30 April 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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Windows 10: Can’t uninstall Microsoft Security Essentials? No problem!
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80 thoughts on “Windows 10: Can’t uninstall Microsoft Security Essentials? No problem!

  • 13 April 2017 at 12:20
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    I had found on other websites a lot of tips, but nothing useful. This was the solution to my problem. Thanks!

    Reply
    • 4 June 2017 at 18:03
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      I also had this woe with my 64-bit installation. I had Microsoft Security Essentials fighting with Windows Defender, which in turn was giving the hairy eyeball (clash) with a Symantec security suite. This was a fantastic resource! I agree with you.

      Reply
  • 15 April 2017 at 21:51
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    As stated: “piece of cake”. Thank you!!!!!!!!!!! I struggled finding a simple solution that didn’t involve a rabbit hole.

    Reply
  • 17 April 2017 at 05:46
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    It work like a charm! Thank you

    Reply
  • 19 April 2017 at 04:02
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    Awesome. It was a piece of cake. I wish I had found this post when I upgraded last year!

    Reply
  • 23 April 2017 at 15:46
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    This was the only method that worked for me. Thanks

    Reply
  • 29 April 2017 at 15:01
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    Awesome, yet to check it worked after a reboot but it is the only ‘fix’ that gave me the uninstaller – cheers

    Reply
  • Pingback: Tutorial: How to Upgrade to Windows 10 for Free after July 29, 2016

  • 15 May 2017 at 05:12
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    Official Microsoft solution didn’t work, but yours worked perfectly! Thanks heaps!

    Reply
  • 10 August 2017 at 16:40
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    Excellent article and solution! Thank you

    Reply
  • 7 September 2017 at 02:43
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    Spectacular Article! Saved me alot of headaches!

    Reply
  • 27 September 2017 at 13:04
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    your a lifesaver, i was getting so frustrated and it worked.
    thank you!!!

    Reply
  • 21 October 2017 at 23:34
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    Thank you. Easy to follow and just what I needed.

    Reply
  • 8 November 2017 at 02:53
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    Oh thank you! This worked! tried other fixes for over an hour…this worked right away. Thank you…thank you!

    Reply
  • 21 November 2017 at 08:45
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    thank u soo much!!!!!

    Reply
  • 25 November 2017 at 01:36
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    Thank you. Worked great!

    Reply
  • 9 January 2018 at 03:21
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    Finally found a solution that works!
    Will thank you publicly on social media.
    (Is this a good thing?) 😉
    Thank you for ending more Microsoft Madness!

    Reply
  • 14 January 2018 at 03:40
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    After trying a lot of (Microsoft provided) solutions that didn’t work, yours does the trick!

    No more frustrations!

    Thank you!!!

    Reply
  • 17 January 2018 at 23:42
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    THANK YOU!!!I
    I’ve been trying to solve this since I upgraded last year!

    Reply
  • 8 February 2018 at 01:56
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    WOW. Perfect solution. The dialog boxes had no text for me but buttons worked great!

    Reply
  • 18 February 2018 at 15:58
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    …excellent… I had the problem when installing Bitdefender and Microsoft Security Client was hindering the installation, but no other way of deinstallation was working.
    In my Windows 10, there was no “properties image” – so I went directly to command prompt.
    Finally, it worked!
    Thank you!

    Reply
  • 31 May 2018 at 14:26
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    Thank a ton! You did save a lot of time!!

    Reply
  • 31 May 2018 at 21:49
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    A very clear and understandable description of the problem and the solution.
    Worked perfectly.

    Thank you!

    Reply
  • 25 July 2018 at 16:50
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    Thanks!! Your post die the trick

    Reply
  • Pingback: [OLD] Tutorial: How to Upgrade to Windows 10 for Free after July 29, 2016 | Tech Booze

  • 1 October 2019 at 10:58
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    Top : hat funktioniert!
    Vielen Dank

    Reply

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