[Windows 7] Old games failing to run

  • Vivaldi Translator

    Since Microsoft added the Game Explorer system to Windows 7 it has been a problem for users with limited access to internet.
    Most affected users will have already disabled GameUX.dll and its registry options, but now Microsoft have killed the domain it used to talk to, the issue will show itself for people with a permanent connection.

    Symptoms you will see if it affects you:

    • Old games fail to open, but can be seen in the task manager.
    • A copy of Rundll32.exe is eating 50% or more CPU.
    • DNS Cache is busy and using lots of CPU.
    • Running a second copy of the game works

    If you look in your Start Menu, you should see a section "Games" and in there you should find a link to the Game Explorer.
    Any games you see listed here will have the problem, because Windows is using Rundll32.exe to launch the game but check for updates first.
    You cannot remove the games here, only hide them.
    Even if you set the options to "Never check online for updates or news" it will still block the game from running.

    To remove the games from the list you must remove them from the registry.

    Until now they would just come back unless you disabled the system by unregistering "gameux.dll"

    regsvr32 -u c:\windows\system32\gameux.dll
    regsvr32 -u c:\windows\SysWOW64\gameux.dll

    I have not seen anyone say to unregister another related DLL C:\Windows\system32\GameUXLegacyGDFs.dll
    Possibly it is used for compatibility settings, but I have no idea.

    The service was contacting a Microsoft domain for updates, specifically "https://games.metaservices.microsoft.com/games/SGamesWebService.asmx"
    Now this is gone, the games you remove from the registry should stay gone.
    However, to make sure it will fail properly if the service still tries to work, you can change the location it looks for to "localhost" or ""
    HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\GameUX\ServiceLocation
    Just changing the place it looks for the file should fix the problem, and so the unregistering of the GameUX system and removing the game references should now be optional.

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