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I recently wrote about the impact of DEP on .NET applications due to changes in the .NET Framework 2.0 SP1. A couple of days later I came across Michael Howard’s post about new APIs related to DEP. As Michael points out, in Windows Vista SP1, Windows XP SP3 and Windows Server 2008, it is possible for developers to enable DEP for an application at runtime instead of using a linker switch or being forced into setting NXCOMPAT bit by the C# compiler. The new function SetProcessDEPPolicy, allows the running process to change the DEP settings for the process calling it. I think this is a much more flexible option since it puts application developers in control of using DEP for their applications. Michael also explains the options available in SetProcessDEPPolicy API which allows the application that is using the old ATL code to enable DEP, and not throw the DEP exception at runtime. Raymond Chen has written about how in Windows XP, DEP will not throw an exception for what he calls “well-known DEP-voilating thunks”. The new DEP API brings this feature to WinXP SP3, Vista, and Windows Server 2008. Now if only Microsoft would release a hotfix for the C# compiler to provide a /NXCOMPAT switch, the .NET development world would be a much better place.

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