Early in the life cycle of the development of TAS Professional and Advanced Accounting 7.x, it seemed to us that it would be a good idea to compress our executable files primarily to reduce the download time of installation files, and subsequent updates involving those EXE's. At the time, producing lean and mean EXE files also seemed virtuous and in the best interest of our users.
An unfortunate consequence of packing or compressing executable files (which is something very different than packing a data file via a rebuild or reindex and also in this context very different from other kinds of file compression), however, is that they can lead to being falsely identified by anti-virus programs as containing malware. And, when attempting to execute programs under these circumstances, the executable can be completely stopped dead in its tracks.
The process of decompressing an executable actually leads to it taking more computer memory when run, causes it to also initially run more slowly, and can create other performance bottlenecks. Counter-intuitively, the larger-sized files can therefore actually run faster (modern executable files are typically not completely read and placed into memory all at once, so even very large executable sizes usually lead to little to no loss in execution time even across a network). In our testing after removing compression, we found that they in fact did not run slower, and this solved the problem of potential false positives with respect to some third party anti-virus and related software.
So, in 2012, we abandoned the practice of compressing executable files.
If you receive a message like this and you in fact trust the source (and also inspect the properties of the underlying file, and also conduct some on-line research), you could temporarily disable your anti-virus software to see if the “has stopped working” message is overcome (or, better, add the executable as an exclusion; your anti-virus software should - and in fact must - have the ability to add exceptions including telling it to not scan data files in order to improve performance and false positives that could lead to data loss, etc.).
In the case of our executable files, the best solution is to simply contact us for a replacement. The easiest way to accomplish this is to simply update to a more current version that contains the uncompressed executable.
Despite our wanting to shrink our executable files and provide smaller files to end users to decrease download times, in this case it turned out that bigger is better.