Viruses, worms, etc

I am occasionally told by users that one of my self-extracting zip files is infected (it happens a couple of times a year). This note is simply to assure users of PEAnut software that all my uploads are scanned and clean when they leave my desktop computer, and that they reside in a safe environment on my school’s server. I have no control over what happens after that, of course.


Operating systems are becoming more complicated, and I now receive news almost weekly that once-reliable PEAnut programs refuse to run when loaded onto new computers. These reports arrive from home and classroom users as well as from network supervisors. The symptoms vary — sometimes nothing whatever happens, and sometimes an error message like “Unhandled Exception #32747” appears when the program icon is double-clicked.

The first such report led to a prolonged investigation, and the culprit — Data Execution Protection (DEP) — was finally uncovered. I am happy to say that this has turned out to be the explanation for every subsequent report of this sort. The issue, which pertains to any of the newer versions of Windows — XP, Vista, and 7 — is this: If DEP is assigned the job of protecting all files, PEAnut programs will terminate as soon as they are launched. Any user can easily fine-tune this control, however, using the System section of the Control Panel. A generous user has provided the following illustrated, step-by-step procedure for doing so. Here are the same steps, without the illustrations.


The following summary is from a user:

I figured out what my problems with Winplot were. It occurred to me this morning that when I started using Winplot (a couple of years ago), I was installing the .exe file (and updates) in a folder different from the one in which I have stored the more recent updates. What was happening (without my realizing it) is that the winplot.exe file that was registered to be used in opening .wp2 and .wp3 files was an OLDER version of Winplot. I think that’s almost surely the reason why Winplot was crashing when I attempted to open a .wp2 or .wp3 file by first navigating to “My Computer” or “Windows Explorer” and clicking the icon for the file. Whenever I first opened Winplot directly (by clicking the shortcut on my desktop), I got the most RECENT version of winplot.exe that I had downloaded, and that was NOT crashing.

After solving that problem (by registering the NEW version of winplot.exe as the program to be opened when I click the icon for a .wp2 or .wp2 file), I WAS able to use Winplot by clicking the icons for the .wp2/.wp3 files (by first navigating to those files from “My Computer”). But I still had one problem to solve. On the older .wp2/.wp3 files, the Winplot window AND the .wp2/.wp3 files opened simultaneously. The newer files would not open directly in this way. Then I decided to re-register the file types, so I opened “My Computer”, went to the View menu, chose “Folder Options,” clicked the “File Types” tab, and deleted the “registration” of Winplot as the file to be opened with .wp2 and .wp3 files. Then I re-registered these file types (using the “Open With” dialog box), and voila! Winplot is working fine now!

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