For anyone attempting to install or use Adobe Audition on Windows Vista SP1, you can forget about it. Something about Adobe Audition or one of its dependencies causes it to crash immediately on startup, with Vista informing you that it has "rescued" your system from an attempted DEP violation.
The "good news" is, if you’re on Windows Vista SP1 x86, DEP doesn’t get in the way as often. And for when it does, Windows Vista x86 lets you disable DEP and continue along on your merry way. But Windows Vista x64 isn’t as forgiving – even after you use a program like EasyBCD to disable DEP entirely, you can’t stop hardware-based DEP or exempt software from the protection list on 64-bit operating systems.
Adobe has yet to provide an official (or even an unofficial) response on the matter; but seeing as Adobe hasn’t properly touched the Audition code-base since buying out Cool Edit Pro, it’s probably safe to assume we won’t be seeing an update anytime too soon. (for instance, Adobe Audition 3.0, released in Sep. of 2007, still doesn’t have that omnipresent 3.0.1 patch out yet).
A program’s executable code is split into multiple sections depending on what’s stored in it and what it’s used for. Some of these sections are marked as "no-execute" in the extended x86 instruction set. However, an incorrectly-written program will either incorrectly try to run code that shouldn’t be executed or else mistakenly mark executable code as "no-execute" – both of which will cause DEP to interfere and get Windows to kill the process.
The interesting thing here is – why didn’t Windows Vista RTM cause DEP to fire as well? After all, if Adobe Audition is attempting to execute portions of its code that shouldn’t be touched, Windows should block the attempt SP1 or not.
One possible explanation is that Adobe Audition is attempting to run code from a core Windows library, but it’s accessing the code in a non-standard way that breaks when that library has been updated or modified. Or perhaps its determining the entrypoint for a library file dynamically, and something about Windows Vista SP1 makes it start at the wrong place.
Either way, it seems you shouldn’t be using Windows Vista x64 SP1 if you depend on audio or video encoding to make a living. The sad thing is, 64-bit operating systems were often touted as "the answer" to encoders’ needs, between the slightly-optimized processing of encoder instructions and the ability to support 4GiB+ of memory; yet here we are at square zero once more.
Update (April 21st, 2008)
Reader Mike B. wrote in letting us know that x86 versions of Windows Vista SP1 do not trigger a DEP alert at all, so it seems this is a problem exclusive to Vista x64 machines running SP1. If you are using Windows Vista SP1 x86, you shouldn’t have to worry about this issue. Thanks, Mike!