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!

  • 1 May 2016 at 14:16
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    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.

    Reply
  • 15 June 2016 at 12:31
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    You’re my hero … super description and working

    Read abouth 50 different solutions … all crap

    your’s easy and working

    Reply
  • 20 June 2016 at 08:08
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    I’ve spent weeks trying to fix this problem, and your solution worked first time. I owe you a beer – THANKS!!!

    Reply
  • 21 June 2016 at 15:43
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    Many thanks, it worked atlast. I was trying various ways and means provided on web by numerous people for many days. You are great !!!

    Reply
  • 29 July 2016 at 15:29
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    Thank you so much!! After trying numerous things to get defender turned back on, this actually worked.

    Reply
  • 30 July 2016 at 16:22
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    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

    Reply
  • 25 August 2016 at 05:02
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    Nice job on the fix! Wasted my time trying other solutions till I came across yours.

    Reply
  • 11 September 2016 at 11:18
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    wow.. absolutely fantastic..Kudos to you.. GENIUS ..
    It worked for me like a charm…
    Thank you…

    Reply
  • 23 September 2016 at 07:32
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    You are a genius!!! Very easy, even for me 😉

    Reply
  • 1 October 2016 at 07:27
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    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

    Reply
  • 1 October 2016 at 10:50
    Permalink

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

    Reply
  • 3 October 2016 at 14:49
    Permalink

    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 🙂

    Reply
  • 12 October 2016 at 09:59
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    Others have said it all. 1000 thanks, I wasted a tonne of time with other ‘solutions’ before yours. Excellent descriptions

    Reply
  • 21 October 2016 at 22:44
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    Great article! Thanks for posting this.

    Reply
  • 11 November 2016 at 03:56
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    Awesome thanks a lot mate!

    Reply
  • 11 November 2016 at 17:34
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    Thank you so much… worked perfect!

    Reply
  • 18 November 2016 at 14:39
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    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.

    Reply
  • 18 November 2016 at 14:42
    Permalink

    with regards
    waiting for reply
    thank you again

    Reply
  • 20 November 2016 at 11:35
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    Thank you .It helps a lot and it was so easy to do and to understand.

    Reply
  • 23 November 2016 at 23:19
    Permalink

    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.

    Reply
    • 1 December 2016 at 12:14
      Permalink

      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

      Reply
  • 30 November 2016 at 16:34
    Permalink

    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.

    Reply
  • 16 December 2016 at 14:49
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    You’re a rock star!!!
    Worked like a charm. No crazy hacks, just a straight forward step by step solution.

    Reply
  • 27 December 2016 at 17:49
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    Thanks! Worked like a charm. Straightforward instructions and process.

    Reply
  • 4 January 2017 at 03:23
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    Worked perfect. Thank you!

    Reply
  • 4 January 2017 at 19:01
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    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!

    Reply
  • 20 January 2017 at 14:22
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    Worked fine – Thang you!

    Reply
  • 21 January 2017 at 22:57
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    Thanks, worked for me.

    Reply
  • 22 January 2017 at 23:38
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    THaaaannnkks!!! many time searching for a solution. Many thanks

    Reply
  • 23 January 2017 at 18:46
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    Thanks!!! Perfect instructions … and it worked!

    Reply
  • 25 January 2017 at 13:06
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    Hi, so happy when I found this guide … but when I type in: “C:\Program Files\Microsoft Security Client\setup.exe” /x /disableoslimit, it returns Access denid … even though I am admit (or at least I thought so …)

    Please help.

    Regards,
    Soren

    Reply
  • 25 January 2017 at 13:29
    Permalink

    @Soren
    Weird… Well, if your command prompt window has the title:
    Administrator: Command Prompt
    Then I’m not sure what the problem is… 🙁

    Reply
  • 8 February 2017 at 18:25
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    You saved my day! Thanks a million.

    Reply
  • 9 February 2017 at 00:30
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    Great! thank you a lot!

    Reply
  • 10 February 2017 at 03:00
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    WooHoo says it all! Thanks

    Reply
  • 23 February 2017 at 00:15
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    GREAT STUFF!!

    Took me 4 hours to fix my father-in-law’s computer.
    First I had to uninstall 3rd party AVG and then I had to figure out that MS Security Essentials were stopping Windows Defender from starting and then I finally saw this article on how to remove the stupid program that MS themselves couldn’t uninstall properly!

    THANKS!

    Reply
  • 5 March 2017 at 17:23
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    Thank you! I have been searching high and low to find a solution for the last 3 days.

    None of the other solutions offered even came close to making anything happen.

    Cheers

    Reply
  • 12 March 2017 at 10:19
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    Better even than microsoft’s solution, which doesn’t work.

    Worked for me. Windows 10, upgraded from windows 7. Kudos!

    Reply
  • 17 March 2017 at 05:31
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    Bingo! This works perfect.

    Have tried various other ways but this worked like a charm in few minutes.

    Thanks a lot man.

    Reply
  • 21 March 2017 at 00:42
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    Thank you, thank you!!!

    Reply
  • 21 March 2017 at 03:25
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    Fantastic! Even Microsoft itself doesn’t have a solution for this annoying Windows 10 Bug. The upgrade tools should check for Sec Essentials prior to upgrade and warning end user or remove the program during the upgrade process. Neither of these options has done!

    Reply
  • 30 March 2017 at 07:14
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    Danke sehr. Das war sehr hilflich von Ihnen 😉

    Reply
  • 31 March 2017 at 22:42
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    Thank you very much. It was really annoying and all other sites did not help – you did.

    Thanks!

    Reply

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