I wonder if any of you met this irritating problem before but I hope what I found would be helpful in the future.
I’ve been using Blindwrite & Daemon Tools for sometime & everything was quite OK. I copied many game CD-Rom images into my harddisk & play them very conveniently. Among them are Battlefield 1942, Medieval Total War, Age of Wonders 2, …etc.
The day before yesterday, I upgraded my Blindwrite suite to v4.5 & then copied some CD-Rom Images like before. In the copying process I met a system crash but then continued. Then I left Blindwrite to keep creating an image and went to sleep. When I got up, I suddenly found “cannot locat CD-Rom” message everywhere!
I mean “everywhere”, since not only all my game CD-Rom Images with copy protections would not be recognized by my system anymore, even those original game Cd-Roms with minimum copy-protection would not pass the copy-protection check! (The only exception is the Uncommon Valor CD. I could still play though I never made its image work under Daemon tools before)
That meant I could not play Battlelfield 1942, Medieval Total War, Simcity 4, Civ 3 and almost all the recent games any more, whether or not they were or even could be imaged.(I tried but Simcity 4 & Civ 3 could not be imaged as play-ready)
Of course this was not acceptable. So I was desperately trying hard to locate the problem. I uninstalled the Daemon-tools, Blindwrite but it did not help. So I tried re-install Win98 SE from windows & from DOS (to the same windows directory, that will keep everything), still “cannot locat CD-Rom”! I started to doubt it’s something wrong with my LG GCE-8320B CDRW. Maybe I used it too intensively with Blindread that day? Or maybe Daemon-tools or CloneCD (I tried that too) rely on the real CDRW to cheat the copy-protection system check??
So I did a daring test by installing Win 98 SE into another directory. This way I had a new system while temporarily losing my old enviroment. I installed one game under this “clean” Win 98, it worked! That meant I didn’t have to worry about changing my CDRW and I did have a last resort (reinstall everything). However, that’s too much to me so I recovered my old Win 98 enviroment by installing Win 98 SE under DOS into my old Windows directory again and got back where I started.
I don’t have much knowledge about the Windows IO system & Environment. But I know that it MUST BE a malicious program which changed my Windows settings & refused to unload itself correctly. Even re-installing Win 98 cannot get rid of it. Maybe an auto-loading program? I used the Win 98 System Information/ System Configuration Utility but it seemed every auto-loading program was OK. So What’s wrong?
I never tried this semi-professional techinique before but yesterday I was so desperate that I finally used the useful Win 98 System Information program to check the “software enviroment” & the “running process”. Since most of those drivers/programs are from Microsoft, so I only focus on those no-Microsoft drivers & processes. What did I find? Important clues!—One process named “patin.cpl” & 2 vxds named “pcatip.vxd” & “pcouffin.vxd”, which all had the producer name as “vso”, the very Blindwrite suite producer!!
This meant that even after I uninstalled Blindwrite, checked all the related registry keys & “remove” Patin-Coffin read-write function from that Control Panel utility, Blindwrite still left some drivers in my windows system. It still left its Patin-Coffin utility in the Control Panel (the name patin.cpl (cpl:Control Panel) suggests). This could be THE COURSE.
So I deleted \windows\patin.cpl, \windows\iosubsys\pcatip.vxd &
windows\iosubsys\pcouffin.vxd and restarted windows… Miracle! All my games could run again! Thanks God, I finally find the course & solution, without re-installing my whole system.
In order to make myself 100% sure, I installed the Blindwrite suite 4.5 again. CD-Rom copy protection problem came back exactly as it was. I uninstalled Blindwrite 4.5, no use. Only after I MANUALLY deleted those remain files (this time no pcouffin.vxd left, & deleting patin.cpl alone would not help) could all my copy-protected CD-Roms be recognized as normal.
So here is the conclusion:
Either due to a bug in Blindwrite suite 4.5 Patin-Couffin feature (earlier versions never botherd me) , or due to some unlucky chain-reaction consequences in my Win 98 SE (Simplified Chinese)/Asus A7S333/LG GCE-8320B CDRW/Blindwrite/Daemon tools enviroment, the very program of Blindwrite DID cause my Win 98 SE IO system to incorrectly refusing almost all the game CD-Rom copy-protection verification. What’s more, this problem cannot be solved by just uninstalling Blindwrite suite! This makes this problem much harder to average users.
Since using Patin-couffin feature is the “recommnded” feature during Blindwrite installation, other users might just encounter the same problem and never know how to recover it. Some casual game players with only a few game CDs may never know that this problem is not just related to several games but almost all the copy-protected games would be prevented to play! Other users may treat this IO issue as something wrong with the copying of CD Images and just stop using CD images without even knowing that they will not use normal game CDs from then on!(The next time they cannot access a new Game CD, they will only suspect the CD quality, not a single suspection about blindwrite)
Patin-couffin feature in Blindwrite suite 4.5 might be REALLY malicious to some systems.
I cannot address more on how serious this Patin-couffin related problem would be if it’s indeed a bug (even only related to some speccific system). I hope vso could research & explain this soon. Also, I hope nobody would suffer what I have suffered & worried the last 2 days:)
Anyway, Blindwrite is still a decent software and I respect all its developers. This was not the first time I was bothered by some “aggressive” programs. Last time my internet conncetion was disabled by a secret “Ad-ware” and re-installing Win 98 also wouldn’t help. At last I found some tips from internet that my windows socket was changed and could not be recoverd in normal way. So next time there’s something weirdly wrong with our system, we’d better suspect those recently-installed softwares before a complete re-install:)
Tianshu Guo from Ottawa, Canada