Unfortunately, this site has restricted functionality as this browser does not support the HTML button formaction attribute.

Unfortunately, this site has restricted functionality as this browser has HTML web storage turned off.


Defacto2 is a website committed to preserving the historic PC cracking and warez scene subcultures. It covers objects including text files, demos, music, art, magazines, and other projects. While a seldom-discussed subject, this element of the underground computer subculture could be lost and forgotten without a preservation effort. The nature of robin-hood piracy, with its high churn for participants, means it is a community that is not well documented nor explained. Unfortunately, some files have comments or imagery that aren't acceptable in a modern context—a possible consequence of the era and the ages of the people involved. Learn more…

Scene milestones

These milestones for the PC cracking and underground scenes are not definitive but are based on what we have collected.
Also, not mentioned are the more notable communities on other microcomputers (Apple II, C64 and Amiga) that often were poorly imitated by the PC scene.

1. Unprotects were text documents describing methods to remove software copy protection on floppy disks. Many authors were legitimate owners who were frustrated that publishers would not permit them to create backup copies of their expensive but fragile 5¼-inch floppy disks for daily driving. 2. Early releases rarely included accompanying text files unless they were complicated tools or software utilities. 3. Text loaders and ANSI art offer similar results but are different in execution. Text loaders are binary programs that display text mode characters and colors. ANSI text required the ANSI.SYS device driver included in PC/MS-DOS 2+ to convert plain text files into onscreen animation and color. 4. Loaders were named as they would be the first thing to display each time a cracked game is run. These screens were static images in the early days and sometimes contained ripped screens from other games. Some users found these annoying and a cause of file bloat. 5. DOX is an abbreviation for documentation, which are text files that provide instructions on playing more complicated games. These titles often relied on printed instruction manuals included in the purchased game box to be playable. 6. A demo and a piece of software created purely for aesthetics, usually to show art or animation. While earlier demonstration software existed on the PC, they were intended for retailers or distributors and usually not given to the public. 7. An intro or cracktro are small, usually short, demo programs designed to display text with art or animation. Cracktros specifically promote pirated releases or groups, while intros do not. 8. THG cracker Fabulous Furlough maintains Bubble Bobble was the first THG release that used the .NFO file extension. The date modified timestamps in our copy may be incorrect. It happened like this, I'd just used "Unguard" to crack the SuperLock off of Bubble Bobble, and I said "I need some file to put the info about the crack in. Hmmm.. Info, NFO!", and that was it. 9. In this example, the term "music" is a loose definition that relies on the horrible internal PC speaker. By this era, many commercial games supported good audio hardware addons such as the AdLib, MT-32, or Covox. 10. Programmed by Hard Core, it's the first PC cracktro with listenable music and a modern VGA aesthetic that could hold its own with cracktros on other systems. 11. Due to the potential size of programs distributed on CDs and the high cost of low-capacity hard drives, the sharing of CD games was not desirable. By mid-1995, some groups started to "rip" out subjective fluff such as intro animations and redistribute the rest of the incomplete but playable game as a "CD-RIP." 12. An ISO is a file archive of a physical media disk such as a CD or DVD. The trading of ISOs between individuals happened for years prior. Still, the formalization of an ISO trading scene for software occurred in late 1997, but it took years before it became a dominant format.

hide RetroTxt from Defacto2   The open sourced WebExtension to view ANSI, ASCII and NFO files in a browser. Addons available from Chrome Microsoft Firefox