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Having issues changing Data Execution Prevention (DEP) settings? DEP is a security feature on your computer that can help prevent damage caused by security threats and viruses. DEP helps protect by monitoring all of the programs to ensure that memory is safely used which is why it is crucial to ensure you are following the right steps to change DEP settings.

Step-by-Step Process of Changing Your Data Execution (DEP) Settings

In order to change your DEP settings, follow the steps below. These steps are applicable for Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008, and Windows Server 2012.

    • Pull up the Properties dialog box.
      • Start > right-click Computer > Properties
  • Go to the Advanced system settings tab.
  • Once you’re in this section, click Settings (located under Performance).
  • From here, go to the Data Execution Prevention tab.
  • Select Turn on DEP for all programs and services except those I select.

If you are planning to selectively turn off DEP for individual programs, you can select the check box corresponding to the program that you want DEP turned off. Once you have selected the programs, click OK. In the event that you’re unable to locate a specific program, you can add that program to the list.

Click Add and then browse the Program Files. Locate the executable file ending with an .exe file name extension. Open the file. Click OK, and then once again when you’re in the System Properties dialog box.

The change is not always immediate, and you may need to restart your computer for the settings to take effect.

If you’re still operating on Windows XP or Windows Server 2003, there’s a slightly different process to go about changing your DEP settings. You can follow those steps below:

  • Open the Properties box in the same manner.
  • Go to the Advanced tab option and select Settings located under the Startup and Recovery field.
  • Once you’ve been directed to the next screen, select Edit. A boot.ini file will then open in Notepad.
  • Go to the opened document, use the Find command from the Edit menu, and then type /noexecute in the dialog box.
  • Once the text has been located, close out of the box.
  • Replace the policy after /noexecute= with your desired value.
    • OptIn – Default configuration
    • OptOut – DEP is enabled for all processes by default
    • Alwayson – DEP provides full coverage for the whole system
    • Alwaysoff – No DEP settings are provided for any part of the system

Once you’ve selected your preferences, save the file and close out. You’ll need to restart your computer for the changes to go into effect.

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