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Oh, you didn't need that boot loader, did you? #

It's been years since the outcry over TurboTax writing to the boot track forced them to drop DRM altogether. Inexplicably, AutoCAD continues to use this dangerous copy protection scheme (Macrovision FLEXnet or SafeCast or whatever it's called), writing to sector 32 of the boot track. As ExtremeTech pointed out long ago:
Unfortunately, these "reserved" sectors of the hard drive aren't necessarily a safe place for data. And they're an especially dicey place to keep licensing information ... Data compression utilities, "multiboot" utilities, password protection and encryption software, and sector translation software (which allows older computer systems to accept today's huge hard drives) may also reside in this area.
According to reports, Macrovision DRM has exposed customers to malware attacks, caused TrueCrypt volumes to become unbootable, and destroyed non-Windows partitions. To top it all off, SafeCast is apparently easily circumvented by the "bad guys" anyway.

Autodesk, a humble request: please refrain from making potentially dangerous, low-level changes to your customers' hard drives. It really ruined an otherwise perfectly good week for a friend of mine.

/windows | Apr 24, 2010

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