Notepad++ is a great editor... The regular expression facility is stunted, but I can live with that. It is OK for most find/replace situations, and for the occasional others I'll just hop across to UltraEdit (Unicode) or TextPad (ASCII only).

However, I can't live without a hex editor on tap!

The Notepad++ HexEditor plugin seems to work fine... I use it frequently.

For some reason unknown to me, this plugin is forcibly disabled by Notepad++ whenever I upgrade to the latest version (of Notepad++), with a message something like ".. due to instability issues". HexEditor.dll gets moved into a "quarantine" subfolder: .\disabled.

This sounds a bit ominous. I have searched high and low, and I have found nothing which makes any reference to this mysterious "instability". The plugin is available on the Notepad++ plugins page (which lists third-party plugins, and is not, strictly speaking, a Notepad++ page), and there is no mention of instability.

What's going on? Does it randomly get it wrong and corrupt data? Does it crash Notepad++?

Can I trust this plugin?

  • Interesting question? Could it be that the problem was fixed on plug-in side and the Notepad++ side wasn't notified of it? In the end, you could always ask developers why is the plug-in tagged incompatible.
    – AndrejaKo
    Jul 13, 2010 at 11:48
  • 1
    A Google search for Notepad++ HexEditor instability finds a thread (number 2 only to this Super User question) which suggests HexEditor "can crash Notepad++ in some rare cases".
    – Bavi_H
    Jul 14, 2010 at 4:04
  • 2
    ...And here's a relevant-looking bug tracker search for open HexEditor bugs: Notepad++ Plugins - Tracker: Bugs - Open - HexEditor
    – Bavi_H
    Jul 14, 2010 at 4:16
  • 3
    Thanks for the comments. I've been to Notepad++'s Sourceforge forum, and found some entries. 2009-12-09 HexEditor v0.9.5 vs N++ v5.6.1 2009-09-25 Hex editor 2009-09-11 Hex-Editor v0.9.5 available It seems safe data-wise, with some display bugs which they're working out.. Good enough for me, as my main concern was the question of data corruption.
    – Peter.O
    Jul 16, 2010 at 16:49

8 Answers 8


The Hex Editor plugin was disabled for being unstable. This means that the plugin crashed Notepad++ in some situations. I encountered this problem myself when trying to save an edited file.

Earlier versions of Notepad++ don't have those problems with the plugin.

  • Thanks for the comment... Perhaps I was using it in a way which didn't trigger the bug.... In the 10 months since I asked the question, I've worked around the issue by using Emacs as my "serious" editor... (actually I've shifted camps entirely to Ubuntu, where I can still use Notepad++; running in wine.. :)
    – Peter.O
    May 18, 2011 at 15:16
  • 1
    Plugin is enabled and working again May 27, 2015 at 13:20
  • Kind of mysterious, since I've been using Notepad++ with the Hex Editor plugin for 6 years and never seen any crashes related to the Hex Editor. I have worked on very large files also (up to 2 GB). Jul 10, 2017 at 7:52
  • @JuhaUntinen I never figured out what actually causes the crashes, I can only confirm that they can happen.
    – Michael K
    May 7, 2018 at 9:52
  • LOL why would one shift to an inferior OS while still have a working Windows license? Aug 20, 2021 at 7:12

Just put it back in the plugins folder and it works fine.

  • 4
    Bit of a pain every time Notepad++ upgrades.
    – Tom Bowen
    Mar 9, 2016 at 11:27

I too like the HexEditor plugin. I rolled back Notepad++ to an older version to be able to work with this plugin. Now I checked the latest version on Notepad++ (v5.9.2 Unicode) with the latest HexEditor plugin (v.0.9.5 Unicode), and it works! The plugin is no longer disabled.

  • It's available but the Stability still says there are reported problems.
    – PPC-Coder
    Jul 22, 2011 at 15:23

Simply copying HexEditor.dll back from disabled to pluggins folder solves the problem. I haven't come across any crash.


Some plugins are disabled by Notepad++ when you upgrade it :/. One of my favorite diff plugins got disabled a while back, and I have had to get a earlier version of Notepad++ to cope.


Why? I have discovered the reason why only recently, so I might as well share it here. Well, it's one of the reasons or one of the possible scenarios.

First of all, I only started using the Hex Editor plugin for Notepad++ only recently. So I was not aware that Notepad++ had stability issues with this plugin. But it figures! The plugin has not been updated for a very long time (try six years), while Notepad++ has been updated regularly (a dozen in a year). At some point, Notepad++ became incompatible with this plugin.

It's not a major issue the way I see it. But I can understand why the author of Notepad++ wants to move past this plugin and disable it each time Notepad++ is updated to a new version. The installer script moves the plugin to a subfolder named "disabled".

I had some NFO files on my computer recently, and when I right clicked on one of the files and chose to edit it in Notepad++ from the context menu, Notepad++ crashed. I thought that was weird. So I started Notepad++ and then dragged and dropped the file onto it and it worked. So it crashed each time I used the context menu to open the file, and it worked each time I dragged and dropped the file or used the open file dialog.

A few weeks later I got the prompt telling me that a new version of Notepad++ is available. So I downloaded and installed it. This is the first time I got the message telling me that the Hex Editor plugin was unstable and had to be moved to the "disabled" folder.

Dialog message

I had a thought that this might be what had been causing the crashes. As it turned out, it was! Right now I am using version 6.9.2 of Notepad++ and 0.9.5 of Hex Editor plugin on Windows 10 version 1511 (10586.494). As soon as I move the DLL file for the Hex Editor to the plugins folder to enable it, and then use the context menu to open a file, it crashes the program. If I shut it down, move the DLL file back to the disabled folder, then it does not crash when using the context menu.

Crash error

Note! This only happens if the file name extension is NFO! So for a file with the name extension of TXT is not affected. I have not tested a lot of the other file name extensions I have on my computer, but I did test a few of them (e.g. JPG) and it appears as if only files with NFO extensions are affected.

In case someone finds this interesting, here is what to do to replicate it.

  1. Install Notepad++ version 6.9.2.
  2. Install Hex Editor plugin version 0.9.5.
  3. Create a new dummy file on the Desktop named dummy.nfo.
  4. Right click on the file and choose Edit with Notepad++.

Note that some older versions of Notepad++ will trigger the bug as well. I don't know what version introduced this issue. But if you use a too old version then the error will not appear.


The Hex Editor plugin works for me without any hassles. I'm using Notepad++ 6.8.8 with Hex Editor 0.9.5.

I only found one issue, which is solvable, where Notepad++ fails to start correctly. Notepad++ can be seen in Task Manager and that it is consuming more and more memory. The reason for this behaviour is that the directory %APPDATA%\Notepad++\plugins\config is missing (e.g. for a newly created user).

To solve this:

  • End all the user's Notepad++ processes via Task Manager
  • Create the missing directory either via Windows Explorer or via the following command line
    mkdir "%APPDATA%\Notepad++\plugins\config"
  • After this Notepad++ will start normally again

Still it is a bug in Hex Editor with recent Notepad++ releases. But in my point of view nothing to call the Hex Editor plugin unstable.


There is only a problem the first time you launch the Hexeditor plugin.

The settings of Notepad++ and plugins are stored in your userprofile (%USERPROFILE%\Appdata\Roaming\Notepad++).

I found that when the files are created correctly then Notepad++ starts perfectly, but think it's a combination of files as I tried deleting one by one, but no result.

I removed all plugins and added one. I then started Notepad++, closed Notepad++, and added the next plugin until all your plugins were added.

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