No-CD Patches and How to Use Them in Gaming

No-CD patches are an unsanctioned convenience for gamers

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No-CD (or no-DVD) patches allow you to play a game without inserting the game CD or DVD in the drive. Reasons for using no-CD patches vary, but most gamers want to use the patch in order to avoid constantly switching or searching for CDs. However, the patches are also used with pirated copies of games, making some people wary of sharing or downloading the patches.​

Game publishers and developers do not support the use of no-CD patches. Your game may not work correctly with one.

How No-CD Patches Work

When games are launched, they usually look to make sure the corresponding CD is in the drive. Usually, files on the CD aren't being accessed to play the game, but the CD verifies you have a legally obtained copy of the game. No-CD patches remove the requirement to insert the CD to play the game.

To make a patch, the developer alters the .exe file of the game, which is why game publishers don't support their use. If you use a no-CD patch and your game no longer works properly, you won't get any sympathy from the game developer. When you download a no-CD patch, you receive a zipped file that includes a .exe file and text instructions to apply the patch.

Uses for No-CD Patches

There are legitimate reasons to use a no-CD patch, even though its use is at your own risk.

  • Prevent wear and tear on your game CDs that occurs when you repeatedly pull them out of their protective sleeves and insert them into a drive.
  • The patch provides the convenience of sitting down and immediately playing your game. You don't have to stop and look for CDs before you can play.

Where to Find No-CD Patches

No-CD patches can be found on general gaming sites with downloads and fan sites for specific games. The easiest way to find a no-CD patch is to check a gaming site with a collection of no-CD patches. If a patch can't be found there, your next bet is to go to a search engine and do a search for a no-CD patch and the title of the game.

The legality of using a patch is questionable. To be safe, only download a patch for a game you own. If you use a patch and update your game, you'll likely break the patch and have to download another. In the worst case, a patch may render your game unplayable.