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  1. I was wondering do we need to turn on DEP for all programs or only essential Windows programs and services?

  2. Also, how do we turn off DEP for essential Windows programs and services?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Currently, I haven't seen any issues with turning on DEP fro all processes. I have the setting running on a SBS 2003 and two XP machines (all unknown Optiplexes) and haven't run into any issues.

That said, I'd at least test it. The disadvantage of DEP was performance, but more importantly comparability. It broke a lot of drivers when it first came out (no surprise there). But that was back in the days of XP SP2. . .

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Hmm, I'd like performance though, how do we turn off DEP for even essential windows processes? – Pacerier Oct 12 '11 at 13:33
There's no performance penalty from DEP. There is a tiny performance penalty from PAE (which is required for DEP) because of an extra level of page table lookups, but the delta is so small that it's difficult to benchmark and impossible to perceive. What's more, x86 CPUs in long mode (e.g. 64-bit mode) require yet another level of page table lookups, and nobody complains about the "performance penalty" of 64-bit mode. – afrazier Oct 12 '11 at 14:27
@afrazier: Yeah, I was parroting someone about the performance thing. I was not familiar with DEP testing enough to comment on anything about performance. All my experiences with DEP were old old device drivers getting broken up during testing. . . – surfasb Oct 12 '11 at 15:02
Yeah, poorly written software (particularly drivers) was an actual problem. It's just that some people (like the OP) are latching onto some theoretical performance loss to try and say that PAE (and, by extension, NX) is a bad thing and needs to be disabled. – afrazier Oct 12 '11 at 15:16
@afrazier: I'm with ya. I came to the conclusion long ago that the computer I use was designed by people far smarter than I am. But for everything else, there is Mastercard. . . – surfasb Oct 12 '11 at 15:22

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