XP SP2: How to Turn Off the Data Execution Prevention feature (DEP)

Posted August 12, 2004 by MickeyMouse in Windows

No-Execute and Execute Protection are all names for Data Execution Prevention (DEP). This process feature increases security, but may cause problems with certain programs. This tutorial explains how to disable DEP when such problems occur.


Several OSs have No-Execute or Execute Protection. Microsoft has added this as well in SP2 with Data Execution Prevention (DEP). This presents code execution in memory regions already marked as storage. This is a powerful tool against buffer overrun exploits.

If a program is failing and you want to disable DEP to see if it is the cause, use the following steps. (Just disable DEP for the program in question. Do not disable it for your whole system.)

    1. Click Start.
    2. Select Control Panel.
    3. Select System.
    4. Click the Advanced tab.
    5. In the Performance region, select Settings.
    6. Click the Data Execute tab in the dialog box that opens.
    7. Select Turn on DEP for all programs and services except for those I select.
    8. Click Add.
    9. The open dialog box will open. Browse and select your application.
    10. Click Open
    11. Click Apply
    12. Click Ok
    13. Reboot

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