Windows Vista SP1, Adobe Audition, and DEP

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!

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  • 14 thoughts on “Windows Vista SP1, Adobe Audition, and DEP

    1. Having both version of Vista Ulimate (32 bit and 64 bit) I have to say that the 64 bit version is more stable, faster and uses the installed memory more efficiently. That said it is also true that many applications just don’t work with it.

      Who’s fault would this be? It would be safe to say that both the OS (Microsoft) and the application providers (you name the software company and they are all included) are to blame.

      Still MS should offer some assistance in resolving these issues as it will only help them and the customers in the long run.


    2. I’d originally considered the possibility of MS being responsible, but ruled it out after several hours of deliberation on the matter….

      For one thing, DEP checking is done by both the CPU and the OS (depending on what’s being done and what hardware is available). On this machine hardware DEP is enabled, and the DEP controller on Intel’s CPUs probably isn’t to blame here since at the low-level ASM there isn’t much room for incorrect interpretation of execute vs no-execute code.

      To be fair, Microsoft was very cooperative throughout the SP1 beta program with ISVs and end-users alike; it’s a shame we hadn’t noticed this problem before SP1 RTM was released or perhaps we wouldn’t be in this boat ATM..

    3. Well, I was very skeptical about installing SP1 because Vista itself is a royal pile of trash. I installed it foolishly after other friends of mine convinced me that it was definitely better than XP. Here I am 5 months later wishing I never listened (several friends of mine have actually “upgraded” to XP as well since then). For me, I just needed it to work with Adobe Audition version 3 so I stuck with it (don’t have the time to re-installing SP and all my applications again).

      Then I read this article while surfing the web on my Macbook (while SP1 is installing on my Vista machine), and I almost died. You mean Vista SP1 is going to cause a problem with Audition 3? A problem I did not have with Vista before the SP? Great! So I let the install complete and immediately launched Audition 3. Guess What? It works fine!

      The first sentence of this article appears as a death blow to Audition 3 compatibility in Windows Vista, but for me it works just fine. Since I also have 3 other friends that have Vista SP1 and Audition working perfectly together is it safe to assume this article is based on one forum post you read? Sounds to me like there is a conflict with a piece of hardware or software on SOME machines. Anyway, I just wanted to post to let users know that Audition 3 DOES work with Vista and Vista SP1. If you DO run into this problem, it might be helpful to contact Microsoft or Adobe support and give them some information about your particular systems.

    4. Seems this isn’t the first issue I’ve heard about Adobe Software and DEP. At some point these third party vendors need to accept some responsibility with making their software more secure.

    5. I all, just for information, i use Windows Vista 32 bit and before SP1 my Audition 3 works perfectly! Now (after installing SP1) Audition starts regularly, i can assign channels, i can do everything… but when i record i have LOTS of problems, glitches, missing audio in the record, and sometimes the record totally stops (timeline and time record go on, but not the Wave writing on hard disk). I have update audio drivers, video drivers, asio drivers… but i resolved nothing! So, DEP is a 64 bit systems issue, but it appears there’s problems in 32 bits too!

    6. I’m not sure if this applies to Adobe Audition, but I found that after upgrading to Vista SP1 on x64, NONE of the trial versions of any Adobe software work. They all experience problems in the initial loading, with the usual situation being “I went to run it and nothing happens, even though it’s in the task manager”

      The update found here, applies to Adobe Acrobat, but actually fixed the trial version glitches:

      Originally, I thought it was DEP , but after rebooting the pc, all the trial software started working after using the patch.

    7. With SP1 for Vista X64 installed, roll your CPU clock forward by at least 30 days, run Audition 3 and it should prompt for activation. Activate the application and then test it out. Once it is running, go ahead and roll your clock back to the proper date.

    8. Shawnc is right, all you need to do is set your clock forward. Just remember to set you clock back BEFORE you click the activate button (otherwise it won’t work).

    9. this is not the case i have recently purchased a acer comp with 4 gig ram and quad proccesor with windows vista home premium for what i understand its x84. and i get a dep problem every time i called microsoft and the wanted 120 dollars and tried to sell me a bunch of crap. that ofered me no solution. i think that the fix should be free. because we have purchased software that is extreemly expensive and cannot get reimbured for i believe that microsoft should get their heads out their but and do somthing about it and work on their customer service a little bit instead of trying to gouge out pockets for more cash. i had no problems runninng this program on windows xp. so in case i dont like where microsoft is going with their new products.

    10. weird thing is i had audition for about a year now(not installed), i installed vista a few months ago, maybe 6, or 7 (64bit). I had forgot about the Adobe Audition until i needed it last night for a project i was doing and Soundbooth cs4 wouldn’t do what i wanted, i thought they would of combined the two in cs4 (but no). getting back to my point. the ironic part is that this fix just come out. if i needed to use it anysooner i would have really been screwed being that soundbooth i great but audition was giving me features that should of been in soundbooth cs4.


    11. Good news…there’s a new 3.0.1 patch for Audition 3 as of sometime in December 08 and I just installed it and Audition 3 is running under Vista 64 with no errors (so far).

      Now I just need to figure out how to get my Lexicon Lambda to record but allow Windows to play back…

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