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Execute Disable Bit

Common Options : Enabled, Disabled

Quick Review

This BIOS feature is actually a toggle for the processor's Execute Disable Bit feature. In fact, the acronym XD is short for Execute Disable and is specific to Intel's implementation. AMD's implementation is called NX, short for No Execute.

When enabled, the processor prevents the execution of code in data-only memory pages. This provides some protection against buffer overflow attacks.

When disabled, the processor will not restrict code execution in any memory area. This makes the processor more vulnerable to buffer overflow attacks.

It is highly recommended that you enable this BIOS feature for increased protection against buffer overflow attacks.

However, please note that the Execute Disable Bit feature is a hardware feature present only in newer Intel processors. If your processor does not support Execute Disable Bit, then this BIOS feature will have no effect.

In addition, you must use an operating system that supports the Execute Disable Bit feature. Currently, that includes the following operating systems :

  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003 with Service Pack 1, or later.
  • Microsoft Windows XP with Service Pack 2, or later.
  • Microsoft Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005, or later.
  • SUSE Linux 9.2, or later.
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3 Update 3, or later.

Incidentally, some applications and device drivers attempt to execute code from the kernel stack for improved performance. This will cause a page-fault error if Execute Disable Bit is enabled. In such cases, you will need to disable this BIOS feature.

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