contact EA...., get a new serial code from them, go into the registry editor (regedit) and find the command and conquer files and find the "ergc" section, click modify and enter your new serial., that gets it running
the only thing that i have gotten to get the game to run is something called a nocd patch, this is intended for pirated versions of the game and because of which (the game thinks your game is not legit [on windows 7])... this should work if you have a real disc and are getting that error.
Yeah I actually had to do the options.ini fix to get it to even start
// then I had to change the serial to a new one from EA directly in the registry to get the internet to let me log in
// then I had to change the playing to windowed version by typing -win in the shortcut name, and changed resolution to 800-600 to fix play speed
// and now finally the EA representative I have been talking to for about 3 weeks just said he "[I] give up on this problem, I am sorry but there is nothing further I am able to do" and then he gave one of their pre-made comments for this issue "Thank you for contacting Electronic Arts Customer Support. I do apologize for any delay in my response. I have been assigned to your issue, and would be happy to assist you in this matter. As a gamer myself, I understand how frustrating this issue can be. At this time we are investigating this issue closely with the Studio. While we do not have a resolution for this issue, we are hopeful to have it soon. We do apologize for any trouble that this has caused you, and appreciate your patience while this issue is being investigated. ".....
He went on to say that "off the record" that he was refering me to a different patch that might work for the issue and he sent me to a page that had no-cd patches.. ... so I tried it and it now runs without everything blowing up.
His explanation was that there is a built in anti-piracy glitch where if there is any kind of large change on a computer (mine was upgrading to windows 7 ultimate) that the game will think it is not from the actual disc and act as if it is fake.
I also had to re-patch by inserting the cd and clicking check for upgrades (it would not let me do it manually).
So in conclusion... it works.. long live
Also here is a step by step solution so anybody else that may have this problem might be able to resolve it:
With a system that has Windows 7 (any type):
1. To get it to start if the game crashes at the second splash screen:
go to How to Play Generals / Zero Hour in Windows 7 x64 - CNCNZ.com Forums
..... and change the options.ini
2. If the game does not allow you to even connect to the online servers// contact an EA representative via the chat service they have (phone support is even worse) and have them supply you a new serial code.
Once you have the new serial go into the registry:
1. Press windows key + R to open the run command and type in "regedit"
2. then follow these folders exactly ==> HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
==> Electronic Arts
==> EA Games
==> Command and Conquer Generals Zero Hour
Then right click on the (Default) file and select Modify and change the current code to your newly supplied one. Then restart the computer.
The game should now connect to the online servers.
3. If your game is running too fast it is most likely because of something to do with your processor and/or graphics card. The way I got mine to work is to right-click on the shortcut for zero hour and select properties. From there you need to change the target at the end to look instead of ("C:\Program Files (x86)\EA Games\Command & Conquer Generals Zero Hour\generals.exe") to look like ("C:\Program Files (x86)\EA Games\Command & Conquer Generals Zero Hour\generals.exe" -win) with the space and "win" after it... This will cause your game to start in windowed mode and if your game should not be running as fast anymore, then you need to go into the options on the game and change the resolution to the smallest available, then exit the game. After you exit you need to restart the computer and upon restart you need to change the target of the shortcut back to normal, when the game loads up after that, you can change the resolution back to what you had originally.
4. Finally, if you are having the problem where if you start any kind of non campaign mission and you can only play a few seconds to a minute before everything blows up (or campaign mission where you win and it says you lose)...... this is caused by the games built-in anti-piracy that could have been activated by something on your computer (installing some programs/ antivirus software/ firewall/ etc...).
Assuming you have the actual cd's like I did and not ripped like mentioned above, this problem may be fixed by installing something called a no-cd patch. This method was mentioned by an EA representative via chat (still can't believe that). After the installation make sure your game is patched via the menu after inserting your game disc. The no-cd patch actually includes a game.dat and generals.exe that will force the game to run properly when the game disc in inserted.
Using these steps I was able to get it to work and hopefully anybody else that needs help can use these steps to fix their game too... Enjoy.