How to Disable Data Execution Prevention for Explorer.exe

Prevent Error Messages and System Problems

Data Execution Prevention (DEP) is a valuable feature available to Windows users running Windows XP SP2 up through Windows 10.

Since not all software and hardware fully support DEP, it can sometimes be the cause of certain system issues and error messages.

For example, the ntdll.dll error is sometimes seen when explorer.exe, a vital Windows process, has difficulties working with DEP. This has been an issue with some AMD brand processors in particular.

How to Disable DEP to Prevent Error Messages and System Problems

Follow these simple steps to disable DEP for explorer.exe.

  1. Open Control Panel. The quickest way to do this in all versions of Windows is to open the Run dialog box via the WIN+R keyboard shortcut, and enter control.

  2. Select System and Security. If you don't see that option, choose Performance and Maintenance.

    Windows 10 Control Panel

    If you're viewing the icon or classic view of Control Panel, select System instead and then skip down to Step 4.

  3. Choose System.

  4. Select Advanced system settings from the left pane. If you don't see that option, open the Advanced tab.

    Windows 10 System window
  5. Select Settings from the Performance area.

    Windows 10 System Properties window
  6. Open the Data Execution Prevention tab.

  7. Choose the radio button next to Turn on DEP for all programs and services except those I select.

  8. Choose Add.

    performance options in Windows 10
  9. From the Open dialog box, navigate to the C:\Windows directory, or whatever directory Windows is installed in on your system, and select explorer.exe from the list.

    Open dialog box from windows 10 performance options

    You'll need to change the Look in folder at the top and will probably have to scroll through several folders before reaching the list of files. Explorer.exe should be listed as one of the first few files in the alphabetical list.

  10. Select Open followed by OK to the warning that pops up.

    Back on the Data Execution Prevention tab, you should now see Windows Explorer in the list, next to a checked checkbox.

  11. Select OK at the bottom of the Performance Options window.

  12. Select OK when the window appears warning you that your changes require a restart of your computer.

After your computer restarts, test your system to see if disabling Data Execution Prevention for explorer.exe resolved your issue.

If disabling DEP for explorer.exe didn't fix your problem, return the DEP settings to normal by repeating the steps above but in Step 7, choose Turn on DEP for essential Windows programs and services only.