What When DEP Shuts Down Windows Explorer?

Microsoft introduced Data Execution Prevention (DEP). DEP is a security feature that can help prevent damage to your computer from viruses and other security threats. DEP can help protect your computer by monitoring programs to make sure they use system memory safely. If a program tries running (also known as executing) code from memory in an incorrect way, DEP closes the program.

Sometimes DEP closes innocent programs considering them dangerous or infected. In some occasions it closes regular Windows programs and services. I grabbed screenshot of DEP closing Windows Explorer.

DEP Windows Explorer

In next screen it offers to send error report to Microsoft or you can chose to debug.

Error report

And after that you will be offered possibility to see what will be sent to Microsoft and what is privacy policy in this situation.

How to know if these system programs are infected and what to do?

First, if you are not an expert for operating systems and computers in general, it is good idea to contact one. Second, I guess you probably had this problem and looked for some resource on Internet. If you haven’t someone around to help you with issue, you may try this path:

  • Have up to date antivirus software on your computer. Check if that software has updated definitions. Scan your computer. If you are not sure, you can scan with various antivirus tools even online. Remember that most of companies who produce antivirus (antimalware) software offer online scanning but not cleaning. Anyway, this is good possibility to be surer if your computer is not infected.
  • Have up to date antispyware software. Check also if that software has updated definitions. Scan your computer. Do it in similar way as with antivirus.
  • Have Windows firewall enabled and properly configured or buy separate firewall software. Check its logs from time to time.

Bad news is that, even properly set, you are never absolutely secure. Hackers are very inventive people.

If you want to tell to DEP that program it keeps shutting down is program that you trust, you should, first, see if a DEP-compatible version of the program is available by visiting the software publisher’s website. If the publisher has not released an updated, DEP-compatible version of the program, you can turn off DEP for the program that was closed. You will be able to use the program, but it might be vulnerable to an attack that could spread to your other programs and files.

If you choose to turn off DEP for a program, it’s a good idea to check frequently for an updated version of the program and, after you update it, to turn on DEP again. To turn off DEP for a program, see how to change Data Execution Prevention settings here.

Again, remember that this might make it vulnerable to an attack.

Microsoft, in its DEP FAQ section says:

What should I do if DEP is closing a program that’s part of Windows, such as svchost.exe or explorer.exe?

The svchost.exe and explorer.exe programs are parts of the Windows operating system. If DEP closes them or other Windows services, the cause could be smaller programs, such as extensions, that are created by other software publishers and that operate inside Windows. If you have recently installed a program and notice DEP closing Windows-based programs, check with the software publisher to see if there is an updated, DEP-compatible version available, or try uninstalling the program.

2 Responses

  1. ivan

    I’m trying to fix this problem for days.But, I’ve got several problems:I’m using windows xp sp 2, and I can’t find dep-compatible version of windows explorer,my antivirus software(norton)suddenly stopped working!it says that my trial version has expired, but I had 1127 days left!Then I tryed to reinstall my windows, but I couldn’t,it says that some file is missing!but i is impossible,this is the first time I’m using my windows cd,and it is original by the way.now,every time I turn my laptop on, it asks me do I want to run windows xp or win xp setup.If I choose setup, it stops because of some file.But I can run my windows normally if I don’t touch dep window(your screenshot).If I choose to close it, I get the “send,don’t send” message, and when I choose “don’t”, my windows explorer disappears.And then, it reappears, and it is just repeating.Can you help me, please???

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