Tuesday, May 3, 2005


Microsoft Reader error 0x667194e0 on Windows 2003 with SP1

I recently bought some Microsoft Reader eBooks from Fictionwise. I was able to read my eBooks on my iPAQ h4150 but they bombed on my PC with the following error:

Microsoft Reader: MSReader.exe - Application Error
The instruction at "0x667194e0" referenced memory at "0x00000000". The memory could not be "written".

Fictionwise support did a great job of helping me but in the end I stumbled upon the fix myself.

The problem is the Data Execution Prevention (DEP) technology used in Service Pack 1 on Windows 2003 and SP2 on Windows XP. DEP kills programs that does something dangerous. Data Execution Prevention should display a message asking you if you want to allow the program to run anyway.

Why did not DEP display a message on my PC?
Windows collects information about programs that crash and displays a "do you want to send a report to Microsoft" dialog when you are connected to the internet. DEP uses the same system to ask you if you want to let the dangerous program run.

I change office, proxy and ip settings several times a day so I always boot without a network cable plugged in. The notification system decides that I am not connected to internet so it doesn't ask me if I want to report the problems or let me now that something is wrong. I rebooted today after uninstalling a lot of evaluation software and the notification system started telling me of all the programs that has crashed in the last month. In the end it finally showed me the "Data Execution Prevention" dialog box, asking me if it should stop "Microsoft Reader" or let it run.

How can you configure DEP on your computer?

  • Open System Properties, click Start, click Control Panel, and then double-click System.

  • Click the Advanced tab and, under Performance, click Settings.

  • Click the Data Execution Prevention tab.

I added Microsoft Reader to the list of exceptions and I can finally read Microsoft Reader DRM protected eBooks on my PC as well as on my Pocket PC!

What dangerous operation was Microsoft Reader performing?
I do not know what Microsoft Reader does, but it triggered DEP when it displayed this dialog box:

Text-to-Speech cannot be used with Owner-Exclusive eBooks. Do you want to continue reading this eBook without Text-to-Speech

A combination of booting without a network cable and DRM left me in the dark for the better part of a week. Then again; I have never had much luck with DRM protected eBooks

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