What is Data Execution Prevention?

Data Execution Prevention (DEP) is a security feature that can help prevent damage to your computer from viruses and other security threats.

Computer programs set aside a portion of your computer's memory for data, and another portion for instructions that your programs use. Hackers can try to trick programs into running (also known as executing) harmful data placed in your computer's memory as if it were instructions. This could allow a hacker to take control of your computer.

DEP can help protect your computer by monitoring your programs to make sure that they use computer memory safely. If DEP notices a program trying to run instructions from the portion of memory used for data, DEP closes the program and notifies you.

If you need information about how to turn off DEP for a program you trust, see Change Data Execution Prevention settings.