product, unlike EA’s rentalware poison.

  2. I do not like SecuROM so let me be clear on that. The references of it being similar to Starforce hit the nail on the head.

    However, I bought my copy via Direct2Drive, and I don’t have any disc check to worry about. I did have to activate my copy, and I’m not even sure what program did that or if it was via D2D itself, but since activating it I have had zero issues with disc checks since I have no disc to check.

    If you’re that worried about DRM and disc checks, then buy a copy via digital purchase. For some games I understand even that goes too far because stuff like Spore and Dead Space limit the number of installs to 3 separate systems, but for most games you avoid the disc check because as I said, there is no disc to check.

    Bethesda really took a softer approach than most companies do these days when it comes to new games. I’m not saying what they did was right, but somehow they and other companies are convinced they need to spend money on programs like SecuROM, which ultimately does nothing but promote more pirating.

    This game had 3,000 leechers on one site and over 12,000 leechers on another site torrenting it. That makes me very sad, because I believe Bethesda does NOT do it just for the money. But how do you stop a pirate?

    You can’t yet.

    Props to them >trying< to do the right thing by limiting it to a disc check. On the same note, they should know better with SecuROM and know it messes with people’s systems.

    Eventually companies will realize the best for of anti-piracy is as has been mentioned already; using the manual or adding a spin wheel or somesuch that isn’t so easily recreated (alright the manual is, but the wheel from Monkey Island 2 isn’t) — anyway good luck for those of you experiencing issues with this, and for those of you choosing not to buy the game because of it, I can respect your decision but you’re missing out on a helluva good game.

  3. I might be “missing out on a helluva good game.”, but more likely I’m missing out on more of the same problems I’ve had with SecuROM in the past. It hides on the hard drive and updates itself when Sony puts out a new version. SecuROM is NOT about priacy but about secondary sales as the game company does not recive any moneys for them. To say that this is not like EA is miss-informed. SecurROM is only one program and only the opptions enabled are different. It still loads unwanted on the hard drive and takes upon itself supper admin rights to control the use of the computer not the game software. The emulation error is a self protection action and not a game protection one. Sony does not care if the game is copied or not, but they do not want their software messed with.

  4. A “simple disc check” that actively tries to prevent you from using perfectly legitimate and legal programs on your own personal computer is DRM. Period.

  5. “that actively tries to prevent you from using perfectly legitimate and legal programs on your own personal computer”

    Sense when? I have installed tons of games with DRM and never once had a single problem on my computer with the DRM. I hear people complaining, but nothing anyone has ever said has happened to me.

  6. Which of course means the problem doesn’t exist right? So many people on here telling others to quit whining because since a problem didn’t affect THEM, it must not exist at all. If I may offer a suggestion to those people: Take your head out of wherever it is stuffed and grow up. SecuROM DOES often prevent you from using the game you bought if you have any other number of legitimate burning applications installed. It actually didn’t in my case (I have Daemon Tools installed on this PC for testing images I create of utility CDs that my business uses) but in my friend’s case, it did. As it did in the case of many others. So the problem didn’t affect me but I’m not arrogant enough to claim that it doesn’t exist and those claiming to be inconvenienced by it are pirates.

  7. Howdy.

    First of all, looking at trailers the game looks awesome. But when playing it, trying to exit the vault and constantly getting crashed there, it looks unfinished. Is it too much to expect that a game based on single player is running decently? Ive tried all different resolutions, it doesnt change anything.

    And when installing and playing game i was never asked to use my code, which i found strange.


  8. I don’t think the issue is what Bethesda uses SecureROM for… it’s the rootkit-like behavior of the product that allows OTHER people to use it for nefarious purposes.

    The problem is installing it on your users computers in the first place, not what you may or may not use it for.

    Not that it matters to me personally, I’ve got the Xbox 360 version.

  9. Anonymous you are one lucky person (or working for the game companies and Sony). I bought DVD burnes because I got them for less. I installed two because I play many games and that cuts down on disk changes. SecuROM has been a really big problem for me in the past (burnt two times). Seems that because I’ve installed two DVD burners, I’m automaticly engaged in making copies of software even though I do not have any coping software but Windows. SecuROM started to cause trouble with disk loading times (two to five min.s for everything). Then it started to shut down my computer any time I tried to rum any program with error message that I had dangerous progarms loaded and SecuROM had to close Windows to protect itself from reverse engenering I migth be engaging in.

  10. Okay, so you’ve solved the installation issue.

    WHAT are you going to do about the constant crashes that hundreds of PC users are experiencing, including me? Look at the forums in the PC issues!!! If Bethesda doesn’t make a patch soon they should AT LEAST announce that they are addressing the problem. This game looks amazing, but a lot of us can’t play for more than 5 minutes without crashing for no apparent reason.

    God help us. ='(

  11. This is a shoutout to all the wannabe witty anonymous tools on this article. Go fug yourself. We don’t care who you are, or what you’re saying. The game rocks and if it checks for discs, I don’t care.

  12. Thank you very much for making this clear. All I really care about is keeping SecuROM from being installed on my computer, and the knowledge that this won’t happen has assuaged my concerns. You guys are getting a lot of anger directed at you, and maybe not without good reason, but at least for my part you are still on the good side. I just wanted to see to it you knew I acknowledged this.

  13. ^Ditto. I have several burning programs installed and not one or two but three DVD burners the oldest of which is 3 years old. They all have an up to date bios. If you have a disk drive that is two or more years ol and re-flash your drives people. Oh and it helps a lot I’m sure if your DVD burning software is valid, registered and up to date.

  14. For everyone that says “it’s not a problem”…

    I find it difficult to believe that you never play more than one game at a time, or that you actually enjoy swapping disks around. It’s an inconvenience, and therefore it’s a problem, regardless of whether you run into technical problems or not.

    I just hope the disk-check on this is as lenient as the one on Oblivion, and let me run the disk from a Daemon Tools disk image. (Which, of course, points out the uselessness of the whole system…)

  15. Yay, Bethesda did moral piracy prevention, not the immoral stuff EA’s pulling lately. Well, that was the last thing stopping me from going down to EB and picking up a copy! Huzzah!

  16. I’m sorry; but if you use SecureROM…then you are deploying a rootkit which installs itself into the layer of the operating system which has full kernel access priveleges. SecureROM hides processes from the user because it does not run at a high-level process. It runs with full kernel access-priveleges to perform interrupts at a low-level on the CD-ROM drives when a game flagged with it; is executed.

    It cannot be removed either; not without formatting your PC. It exists despite its related folder being present and mysteriously empty of files. This is fundamentally bad and takes away our rightful control over our computers.

  17. I cannot express how disappointed I am in you, Bethesda, for ignoring the disappointment people have voiced over SecuROM in the past. I really wanted to buy Fallout 3 as soon as it gets out, but since it seems that you’re just the same as other studios (i.e. not taking consumers seriously) out there, I’ll just spend my money on non-DRM-infested games instead.

    This is mainly because I’m disgusted by the fact that even the fraction of a cent of the money I paid for a game would go to people who have made a business out of messing with people’s computers and game enjoyment and, most important, turning customer property into rentals.

    I really hope that, one day, game companies will realize that they’re actually supporting an endless, SecuROM-driven circle of customer harassment and that the money they’re giving away is really just driving legitimate customers and fans into piracy.

  18. Please make sure to post when you have a “securerom free” cd/dvd of the game for purchase. I loved the previous two games, and look forward to playing it again.

  19. I am one of the people that WAS affecte by the securom bethesda includes with fallou 3. securom doesnt let cretain dvd drives even read the dvd, even though its in the drive. if i didnt have an old drive laying around, i would be down 50 bucks, stuck with a game I COULDNT INSTALL! not a problem? please..

  20. I bought Fallout 3 after reading the official Bethesda stance on DRM. I don’t like any copy-protection mechanisms whatsoever, but the media-check I can at least live with.

    (Main reason I dislike any and all copy-protection mechanisms on single-player games is that they are by definition broken, per definition. Rest assured that those among you who believe it can work are not well-versed enough in mathematics and cryptography. You should learn more after which you might begin to understand the finer issues here.)


    The very first thing that happened upon launching the installer was it telling me that I have to reboot my PC since I was running (or had ever run since last reboot) the FileMon utility from SysInternals. Now also available directly from Microsoft via http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb896642.aspx

    I loathe having to reboot my computer in an unplanned manner. I loathe having to reboot my computer due to some moronic attempt at copy-protection, especially when it happens with a game where the publisher has explicitly stated that it only does a simple media-check.

    It is a provably false statement. It is a lie.

    SecuROM does NOT only do a simple media-check. It performs all sorts of checks on running programs as well as programs that have ever been executed since last reboot.

    At least the SecuROM configuration used for Fallout 3 is not of the phoning-home kind which forced me to not buy Mass Effect for the PC earlier this year.

    Saying that is only does a media-check is still a lie.

    Maybe you shouldn’t be lying to your customers, Bethesda?

    Personally, I take offense at being lied to.

  21. re: haha

    yes i will concede that hasp keys are not ‘impossible’ to crack,but they are extremely difficult to crack,especially when the keys can be remotely updated,or deactivated, or patched through game updates to plug any holes people find.

    “no human being can figure out how they work?!?..I guess you know what debuggers and virtual machines are for? ”

    yes i do know what debuggers and hex editors are,in fact so does Aladdin and they have countermeasures for it. the point of drm is to make it as difficult as possible to pirate so people won’t bother trying.

  22. I’m running virtual drives of Alcohol 52%, Magic Disk and PowerIso and I had no problem installing Fallout 3. All three apps stil work and I can still load disk images.

    I have a serious feeling alot of folks are misinformed or misinforming.

    If one refuses to install just because the name Securom is attached, then one cannot enter in a discussion with those people because their mind is already made up.

    I was getting worried for nothing. Everything including Fallout 3 and the virtual drives work perfect. I didn’t even have to download the fix from the securom site. It all worked out-of-box.

    I do agree with complaints about for instance Far Cry 2 where only a limited number of installs or re-installs are allowed. But that is a different issue.

  23. What’s wrong with the world?

    Fallout 3 is a masterpiece, it deserves Game of the Year, and the team have took HUGE steps in making sure DRM and other junk isn’t installed along with the game!

    It goes to show that if you make a masterpiece people WILL buy it, they aren’t simply buying the game because crappy DRM forces them to.

    I had a choice, buy the game for PS3 or download a warez copy from the ‘net, and I went for the PS3 even though the warez copy was there.

    I think a lot of the comments on this page are from under 20’s or school kids with very little money, too much time and a lot of complaints with life. You see it everywhere, regarding every game.

    Be grateful this isn’t EA releasing these fantastic games, otherwise we’d all be sucking up in-game advertisements, subscriptions and DRM.

  24. I downloaded this game, but now when I have played it I will definitly buy it! I’m in love with this game, but the eyes of chars are dead, the movement in third person is really sucky e.t.c. but I guess you allready know this.

  25. Why didn’t anyone sue companies like SecuRom yet. It’s rootkit/trojan like behaviour should make it a fairly strong case…

  26. Bethesda, you missed the point completely!

    The problem isn’t that you use a disc check for DRM (thats a whole other issue), its that you use SecuROM to do it. Ditch SecuROM and use something else, instead of this trojan.

  27. Anyone else notice that about the only thing SecuROM accomplishes is enraging people who bought legit copies of the game(like myself)? I think the average time it takes to crack a SecuROM update is like 2 hours or something? Thanks Beth for no install limit BS and other draconian measures, but in the future, ditch SecuROM all together.

  28. I find it amusing that in the same thread, Bethesda manages to repeat the blatant lie that Fallout 3 only uses a “simple disc check” and reveal that it is *MORE* than a “simple disc check” by telling users to stop using perfectly legitimate programs to get around the problems SecuROM causes.

  29. I haven’t got my CE of Fallout yet but I am checking the Securom issues first because of the serious Securom issue I had with FarCry 2. Random restarts programs not launching because Securom won’t let them (and I don’t mean daemon tools and the like but 3d content creation tools and software for my work) and other random instabilities. Not to mention it seems my computer security is now compromised. One of the main fears of what rootkits can do.

    I am not at all against companies trying to protect their work but the protection needs to be functional or at least not damaging to your computer and the other legitimate software on it.

    As uninstalling Securom via a very conveluted methode hasn’t resolved all my new stability issues it looks like I will be reinstalling the OS after a clean wide of the HD. 8(

  30. Personally, I am not to happy about you guys using SecuROM.
    I have no problem with a disk check, but why oh why use SecuROM to do it? I normally don’t buy games with it as it is a royal pain in the butt for me to completly remove.
    I have to say thanks however, for not limiting installs and such. I may not be happy about it, but it could be a LOT worse.

  31. Hey! Just a shout out to Bethesda for making an awesome game without all the bullshit CD protection like Red Alert 3 and BF2142. Thanks guys =)

  32. The game is great and thank you very much for it, but I will say your use SecuROM has annoyed me greatly. Initially all was fine but after uninstalling and installing a few other games that have nothing to do with Fallout 3 I now get a message saying my copy of the game is a back up and that I need to insert an official disc! I’ve had to go and download a cloaking program to get my legitimately purchased game to work which is unacceptable.

  33. @Jada Bloom: at least, you have solved your problem. What about me I can’t even read the disk? The truth I have not worry about a cd check, because on my disk I don’t arrive at a cd check. My drive doesn’t read securom protected disks at all.

    So, what’s the point? SECUROM is bad. Their support is bad. I ask how to read a disk and they aswer “run the analysis tool after you have installed the game”… How I’m supposed to install the game if I can’t read the disk at all?

  34. I keep getting a error message saying fallout 3 has stoped working after about 5 minutes of play I never had this problem with oblivion and i was just wondering if anyone knows a fix I cant find any

  35. I appreciate that no programs bury themselves somewhere in the registry, that it doesn’t do some sort of online handshake etc. I gladly bought your game it is awesome.

  36. I installed this game and ran into problems on launching it. I was mystified until a bit of reading showed it doesn’t like Nero. Nero, a decentish piece of software I use frequently, for legal purposes, that wasn’t even running at the time. The securom website advised uninstalling ‘unnecessary’ software. What arrogance!

    Fortunately the 1.4 patch cured it. I hope some lessons have been learned. Bioshock nearly put me off PC gaming for life, and though it doesn’t use the detestable activation process, for while there I thought Fallout 3 had finished the job. It *really* shouldn’t be like this!

  37. OK, I started playing and found myself completely drawn in. 8 hours out of 11, unplanned! It’s a looong time since that happened. Deus Ex perhaps? Congrats on absolutely excellent game design and execution.

    It makes the installation problems feel especially poignant. I don’t want to stop being a PC gamer. Please don’t force reasonable people out.

  38. PS your comment system seems a little funky. What turns out to be a successful submission generates an error, while a second attempt gets a ‘you said that already’ message. Hmm.

  39. Such a buggy game – and it destroyed my x800gto!! dont use with that card, FA3 will melt it, even on the min of all settings. Not suprising the game was leaked, probably by a dev unsatisfied with being forced to send it out in this glitchy state =/

  40. The copy protection is making me crazy, I have a legitimate copy of the game and have been playing for a week, now it simply will not accept the original disk at a good copy this is insane. I could have just downloaded a cracked copy and had a better game experience is this your goal? Forse people to not pay for your product, I buy PC games not because I have to but because I want to support the creation of PC games, and the people who make them. This disk protection is over the top.


  41. So painful! Gf bought xbox 360 version, I don’t have an xbox. Swapped an paid +AU$20 for pc version – disc cannot be read in my HP dvd drive – just sits there spinning. Took an image using the laptop, installed from that… no dice. Thanks for spoiling a thoughtful birthday present Securerom – I’m sure I’ll eventually find a way of making it work, but this has left a very nasty memory for someone returning to gaming for the first time in years