Exclude Programs From Windows DEP (Data Execution Prevention)

DEP can cause conflicts with legitimate Windows programs

Data Execution Prevention is a security feature intended to prevent damage to your computer. Sometimes, however, DEP can cause conflicts with legitimate programs. If this happens to you, here's how to disable Windows DEP for specific applications.

Instructions in this article apply to Windows 10, 8, and 7.

What Is Data Execution Prevention?

Microsoft introduced Data Execution Prevention to the Windows operating system beginning with Windows XP. DEP raises an exception if it detects code loading from the default heap or stack. Because this behavior is indicative of malicious code, DEP protects the browser against attacks by preventing suspicious code from running.

Older, non-Microsoft programs that rely on Windows Services are most likely to be flagged by DEP. To run such programs, you must either create an exception in your system settings or disable DEP altogether. Outdated device drivers may also cause DEP errors.

How to Disable Windows DEP for Specific Applications

To exclude certain programs from Windows DEP:

  1. Open Windows Control Panel and select System and Security.

    System and Security highlighted in the Wndows Control panel
  2. Select System.

    System highlighted in the Systems and Security window
  3. Select Advanced system settings.

    Advanced System Settings. highlighted in the System window
  4. Select the Advanced tab in the System Properties window that opens and then select Settings under Performance.

    The Advanced tab in the System Properties window with Settings under Performance highlighed
  5. Select the Data Execution Prevention tab and select Turn on DEP for all programs and services except those I select.

    Data Execution Prevention tab with Turn on DEP for all programs and services except those I select

    To disable DEP for most programs, select Turn on DEP for essential Windows programs and services only.

  6. Select Add and choose the programs you want to exclude.

    Select Add and choose the programs you want to exclude.

    It is not possible to exclude 64-bit programs from Windows DEP. Most conflicts are caused by 32-bit programs.

  7. Select Apply and OK.

    Data Execution Prevention tab with Apply highlighted

    You must restart your computer for changes to take effect.