What is Data Execution Prevention in Windows 10?

Data Execution Prevention, abbreviated as DEP, is a Windows built-in tool that provides additional security for your Windows system. It is basically a feature that comprises various software technologies and a set of hardware that is further useful for carrying out some extra system memory checks and stops the malicious system codes from running.

Today in this article, we will learn about What is Data Execution Prevention? And further how to enable or disable the Data Execution Prevention feature on Windows 10.

What is Data Execution Prevention in Windows 10

What is Data Execution Prevention?

Data Execution Prevention is a security feature that provides a protective shield to your computer against unknown scripts and prevents malicious software and application from executing unrecognized codes on a reserved location within your system’s memory. For example, when any harmful program/ software/ application tries to run a malicious code in the specific system memory locations that are already reserved for Windows and other authorized programs, the Data Execution Prevention prompts an error and marks those codes as non-executable.

The system’s reserved memory locations are specified for the execution of critical functions and programs. It has limited memory, and if any malicious code gets within its space, it occupies a lot of important space. And when it happens, it might provide critical data access to those users and programs that must not access it.

Steps to check whether DEP is active in your Windows 10:

For checking whether DEP is active on your Windows 10 system, follow the steps given below:

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  • Firstly, go to the desktop search bar, type Control Panel, and open the relevant search result.
  • Now navigate to System & Security and on the next window click on System (right-pane menu).
  • In the search box type View Advanced System Settings, and it will open the System properties window for you.
  • Here navigate to the Advanced tab from the vertical menu and under the Performance category, click on the Settings tab.
  • On the next prompt, navigate to the Data Execution Prevention tab from the vertical menu and down-below check whether your system supports hardware-based DEP or not.
  • Now if in case you want to add exceptions to DEP (if needed), then Click on the circular button located before the option Turn on DEP for all programs and services except those I select and then click on the Add tab.
  • Further, select the executable file you want to exclude and then restart your computer to make the changes effective.

How to enable or disable the Data Execution Prevention feature on Windows 10?

For disabling or enabling the Data Execution Prevention feature on Windows 10, follow the steps given below:

Note: Disabling DEP will leave your system, files, and programs vulnerable to malicious attacks that might put severe harm.

  • Firstly, go to the Desktop search bar, type “cmd” and then open Command Prompt with Administrator access.
  • Now on the Command Prompt window, type or Copy + Paste the following command,

BCDEDIT /SET {CURRENT} NX ALWAYSOFF

  • And then press Enter.
  • Let the command process, and once it is done, restart your system to make the changes effective.

Note: In some cases, the user also required to adjust a BIOS setting to disable DEP with the command above.

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However, before you begin with disabling DEP for a particular program, we recommend you to check whether there’s any compatible version of the same program. If yes, then install it and leave DEP active so you can enjoy the protection.

For enabling DEP again;

  • Firstly, go to the Desktop search bar, type “cmd” and then open Command Prompt with Administrator access.
  • Now on the Command Prompt window, type or Copy + Paste the following command,

BCDEDIT /SET {CURRENT} NX ALWAYSON

  • And then press Enter.
  • Let the command process, and once it is done, restart your system to make the changes effective.

Data Execution Prevention feature is counted amongst one of the basic Windows-based system protections, is highly valuable, and one must not disable it without a solid reason in hand. However, not all the software and hardware support it and thus at times, your PC may experience some issues and error messages due to incompatibilities encountered by some Windows processes when working with DEP.

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Data Execution Prevention is crucial and must remain enabled for most of the time. Make sure you treat it with caution and do not interrupt its settings unless you are well versed with all the circumstances about it or unless it isn’t specifically required. If you have any queries or feedback, please write down the comment in the below comment box.

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