Joleon Lescott was the hero for Villa, just days after being involved in a heated exchange with disgruntled fans, as his header was the difference at Villa Park in what was finally a positive day for Remi Garde's men.
Despite their abysmal run of form going into the match, Villa made a decent start with Leandro Bacuna and Jordan Ayew having shots blocked inside the opening five minutes.
But Alan Pardew's Palace showed their abundance in talent as Bakary Sako rifled a powerful shot over the bar in the 20th minute before Damien Delaney failed to take advantage of an excellent Yohan Cabaye cross.
Garde had a cause for encouragement as the first half came to a close, with a series of crosses putting the Eagles' defence under pressure and he would have been content to go into the real at 0-0.
The home side picked up where they left off in the second 45 as Libor Kozak tested Wayne Hennessy with seven minutes gone on the second-half clock.
Lescott then lifted the roof off Villa Park in the 58th minute as his header from Jordan Veretout's corner squeezed past Hennessy to give his side a much-needed 1-0 lead.
Palace attempted to get back into the contest, but Cabaye's free-kick was blocked and cleared, before Connor Wickham saw a long range effort go close.
In the end, however, Villa held on to secure their first league victory since the opening day of the season which keeps them at the bottom of the table but now only four points behind Sunderland and eight points adrift of safety.
2015/16 BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE - SEASON SCORES
Match report by Joe Baker