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Sam & Max Season One, all episodes refuse to launch.

posted by weasel999 on - last edited - Viewed by 283 users
I've recently run into a strange problem with all Sam & Max Season One episodes. From time to time when I attempted to launch the games I would receive an error stating 'sammax10[#]_drm.exe has stopped working' at which point Windows prompted me to end task. Just ending task and relaunching the game would be enough and the problem would resolve itself.

While earlier in the day I had no problems, now none of the six episodes will work, all give the same error as above. I changed absolutely nothing, system wise, with my computer and there is no indication as to what is causing the problem. I've tried uninstalling and re-downloading some episodes, I've restarted my computer, I've restarted Steam, I've tried running the .exe's in different compatibility modes; nothing has worked.

Strangely enough, all my season two episodes work just fine (for the time being anyway). I have no other problems with any other software, either.

I purchased both seasons from Steam, am currently running Windows Vista with SP1, both Vista and my video card (GeForce 8800GT) support DirectX 10, but I'm pretty sure the games are using 9.0c. As I said, I have made no changes to any drivers prior to or during this problem. I do not have Daemon Tools or Alcohol installed.

Any help in this matter would be greatly appreciated.
3 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
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    How are you launching the games? Is it directly in the Games tab via the Steam application, shortcuts the Steam app created in the start menu, or directly launching the SamMax10#.exe itself? None of these ways are wrong, I just want to get a better idea of the situation.

    The Steam version of Season One hasn't been updated to my knowledge, so it's curious that things are working strange all of the sudden. I'm going to go over a few different things to try so you're not waiting for a reply back if each thing doesn't work. Tell me exactly which things you tried and if there was any difference.

    * Running UAC? Turn it off and see if that works.

    Season One was very much not meant to run with UAC turned on. If you can switch it off and it runs, then that's it.

    * Update DirectX

    I know it sounds weird, but even if you have DirectX10 with Vista, it's out of date from release for DirectX 9.0c and 10. If you could run the DirectX updater, it might clear up things. DirectX is weird like that.

    * Temporarily disable any security software

    If you could temporally disable/shut down any security software running, that could narrow things down. In your reply, tell me the name and versions of security software you're running.
  • Thanks for the reply. Since redownloading the games and trying your suggestions I've had some interesting results. I had tried running the games using both the icons in the 'Games' tab in Steam and by running them directly from the game's executable.

    For starters, even after uninstalling the games, manually deleting the remaining folders, then reinstalling the game, it would still try running in compatibility mode. After switching off compatibility mode and turning off UAC the games would actually launch again; most of the time, anyway. I would still get the odd 'sammax10#_drm.exe has stopped working' error, but they were fairly infrequent.

    Running the DirectX updater didn't seem to change anything. It confirmed I was using the most current drivers from March 2009.

    Temporarily disabling my anti-virus software looked like it had some effect at first, but I suspect it was just a fluke. While disabled I attempted to run a couple of the episodes (about three or four times) and I didn't receive any errors but even after turning the anti-virus software back on I could run the games fine. Eventually though I would attempt to launch one of the games, get an error, close the game, try again and the problem would be gone once more. There doesn't seem to be any pattern to the problem.

    Presently I am using Norton AntiVirus, version which updates its definitions every few minutes. I have never received a security alert regarding any Sam & Max game, nor is there any entry under the security history log.

    At any rate, disabling UAC seems to have done the trick. I have no idea why the problem slowly got worse before all Season One episodes stopped working. I also don't know why I still receive the 'sammax10#_drm.exe has stopped working' error from time to time.

    If there's any other information you would like, I'll do my best to provide it for you.
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    The reason for the failure at UAC is where the saves and preferences are written (referred to as 'user data' for this reply).

    With Season One, user data is saved at the same folder with executable. When you're running as admin in XP, this is fine. But as soon as there are restrictions placed on writing on that folder, problems start. With Vista, and especially with UAC turned on, admin accounts still don't have write access to this section, so things go funny.

    Since Season Two (and all titles after), user data is placed in the My Documents folder, where ever that is on your Windows box. This way we can keep the writes to a place that allows the user to write.

    How this got so inconsistant for you is a bit of a mystery. It may be due to the 'shaddow' file system Vista has which writes files meant to be written in the Program Files folder use "junction points" to keep compatablity, with limited success.

    Sorry this ran weirdly for you, but at least we got the problem solved!
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