Data Execution Prevention

Windows XP Data Execution Prevention

Data Execution Prevention


DEP Exceptions...


Adding Software Exceptions In Data Execution Prevention (DEP)


In my article on Data Execution Prevention (DEP) I introduced readers to one of the new security features of Service Pack 2 for Windows XP.

At the end of that article I mentioned the ability to change the default setting and so include ALL software on your computer.

This article will address HOW you can tell DEP to IGNORE specific software that may be generating false security warnings...

If you have not read this article I suggest you do this BEFORE carrying on with this page....


Introduction To Adding Software Exceptions In Data Execution Prevention (DEP)

If you have selected the option "Turn on DEP for all programs and services except those I select:" you MAY experience error messages when attempting to start a program on your computer. If DEP suspects that the software is trying to run code—malicious or not—from a protected location, DEP closes the program and notifies you with an warning message.

Now if you are running a piece of free software you "found" on the Internet and it generates this warning message my advice is to DELETE it! It may have poorly written code or hidden adaware/spyware trying to run etc... and is not worth the risk to your computer's security.

BUT if you are attempting to start some software you DO trust and you get the DEP warning message and forced shut down... follow these steps to treat this software as an EXCEPTION and so have DEP ignore any protected memory issues.

How To Add An Exception In DEP

1. Locate the software on your computer. To do this click on the Start menu and choose All Programs. Now find the software and locate the icon you click to start the program BUT DO NOT click it yet. Instead right click the icon with your mouse and choose Properties.

2. In the window that appears click the Shortcut "tab" along the top.

3. Now look for the section called Target and click and select the text in the box.

Now press Ctrl + C on your keyboard and this will copy the text.

5. On the My Computer icon right click with your mouse and choose Properties. (My Computer can be found on the desktop and/or the Start menu depending on how you have your Windows XP setup.)

6. A small window will have appeared called: System Properties. Look for the "tab" along the top called Advanced, now click it.

7. Now look for the section called Performance and click the button called Settings.

8. You will now see a new window appear called Performance Options, click the tab along the top called Data Execution Prevention and you should get the now familiar DEP window.

9. Now select the option "Turn on DEP for all programs and services except those I select:"

10. Click the Add button that is no longer greyed out and a standard Open File window will appear. Click in the File Name box and then press Ctrl + V on your keyboard to paste the file location into the box. It may look something like: "C:\Program Files\Bradbury\FeedDemon\FeedDemon.exe"

11. Click the Open button and the window will close and the software will now be visible in the DEP exception list. Now click the Apply button and close all the open windows.

You have now added the software to a custom list of software that DEP will ignore. If you wish to add more to the list just follow the steps again outlined above!

I hope this article on the Windows XP Data Execution Prevention utility was useful?



Marc Liron

Kind Regards

Marc Liron - Former Microsoft MVP (2004-2010)

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