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  1. #1
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    Question Data Execution Prevention suddenly appears on old XP machine

    Hi all
    Yesterday I used the old Windows XP laptop belonging to the U3A (University of the third age) in Sale, in order to give them a presentation. I hadn't seen the computer for some time and it appears to have had a few updates - SP2 at least - possibly also SP3 and also AVG 2012. I suspect from what I have read so far that SP2 is responsible to the sudden appearance of Data Execution Prevention (DEP). The problem was that whenever I brought up Windows Explorer to go onto the next media file DEP interrupted and crashed WIndows Explorer (luckily I was quick enough to start the relevant media file running in its own programme before Explorer crashed but I had to control-alt-delete and restart Explorer each time I wanted to run a new file).

    U3A will probably ask me - at some point - to take the laptop home with me and trouble-shoot it (it's not with me at the moment). So I'd like a few pointers on things I should look for when it eventually arrives at my table:
    1. I ran the control panel - system - (etc) and excluded DEP from affecting Windows Explorer and Media player, by way of a short term solution, but I'm not sure whether that would leave the laptop vulnerable whenever it goes online. Thoughts?
    2. I hadn't checked whether DEP would also affect Internet Explorer, if it does affect it and if I have to exclude DEP from that too, would that leave the computer vulnerable?
    3. Is there some way of disabling DEP entirely without having to go through a whole slew of excepted exe files? And, if there is some way to do this, should I do it?
    4. Is it possible that DEP appeared because there has been an infection, and if so, have I left it vulnerable?
    5. I noticed during my google searches that one possible solution to the problem is to prevent thumbnail view. Has anyone tried this and does it work?
    6. Any other ideas.
    7. Has anyone experienced problems of this kind with AVG 2012 which might explain the problem?
    Thanks for your thoughts.
    Kind regards
    David
    Kind regards
    David
    dwsolo

  2. #2
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    It's been a while since I've seen the DEP screen in the advanced settings area of XP, but it seems to me you might
    be able to make an exception for windows explorer while you investigate why it is causing a crash.
    Also check out the event viewer to see if it sheds more light on the crash itself.
    Untitled.jpg
    This is a W7 example, it might not have changed much from XP
    Last edited by CLiNT; 2012-09-15 at 01:45.
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  3. #3
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    Yes, you can add an exception to DEP in XP, the same as in Win7. Screens are very similar, so I expect functionality to be similar too.

    @ dwsolo: DEP is there for a reason. It goes a long way to preventing potentially malicious software from exploiting vulnerabilities and executing arbitrary data as if it were program code. In that respect, rather like a UAC prompt from an unknown program, or a Firewall pop-up message, a DEP exception is trying to tell you something.

    Adding an exception to DEP for explorer.exe would seem to be reasonable while you investigate the issue, but is not a long term fix: I think your points 2 & 4 needs following up - make sure the machine is clean.
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    Thanks for recommendations so far. I'll bear all in mind when the laptop arrives on my table. Any further ideas welcome, especially from those who may have faced a similar problem and resolved it.
    Kind regards
    David
    dwsolo

  5. #5
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    well... it arrived and I checked for malware with malwarebytes and AVG 2012 and also cleaned up lots of stuff with CCleaner and tuneup utilities (the latter being provided by AVG for a once only free scan). When I then re-enabled DEP for windows explorer it still caused a the same problem, so, for the time being, I've re-excluded Windows Explorer from DEP. At least I made an image (using Macrium) and also another image using Easeus, so, if all goes wrong later, we can at least re-establish the operating system and data to today's date relatively easily. Maybe one day we can discover why DEP is behaving like this, but I think one solid day of research is enough for now... :-)

    David
    Kind regards
    David
    dwsolo

  6. #6
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    Solved anyway seems that the DEP popup could be prevented by disabling video thumbnails in WIndows explorer.
    Go to Start -> Run... and type regsvr32 /u shmedia.dll

    No idea why, but it worked anyway
    Kind regards
    David
    dwsolo

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