Intel Offers Workaround for DRM Issues Affecting Certain Games and CPUs

scroll lock
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Intel has offered a workaround for games affected by DRM issues when played on Windows 11 and Windows 10 systems featuring Alder Lake processors.

The company listed 22 titles affected by this problem on Windows 11; devices running Windows 10 will have issues with an additional 29 games. (One game, Maneater, was listed twice.) Both lists included entries in popular franchises such as FIFA 20, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 and 2, and Madden 22, along with others.

Intel described the issue affecting these games in another support document. It said:

"Certain third-party gaming Digital Rights Management (DRM) software may incorrectly recognize 12th Generation Intel® Core™ Processors efficient-cores (E-cores) as another system. This prevents games implementing that DRM software from running successfully. Games may crash during launch or gameplay, or unexpectedly shut down."

The company said it expects 11 of the games affected on Windows 11 to be patched in mid-November and is "working with developers to resolve issues with the rest of the games listed." In the meantime, it published a mitigation strategy that Alder Lake users can implement to play the games, which it's dubbed the Scroll Lock workaround.

This workaround puts the Alder Lake processor's efficiency cores on standby to prevent them from causing problems in the affected titles. Here's how to use it:

  1. Power-up system and enter system BIOS setup.
  2. Enable switch Legacy Game Compatibility Mode to ON (one-time only) in BIOS.
  3. Save BIOS setup changes and exit.
  4. Boot to OS.
  5. Toggle Keyboard Scroll Lock key ON.
  6. Launch affected game title.
  7. Toggle Keyboard Scroll Lock key OFF after ending game title

Intel said that "a software fix has been identified by the vendor of the affected DRM software and is being rolled out." The company didn't identify the vendor in question, but in a blog post, Denuvo publisher Irdeto confirmed that its anti-piracy software is the one experiencing problems with Alder Lake's efficiency cores.

"Denuvo already contacted each publisher of the affected game titles and provided patches for those titles to be compatible with Alder Lake ahead of its release," Irdeto said. "We are confident that publishers of the few affected titles are working on releasing updates that address this incompatibility as soon as possible."

Nathaniel Mott
Freelance News & Features Writer

Nathaniel Mott is a freelance news and features writer for Tom's Hardware US, covering breaking news, security, and the silliest aspects of the tech industry.