Secure Boot in Valorant: A Step-by-Step Guide for Enabling Enhanced Security

In the world of online gaming, security is paramount. One of the key features that ensures a secure gaming experience is Secure Boot. But what exactly is Secure Boot and why is it important in a popular game like Valorant? In this article, we will explore the ins and outs of Secure Boot, how to check if it’s enabled on your system, and how to enable it on both Windows 10 and older versions. We will delve into common issues with Secure Boot in Valorant and provide solutions to troubleshoot them. Stay tuned to discover alternatives to Secure Boot and ensure a seamless gaming experience.

What Is Secure Boot?

Secure Boot is an UEFI firmware feature that controls what software is allowed to run at the boot level of a computer. Secure Boot is designed to make sure that any malware is detected and prevented during the boot process, as boot security is one of the most fundamental requirements to keep a system running properly.

Secure Boot uses UEFI firmware and public key infrastructure cryptography to ensure that all firmware and firmware modifications are digitally signed. Running signed operating system loaders or kernels will prevent any unsigned code, malware, or rootkits from executing during the boot process.

Secure boot was first introduced by Microsoft in their Windows operating system; but later versions are now found being used in many modern versions of Android, Linux OSs, iOS (liberty hardware and beyond), and macOS. Secure Boot can be enabled, disabled, and configured from the BIOS/UEFI setup page on most Windows systems.

Why Is Secure Boot Important in Valorant?

Secure Boot is important in Valorant to prevent dozens of popular cheats that require turning off Secure Boot from affecting gameplay. Examples of such cheats include:

  1. here, where user rx reveals the cheat software on his desktop called Aimtux
  2. User zalt here, who has the cheat source-code for ZeroThree displayed on his computer, resulting in easy malicious distribution by anyone hacking into either his computer or an adversary’s trying to borrow cheats.
  3. These are four community-collected showcases of cheats in Valorant. While it is tough to pinpoint, the most statistical or compelling of these arguments is likely the user xmlly in the first video who appears on a ban wave day, warning his chat-pals by revealing the cheat software on his desktop.

Secure Boot in Valorant is a means of prevention against altering the software running on the PC that Riot Game developers had been investigating since they first noticed challenging issues during beta in early 2020. From May to August 2021 it was one of the automatic detection and system file alteration checks that was performed as Valorant’s Vanguard anti-cheat system was implemented. Secure Boot was pivotal in Valorant’s ability to prevent itself from taking off due to the software manipulation of cheats. When Secure Boot was not implemented because the BIOS or UEFI system of the machine was easily altered, Valorant was easily hacked by cheaters. That had numerous serious implications. These instances of cheating can be bad for other players, as they destroy the rewards for fair play. Another example seen in the second video from users Papryka and chujek, where they repeatedly were able to interfere in what should have been normal games due to their ease of cheating.

How To Check If Secure Boot Is Enabled?

You can check if secure boot is enabled by going back to System Configuration and clicking on the Secure Boot task. If you see the option Enable as shown in the screenshot above, it means that the secure boot was not enabled before. Click the task to proceed to set it up.

On Windows 10

Secure Boot is enabled by default on Windows 10. Here are the simple steps to verify that this is the case for the Valorant team:

  1. Go to Run by pressing the Windows key + R.

  2. Type msinfo32 and hit Enter.

  3. Go to the Boot Environment and make sure there is an entry with UEFI.

  4. Go to the Secure Boot State and ensure that it says On.

If it is not on, it may mean your machine does not support it or it was turned off. You would need to go into the BIOS or UEFI settings to turn it back on. However, process and navigation in these settings can vary depending on which motherboard or laptop model you have.

Secure Boot is Fundamental Input/Output System (BIOS) replacement that eventually is expected to be the firmware standard for nonvirtualized hardware systems.

On Older Versions of Windows

Secure Boot can also be enabled on Windows 8 and much older versions of Windows going back to Windows 7. Secure Boot is enabled in the same way on older versions of Windows, but to check if Secure Boot is supported and the Windows version installed on your system, use the following steps. For Windows 7 and 8, locate the system specifications with the following steps:

  1. Go to the Control Panel.
  2. Select System and Security.
  3. Select System.
  4. View the system information screen and determine what version of Windows is running.
  5. Next, hold the Windows button while pressing the Pause/Break key to open System Properties.
  6. If Secure Boot information is available in this window, it is supported on this device. This information is found under System type, system properties, manufacturer or processor specifications.

Secure Boot is generally enabled by default if supported on older versions of Windows. Users can navigate to the Bios settings menu to check and make changes to Secure Boot configuration settings if needed.#endregion

How To Enable Secure Boot On Windows 10?

Secure Boot on Windows 10 is configured from UEFI/BIOS firmware settings. Microsoft integrates the feature directly into the Windows operating system to ensure that the system only runs loading firmware that is verified by the OEM and operating system developer.

After following steps 1-3 in the instructions above for UEFI/BIOS settings in Windows 10 systems, under General, you can look for a setting similar to Secure Boot and click it in the Enabled switch state. Click Exit to go back to the Security menu, click on Save Changes and Exit, then click Yes to save changes and reset your computer.

To check if your system is using Secure Boot, use the ShowBootPolicy command from an administrative PowerShell terminal:

Confirm-SecureBootUEFI – will return true if Secure Boot is on. If it returns false or doesn’t return anything, Secure Boot is off.

How To Enable Secure Boot On Older Versions of Windows?

Secure Boot can be enabled on older versions of Windows with a computer that supports the UEFI environment. Microsoft states that Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 must be installed using System Center Configuration Manager.

UEFI and Secure Boot requirements Once Windows 7 is installed with a UEFI environment, you must ensure you are using Windows 7 SP 1 along with KB2902864 and KB2919355 updates. This allows users to sign on the other components of the UEFI environment. Secure Boot is then ready for use. To turn Secure Boot on or off on a working Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 computer which uses UEFI-based firmware, open an elevated command prompt, type bcdedit.exe /enum, and write down the Windows Boot Loader CLSID GUID and its configuration settings. You can then turn it off by running bcdedit.exe /set {bootmgr} path EFIMicrosoftbootmgfw.efi. Modify ConfigurationFileLocale with en-US to localize.

After enabling Secure Boot and restarting your PC, the PC will automatically boot into the UEFI settings from where you can turn Secure Boot on. Secure Boot on older versions of Windows is a complex and technical process which is impractical for most users. The benefit of updating your version of Windows is that valuation of physical memory will be made once the OS is upgraded, eliminating the need for manual testing.

What Are The Common Issues With Enabling Secure Boot In Valorant?

The most common issue with enabling Secure Boot in Valorant is that you may initially be unable to install Valorant. Microsoft states that to get Windows set up for an application requiring Secure Boot, you may have to recreate your boot configuration settings. This is rarely necessary and can have issues, so do not try to enable Secure Boot in Valorant and create boot configuration settings as a solution if it is unnecessary.

If users have issues installing Valorant after enabling Secure Boot, Vanguard starts as Disabled, and the Vanguard Quickdraw window being blocked by the BugSplat crash reporter is a quaint issue commonly observed after enabling Secure Boot. These issues usually resolve themselves quickly by closing Valorant and restarting your computer.

Compatibility Issues

When memory errors are detected during the secure boot process, the firmware shuts down a memory region and then continues the boot. If my region is collecting errors, it can bring the entire system down abruptly. This doesn’t mean that the region will permanently come down, but at the same time it will disturb the player’s concentration.

Companies focused on rigorous standards testing such as CTS ELECTRONIC COMPONENTS and engineers such as Lee Cleveland (formerly Johnson) of US-based A2LA-accredited calibration and testing lab Trescal recommend replacing SOLID STATE DRIVES that have collected errors, shutting a region down during the secure boot process. Using the same computer for a long period of time would increase the chances of seeing regions collect errors.

Stress testing a system should be able to see if memory or other hardware regions interrupted during the secure boot process have any effect on the game itself. Even then, shadow banning might kick in depending on the levels of abrupt shutdown caused by these boots, and the performance of the computer must be watched. Memory errors that bring a region down are often beyond the users’ control but keeping systems clean of attacking software and malware may help avoid this problem.

Error Messages

When you first enable Secure Boot in the BIOS you may encounter errors such as Verr_BIOSERROR_0c3 or a red screen in addition to the error messages. These indicate that the image Secure Boot recognizes a conflicting third-party image that has been introduced during the boot-loading process where none should exist.

The meaning of these error messages if there is an actual problem is as follows:

  • Verr_BIOSERROR_0c3 – errno=0xc3 or ERROR_BAD_IMPERSONATION_LEVEL messages indicate the program has entered a restricted run-level state or the page on which the program exists has memory-protection attributes which conflict with the policies in the TBS. A VERR_ACCESS_DENIED error posted during launch may be changed to VINF_SUCCESS, at which point the feature causing the posting of the error message will be enabled.
  • Red screens or STOP errors – These generally indicate a calibration problem in one or more hardware components as they peak or otherwise phase in during production. These errors can also be the result of incorrect system wiring or faulty components, especially when they appear shortly after a computer is turned on. Such red screens or STOP errors are generally hardware-detecting failure and diagnostic codes that are intended to be reported back from a computer system to its operator.

How To Troubleshoot Secure Boot Issues In Valorant?

Troubleshooting secure boot issues in Valorant can be done by checking if your monitor is HDCP2 compatible, checking your quality of service (QoS) packet status and updating the network adapter drivers as needed, restarting the modem or router to restore connection, turning the Windows Firewall off for Valorant, disabling any proxies, VPNs, or similar software, and checking all devices on your network that may be using bandwidth.

Update Your Operating System

Updating your existing operating system is the first step to enable Secure Boot as the feature is supported in most major operating systems. But how you update your operating system depends on the system itself. Here are steps to update all the major operating systems and check the integrity of the update prior to restart.

  1. On a Windows 10 PC, click on the Start menu, choose Settings (the gear icon), then Update & Security. Check for Windows updates and restart your PC to install updates.

  2. On a macOS X system, click on the Apple logo in the top left of the main menu, then click on System Preferences. Click on Software Update and install any updates displayed. You may need to restart your mac to complete the installation.

  3. On a major Linux distrubution (Ubuntu, Debian, CentOS), you can update your system by running sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade with additional -y or -yy flag if automatic answer of yes or no is required.

  4. Suse and Fedora use similar commands, while dnf and zypper repositories may have more features for package management.

Update Your Drivers

Out-of-date drivers significantly increase the risk of security vulnerabilities. This could explain why Riot places an emphasis on keeping drivers up-to-date when the Valorant engine does not match Secure Boot guidelines. To make sure this is not the problem, keeping your drivers up-to-date is crucial.

Drivers are the software that enables systems to communicate with hardware. Frequently, new versions of drivers are introduced that fix security vulnerabilities or improve compatibility with Secure Boot. To update a specific driver, navigate to Device Manager in Windows then right-click on a piece of hardware. Select Update Driver. On Windows, use software that makes this process easier by auto-updating them, e.g. Valorant, teammates or rivals are just a few examples of ways to have that done easily.

Disable Third-Party Antivirus Software

Third-party antivirus software can interfere with the functioning of Secure Boot and prevent games like Valorant from running properly. To ensure that functioning of Secure Boot is not hindered by third-party antivirus software, you can temporarily disable any other security software that is running on your system.

Steps for disabling Windows Defense Firewall are as follows according to a help topic by the University of Hawaii: Navigate to the Windows Control Panel, Click on System and Security, Click on Windows Defender Firewall. Choose whether to switch off Windows Defender Firewall for your public, home, and work networks by clicking on Turn Windows Defender Firewall on or off. Verify that the setting under Public network, Private network, and Domain network is turned off and then click OK.

If you are using third-party antivirus software, you can follow similar instructions to disable it. Do not forget to re-enable it after you ensure its non-impact on Valorant.

Check For BIOS Updates

It is valuable when Secure Boot in Valorant not only prevents unauthorized modifications, but adds a level of security that prevents unauthorized/access to processes. At the time low-level components of the operating system or hypervisor for example. Dmytro Stupin states this is sometimes misinterpreted as saying that Secure Boot is a security enhancement in the traditional sense. Indeed Secure Boot is an operational security feature more than a threat-based security feature.

What Are The Alternatives To Secure Boot In Valorant?

The alternative to Secure Boot in Valorant is to simply disable Secure Boot within the motherboard settings after enabling hidden security features. Disabling secure boot is not recommended, as the benefits of Secure Boot far outweigh the risks. The risks of disabling Secure Boot include malware contamination and the BSoD, which will occur when the System Management Mode (SMM) BIOS is altered.

The following methods can be used as Secure Boot alternatives after learning how to enable Secure Boot on Valorant.

  1. Full Disk Encryption – provides end-to-end encryption for all local data storage and decryption of relevant components upon OS boot.
  2. TPM Modules – used on qualified computers to encrypt the local disk before ever reaching the boot process.
  3. UEFI (BIOS) Passwords – requiring advanced authentication at the BIOS level to restrict physical access to hardware and firmware.
  4. Bitlocker TPM + PIN Protection – offers the two-factor security of TPM in combination with a user-generated password/PIN.
  5. Hypervisor Secure Boot – utilizes the system’s root of trust and required firmware components.
  6. Antivirus Software – while not a replacement for secure boot, antivirus software can help identify and neutralize dangerous threats to computer system boot security.

Use Third-Party Anticheat Software

Third-party software from companies like FACEIT and BattlEye allow for Valorant secure boot systems to be programmed for games even if manufacturers have not added them to their operating systems. Rhode Island-based FACEIT is an independent gaming platform where users can play Counter-Strike and VALORANT tournaments. They develop Anti-Cheat Kernel Drivers and provide them directly to their users where there is no need for them to already be in a manufacturer’s hardware or software. BattlEye by German manufacturer Bastian Suter is middleware which runs in the background to make sure that games do not have cheating software active. The rogame.exe entry in the safe boot loader of the HKLMSYSTEMCurrentControlSetControl registry key onwards allows users to switch from regular boot to secure boot. To disable, it is changed to 1 instead of 2. This is only available on MDPEMan’s product. No other Valorant secure boot system has this facility so that it has been enabled or disabled.

Use A Virtual Machine

A virtual machine can be defined as a virtualized solution of an actual physical computer, which means a software reproduction of a physical computer. A virtual machine (VM) imitates computer hardware on top of real machine hardware and this implementation enables the running of multiple OS along with applications with the requirement being only one system. Furthermore, a virtual machine provides a simple, secure, and cost-effective replacement, allowing a working version of one or more operating systems without changing the existing system.

Enabling secure boot for Valorant can be done on a machine running two operating systems using a VM, but only one of these operating systems should have Valorant installed. However, using a VM can actively reduce game performance. A virtual machine requires the operating system to be loaded twice, once on the host or host system and once on the client or client system. As a result, the CPU of the device will process the operating system and other VM software, which demands a lot of RAM and CPU usage and therefore may cause an altered gaming experience in terms of FPS and CPU usage. Generally, VMs are packed with all sorts of features that have little to do with gaming and other performance-sensitive tasks. Overhead can be reduced, but no function of this application can be turned off, as it is an integral part of how VMs operate whereas some potentially harmful services may ironically be shuffled in with critical security procedures. It is highly recommended to disable Valorant’s anti-cheat engine while utilizing a VM.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How to Enable Secure Boot in Valorant?

To enable Secure Boot in Valorant, follow the steps below:
1. Open the Valorant game launcher.
2. Click on the “Settings” icon in the top right corner.
3. Go to the “General” tab.
4. Scroll down to the “Security” section.
5. Toggle on the “Enable Secure Boot” option.
6. Click on “Save” to apply the changes.

2. What is Secure Boot in Valorant?

Secure Boot is a security feature in Valorant that helps protect your game from unauthorized modifications or cheats. When enabled, it ensures that only trusted and verified files are allowed to run in the game, providing a more secure gaming experience.

3. Is it necessary to enable Secure Boot in Valorant?

While it is not mandatory, enabling Secure Boot in Valorant is highly recommended for a more secure gameplay experience. It helps prevent cheating and unauthorized modifications, ensuring fair gameplay for all players.

4. Can I enable Secure Boot in Valorant on any device?

No, Secure Boot is only available on supported devices. Check your device’s compatibility with Secure Boot before trying to enable it in Valorant.

5. How can I tell if Secure Boot is enabled in Valorant?

To check if Secure Boot is enabled in Valorant, follow these steps:
1. Open the Valorant game launcher.
2. Click on the “Settings” icon in the top right corner.
3. Go to the “General” tab.
4. Scroll down to the “Security” section.
5. If the “Enable Secure Boot” option is toggled on, Secure Boot is enabled.

6. Can I disable Secure Boot in Valorant?

Yes, you can disable Secure Boot in Valorant by following the same steps to enable it. Simply toggle off the “Enable Secure Boot” option and click on “Save” to apply the changes. Keep in mind that disabling Secure Boot may leave your game vulnerable to cheating and unauthorized modifications.

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