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i have the old cd and as such, i can run it. when i try to start it first time after installation, it runs without the cd. if i try to start it again without the cd it does not work. if i insert the cd it works. i also have a few graphical issues with pcs with intel integrated gpus and nvidia dedicated gpus.
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When you say it doesn't work do you mean it doesn't boot at all or that you can't play single player? As far as I know the CD version should work without the disc in, but you can only join multiplayer games somebody else has made. Also just a note, I think the menu music doesn't play unless the disc is in.

If that isn't the issue then the first things that come to mind are compatibility settings or directplay isn't installed/enabled. The compatibility settings I've used are Windows 98/Window Me, and run as administrator. There are a number of ways to turn directplay on depending on your operating system but you can probably turn it on through the control panel. In the control panel under programs and features there should be an option to turn Windows features on or off. Click that and then look under legacy components and enable directplay if it's there. After that restart your computer and it should be enabled. It's possible directplay will be blocked by anti virus software so if it still doesn't work correctly you might check to make sure it isn't blocked.

That will likely help with stability and graphical issues as well but it's hard to be sure what the specific problem is.
directplay should be installed. the game does not boot up at all without the cd the second time, only the first. the music works however.
Here's a link to a thread that deals with most common issues with Warlords:

I can't reproduce the issue you're having so I'm not sure what's wrong, but try setting compatibility settings if you haven't yet.

Here's a bit about that in case you're not familiar with how to do that:

Windows from vista to 10 require the the game launching file to be run under certain compatibility, to do this right click on the game file and select "Properties", new window will popup and then select the "Compatibility" tab in this new window. In Compatibility mode select "windows xp service 2 or 3, or windows vista or it's service pack1" any one of them should work. Check the disable desktop composition and check the disable the visual themes(windows 10 don't have these options so don't worry over them). Also select "run this program as Administrator".

Aside from that this seemed the most relevant:

FOR STABILITY (Possible crashes)
Windows 8 and 10 require people to have direct play feature installed on their windows installation to do this they need to go to start menu and search "uninstall" where the search would popup with "uninstall a program" click to launch it's windows in this window on left side there is a option "turn windows features on or off" click it to open a new window. Wait a little for it to load all things then find "legacy components" expand the "+" and check the direct play feature and press "ok" to have it installed by windows.

For windows XP, Vista, 7, 8 and 10 Make sure you have x86 and x64 both Microsoft visual C++ Versions of the years 2005, 2008 2010 installed. Also install directx 9.0c because these windows might not come with it or you might have corruption happened to it also.

Make exclusions in your ANTI-VIRUS program for this game because I experienced few times where the game will just not load and after black screen will be returned to desktop as if nothing happen and log file will contain nothing more then reading help status as last line and nothing besides this to help locate problem.
if the visual c++ files had not been present, the game would not have run at all. directplay is installed, was already but i double checked. it runs when the cd is inside and the first time. if i take out the cd it works only when i insert the cd.