Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums

Cannot turn on Windows Defender

  1. #1

    Cannot turn on Windows Defender

    Hi guys!

    I'm new to the forums (first post) so please be kind, haha!

    I have recently built a PC myself and had no issues whatsoever, until the other day when an Action Centre notification popped up. For some reason, Spyware and Virus protection have both turned off automatically and when I am prompted to turn them back on, I get an error saying "Action Centre can't turn on Windows Defender. Please try again later."

    I have tried the services.msc method and tried to activate WinDefend that way, but encounter another error "Windows could not start the WinDefend service on Local Computer. Error 2: The system cannot find the file specified."

    I have looked up this issue with no resolution yet - as most of the solutions are for people that have installed third party Protection Programs like AVG, Norton etc.

    I haven't installed any programs like that, and have also checked in the Control Panel to make sure one didn't install itself automatically with an install of another program.

    If anyone could help me out with some tips, that would be greatly appreciated.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2

    Southern California
    Posts : 788
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center x64

    Hey mate,

    This is not a solution to your problem, but hear me out. Consider another AV for a moment. I used to use Defender exclusively until I met Avast!, which runs faster than Defender and is better at catching malware, as numerous tests show. So I would recommend installing both Avast! and another program called Mbam from Use both of their full scans to check your computer for infection (because defender was somehow disabled).

    Then, either we can try to fix defender, or you can stick with Avast! The choice, is yours.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3

    Have you tried running a SFC yet to see if there are problems that need to be repaired?

    SFC /SCANNOW Command - Run in Windows 8

    Be sure to run SFC 3X since it doesn't always fix everything on the 1st 2 tries.

    It's possible you picked up some malware that's preventing Defender from running. Try doing a scan with the following tools:

    Malwarebytes (the free version will work fine). If MBAM finds anything after a full system scan, check the boxes of found items & quarantine them.

    TDSSKiller (to rule out the possibility of rootkits)

    TDSSKiller Download


    AdwCleaner Download
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4

    Posts : 1
    Windows 8

    Finally Figured it out... HP Laptop

    First make sure you delete the Norton trial that came on your computer. Next on the bottom right corner of your screen next to the time and battery usage there is a tiny white arrow. when u click it brings up icons. One is a little flag. When u click that the flag it tells u important messages on your computer and one will say "turn on anti-virus". Once you click that windows defender pops up and starts running.

    I tried all the other steps to no avail. this is the only thing that worked. Hope it helps someone

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

Cannot turn on Windows Defender
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