Home > Computers > Windows 10: Can’t uninstall Microsoft Security Essentials? No problem!

Windows 10: Can’t uninstall Microsoft Security Essentials? No problem!

April 30th, 2016

Microsoft Security Essentials vs Windows DefenderYou upgrade to Windows 10. All seems to be going well.

There’s only one problem: Every time you reboot, you get an error message about Microsoft Security Essentials.

“No problem!” you think. I’ll just uninstall it. Nope!

Worse yet, Windows 10 is very confused, since Windows Defender is basically the same program. Defender won’t run, and neither will Security Essentials.

What to do? Read on!

This is a surprisingly common problem.

According to Microsoft, when you upgrade to Windows 10, MS Security Essentials should be uninstalled automagically. This is because Windows Defender is basically the same thing.

But, that’s not what happens. Instead, you’re stuck in Security Limbo.

You can tell you still have Microsoft Security Essentials running if you see the green icon in your task bar in Windows 10:

MS Security Essentials is still there?!

Oops!

If you try to uninstall the program, you get this:

MS Security Essentials - Can't uninstall!
Well, that’s lame. You’re trying to UNinstall… Fear not!

Open File Explorer (Win-E).

Navigate to: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Security Client

MS SE Removal on Windows 10, Step 1
Right-click the file Setup.exe, and choose Properties. You’ll see this guy:

MS SE Removal on Windows 10, Step 2
Click the Change settings for all users box.

MS SE Removal on Windows 10, Step 3

Change the Compatibility mode settings as shown (use compatibility mode for Windows 7), and then click OK.

Go ahead and close File Explorer, since you won’t need it any more.

Next, right-click the Start button, and choose Command Prompt (Admin).

Paste the following line into the Command Prompt window, and press Enter:

“C:\Program Files\Microsoft Security Client\setup.exe” /x /disableoslimit

MS SE Removal on Windows 10, Step 4
If a generic box pops up with a question about uninstalling, just click OK. That will launch the MS Security Essentials Uninstaller, like so:

MS SE Removal on Windows 10, Step 5
Just click the Uninstall button, and you’re almost done!

The last step is to make sure Windows Defender is updated.

Just click Start, type defender, and click on the Windows Defender item to launch it.

You should see this screen:

MS Security Essentials uninstall on Windows 10, Step 6
Click the Update definitions button. You can close the Defender window now and just let it work in the background. Now you’re done!

If for some reason Defender won’t run, just reboot.

From this point on, you can pretty much forget that Windows Defender is there. It will work automatically in the background just like MS Security Essentials did in Windows 7.

Piece of cake. 😀

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  1. Jacques
    May 1st, 2016 at 14:16 | #1

    Thanks for the info Scott. Very useful and well explained as usual.

    Looking for an article explaining what we can do when the windows icon does not work when clicking the left side of the mouse. I know that we can use the right side of the mouse to have another menu but I don’t why but from time to time the left side seems to be deactivated.

  2. The Seiko
    June 15th, 2016 at 12:31 | #2

    You’re my hero … super description and working

    Read abouth 50 different solutions … all crap

    your’s easy and working

  3. Carl
    June 20th, 2016 at 08:08 | #3

    I’ve spent weeks trying to fix this problem, and your solution worked first time. I owe you a beer – THANKS!!!

  4. zagazeek
    June 21st, 2016 at 15:43 | #4

    Many thanks, it worked atlast. I was trying various ways and means provided on web by numerous people for many days. You are great !!!

  5. Matjaž
    July 6th, 2016 at 09:21 | #5

    It works! Thanks man!

  6. mandy
    July 29th, 2016 at 15:29 | #6

    Thank you so much!! After trying numerous things to get defender turned back on, this actually worked.

  7. feh5165
    July 30th, 2016 at 16:22 | #7

    thanks. this is one of the frustrating microsoft issues that prevent a good user experience. the product isnt bad, just little things like this and defender incompatibility

  8. burned
    August 25th, 2016 at 05:02 | #8

    Nice job on the fix! Wasted my time trying other solutions till I came across yours.

  9. rosli
    August 27th, 2016 at 17:49 | #9

    tq for ur info

  10. Shakir
    September 11th, 2016 at 11:18 | #10

    wow.. absolutely fantastic..Kudos to you.. GENIUS ..
    It worked for me like a charm…
    Thank you…

  11. Donna
    September 13th, 2016 at 22:16 | #11

    Very nice. Thanks!!!

  12. Karin
    September 23rd, 2016 at 07:32 | #12

    You are a genius!!! Very easy, even for me 😉

  13. Ivor
    October 1st, 2016 at 07:27 | #13

    Fantastic! I’ve been searching the web and Microsoft’s Community website for the past week trying to remove MSE from Windows 10 without any luck. I was able to follow your clear instructions that worked like a charm. A shortcut to your website has now been saved on my desktop. You’re a genius. Thank you so much

  14. andré V
    October 1st, 2016 at 10:50 | #14

    It’s the only working solution I found !!!
    Thanks a lot
    #workingsolutiontouninstalldefenderonwindows10
    Hourra 🙂

  15. Stephen
    October 3rd, 2016 at 14:49 | #15

    Thank you so so much been trying lots of other stuff to get rid of SE but none worked. This worked as easy to do. Thanks so much 🙂

  16. Fred
    October 12th, 2016 at 09:59 | #16

    Others have said it all. 1000 thanks, I wasted a tonne of time with other ‘solutions’ before yours. Excellent descriptions

  17. Arian
    October 21st, 2016 at 22:44 | #17

    Great article! Thanks for posting this.

  18. Christian Bourque
    November 11th, 2016 at 03:56 | #18

    Awesome thanks a lot mate!

  19. Don Shafer
    November 11th, 2016 at 17:34 | #19

    Thank you so much… worked perfect!

  20. November 16th, 2016 at 23:21 | #20

    Thanks Scott, you saved the day! Great instructions and solution.

  21. surya
    November 18th, 2016 at 14:39 | #21

    Thank you very much for the very clearly explained solution…
    but it didn’t work for me..
    when I paste “C:\Program Files\Microsoft Security Client\setup.exe” /x /disableoslimit in cmdpromt and after choosing option yes, another box will appear rather than MS essential uninstaller..

    that different box says…

    The Microsoft Security Client Installation Wizard cant find files that are necessary to complete the installation.
    To install this program, please download the installation again from the Microsoft Security Client website.

  22. surya
    November 18th, 2016 at 14:42 | #22

    with regards
    waiting for reply
    thank you again

  23. Thaer Taha
    November 20th, 2016 at 11:35 | #23

    Thank you .It helps a lot and it was so easy to do and to understand.

  24. Sinchan
    November 23rd, 2016 at 23:19 | #24

    Same Surya’s problem:
    when I paste “C:\Program Files\Microsoft Security Client\setup.exe” /x /disableoslimit in cmdpromt and after choosing option yes, another box will appear rather than MS essential uninstaller..

    that different box says…

    The Microsoft Security Client Installation Wizard cant find files that are necessary to complete the installation.
    To install this program, please download the installation again from the Microsoft Security Client website.

    • Surya Bista
      December 1st, 2016 at 12:14 | #25

      Dear friend
      I got the solution for me

      I again upgraded win10 to newer version of Windows10 from Microsoft website.
      There is a option to go for anniversary upgrade in Microsoft website.

      Go through it, might be helpful

      Thank you

  25. Granddaddy
    November 30th, 2016 at 16:34 | #26

    Bless you. This worked for me. I thought the Win10 installation upgrade from Win7 had really messed up my granddaughters’ computer. I found your explanation and in 10 minutes it was fixed. As frequently happens, Microsoft was no help at all in fixing the installation problem they caused.

  26. lucio
    December 4th, 2016 at 19:16 | #27

    Thank you!

  27. rob
    December 8th, 2016 at 19:35 | #28

    Thank you very much!!!

  28. Ross
    December 16th, 2016 at 14:49 | #29

    You’re a rock star!!!
    Worked like a charm. No crazy hacks, just a straight forward step by step solution.

  29. Mary Lou
    December 27th, 2016 at 17:49 | #30

    Thanks! Worked like a charm. Straightforward instructions and process.

  30. Steve
    January 4th, 2017 at 03:23 | #31

    Worked perfect. Thank you!

  31. Ron Fritzemeier
    January 4th, 2017 at 19:01 | #32

    Kudos – just upgraded a client’s workstation from 7 running MSE, and unsuccessfully tried half a dozen other suggestions around the internet before coming across yours, which worked! Splendid, cheers!

  32. Richard
    January 18th, 2017 at 12:31 | #33

    Thank you so much!

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