Game Help:Data Execution Prevention

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Data Execution Prevention (DEP) is a security feature in Microsoft Windows (an implementation of the NX bit technology) that can help prevent damage to your computer from viruses and other security threats. Harmful programs may attempt to attack Windows by attempting to run (also known as execute) code from system memory locations reserved for Windows and other authorized programs. These types of attacks may inflict serious harm to your computer (operating system, programs, and data).

DEP protects your computer by forbidding access to memory not reserved by the running application. If the processor notices a program on your computer using memory incorrectly, it halts exectuion (terminates the application).

Potential Cause and Solution

It seems that usually DEP crashes on The Sims 3 are triggered by the computer's graphics driver attempting to access memory it doesn't have permission to. You may be able to fix the problem while leaving DEP enabled by updating your graphic drivers. Instructions for indentifying your graphics device, downloading updated drivers, and installing them are available.

Diagnosing DEP Crashes

The Sims 3 produces exception (xcpt*.txt and xcpt*.mdmp) files in the user's My Documents directory when it crashes. To determine if the crash was caused by DEP:

  1. Open an xcpt*.txt file with Notepad or your favorite text editor.
  2. Scroll down to the [Exception info] section.
  3. Behind address:, does it have <unknown module>? If yes, DEP caused the crash. If no, something else caused the crash.

Applications That Can Diagnose DEP Crashes

Change DEP Settings

Note: If you change this setting to monitor all programs, you will have to add each program that DEP closes down to the exception list.

If you suspect that a program does not run correctly when DEP is enabled, check for a DEP-compatible version of the program or an update from the software publisher before changing any DEP settings.


For base game version 1.21 and newer. If you have Generations or newer, use this one.


For base game version 1.19 and older.

For help finding which version is installed, see Game Help:TS3 Patching Find Gameversion.

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