Woody Leonhard's no-bull news, tips and help for Windows and Office
Home icon Home icon Home icon Email icon RSS icon
  • Windows Defender issues

    Posted on January 7th, 2017 at 14:48 woody 20 comments

    Long-time AskWoody denizen GW writes:

    I use Windows 8.1 and have set Windows Update to “check for updates but let me choose whether to download and install them”

    In October 2016 when Microsoft changed their method of updating through Windows Update I decided to reluctantly take the Group A approach. I had hoped that by doing this, the whole process would be less frustrating. However this hasn’t been the case

    I have progressively had more problems with getting Defender to work

    It seems that once there are patches listed in Windows Update it won’t list any defender definition updates and if they aren’t listed in Windows Update I can’t update manually update with Windows Defender. The only way I can get around this is to manually download the definition updates directly from the Microsoft site.

    However once I installed the December 2016 patches through Windows Update the definition updates have been appearing on a daily basis in Windows Update. I haven’t had a problem since

    As a matter interest when I install monthly patches through Windows Update the process can take between 5 minutes and 5-6 hours. Similarly when installing definition updates for Defender it can be almost instantaneous or an hour. In fact today it took 2 hours and 40 minutes, just about a record

    I have a monthly allowance for my wireless broadband connection of 3GB  so it really hurts if I have to download definition updates directly from the Microsoft website

    Thanks for your assistance dating back 7-8 years when I first saw one of your books in the local library When I made the move to Windows 8.1 I purchased your Windows All-In-One for Dummies and it was a great help, still use it to this day. I have used “askwoody” for a probably the last 5 years and your advise has kept me safe from most issues. I need all the help I can get

    I hope that I have conveyed the problems I am currently having, not being that computer savvy

    If that helped, take a second to support AskWoody on Patreon

    20 Responses to “Windows Defender issues”

    1. ch100 says:

      @GW
      Try to configure Windows Update to Never check and report back here about Defender automatic updating process.
      Do you have ALL Windows Update patches installed?
      You said you are group A, which to me means having EVERYTHING installed, Important, Recommended and Optional (except drivers which have to be treated on an individual case each basis).

    2. woody says:

      This from an anonymous source:

      Am also Win 8.1, Group A, but set to “install updates automatically” – am online only an hour daily, using less than 1GB each month – my laptop is shut down with no online access except when I turn it on to go online.
      (Your Dummies book recommendations and warnings guided me through the purchase and entire setup in April 2014.) No other software on this 8.1 – instead have basic software for personal files on old laptop for secure offline use only.

      Regarding Win Defender issue: I update it at least once daily before I proceed to my usual websites. However, the updates for 11/9 – 11/12 and all but four since 12/14 have not shown up on the View Update History page. (I have kept a written record of the date/time/version as I received the “Up to Date” confirmation after each install.) Win Defender Updates are not consistently automatic, sometimes require click Update to get download, sometimes require repeated click Update to get download to install, sometimes gets stuck on Searching requiring restart.

      Also not on the View Update History are the monthly updates that the Windows Update page
      states were checked for and installed on 12/13. Rollups done on 10/13 and 11/13 are listed. There are two Nov Preview Rollups still listed with the other optional updates.

      • ch100 says:

        I suppose the user is missing KB2919355 and I would suggest the big rollup KB3000850 should also be installed.
        Without those updates, nobody in official support would even start a discussion about that system.

    3. Hugh McFarlane says:

      I understand that you are talking about Windows Defender here (not Microsoft Security Essentials), but I would like to add my observation that MSE’s “manual update” facility has become very unreliable __recently__. It goes Searching-Downloading-Updating, and then gives an error message relating to “Connectivity problems — check your Internet connection and try again”, and when I do try again I am told that everything is up to date. I am not sure which of those two statements to trust (smile).

      I have the latest version of the Microsoft Update Client (I believe) but I decline to install all of the Group A updates just to fix this problem. (Win7 Pro SP1, Group W since October).

      • ch100 says:

        “but I decline to install all of the Group A updates just to fix this problem”

        What is the point of complaining if you know better?

    4. anonymous says:

      Anonymous – please note… I sympathize with the problem! But I had no other way to relay your observations, or even to reply to you. Your comments and observations are valuable. “Typical” users need all the help they can get, IMHO, and my intent is to provide solutions for everybody.

    5. Bill Ingram says:

      I’m on 8.1 & have no problems with Windows Defender. I’ve been in Group A since the patchocalypse began & sometimes a Defender patch shows up in Windows Update. I usually apply changes through Defender, but if it’s time to apply patches & 1 of them is Defender, I let Windows Update apply all of them. As for Optional patches, the only ones I don’t apply are Silverlight, Skype for Desktop & any drivers.

    6. JCN2002 says:

      FWIW. I have learned thru the years, whether with MSE or Windows Defender to never do Definition Updates thru Windows Update at the same time other updates are selected and installed. As I think back, I would say that at least > 50% of the time if a Definition Update is selected along with what else is offered (usually Recommended), one or more of the updates will Fail.

      I have been in Group B before there was a Group B! I always have ‘Never Check …) selected on all my systems. I do the checking, aided by Woody and a few others.

      I will take MSE or Defender engine updates thru WU, obviously, but I do Definition Updates thru the respective product’s update function.

      I agree with Hugh McFarlane’s observation above that MSE’s manual update function has been ‘flakey’ recently, but no discernible pattern to that. I don’t know, the Quadrantids meteor shower is active and peaked on 1/3 and 1/4!

    7. Rob says:

      Plenty third party AV/ Mal-ware programs out there which are far better for Windows Vista/ 7 & 8.1

      Trusted MS for an OS, sure as h*** won’t trust them with AV/ Mal-ware security!

    8. zund says:

      don’t use windows update, use

      “%ProgramFiles%\Windows Defender\MpCmdRun.exe” -SignatureUpdate

      to update the definitions.

    9. Bill C. says:

      If the programs manual update does not work or fails, I will reboot and try again. If that fails the same way, I will use http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=87341 to get the signatures, download the executable to a temp directory, check the properties/details to see if it is newer, and then run it as admin.

      I have found that many times the connectivity failure will NOT show up as a failed update. I have also had an update say it failed, and a subsequent re-try will say it is already installed and was successful. Usually that scenario is if I have not used the machine for at least 24 hours.

      If it does it more than 2 or 3 times in a row (not repeated tries), I will uninstall MSE, reboot, and reinstall MSE.

      I am using Win7-64 Pro SP1, using WU set to never and using group B updating. My MSE client v4.10.209.0, the most current version. In the life of this machine (now going on over 4 years, I have only had to do the reinstall of MSE 3 times.

      On the 2 year old laptop, it has also been 3 times, but that is due to long periods of not using it and the MSE updates can get balky.

      I like MSE, and bolster it with Malwarebytes. The new Malwarebytes v3 is said to be more powerful and has an AV-like component, but I will keep MSE and Malwarebytes say they are compatible.

      • Pam says:

        Bill C – Have you upgraded to Malwarebytes 3 yet? There is a lot of problems for a lot of people with the newest version. I too use MSE and when I updated to Malwarebytes 3.0.5 (latest version), Malwarebytes barely functioned with all kinds of issues upon startup and also at shutdown. Had to roll back to version 2. Just wondering what your experience has been?

        • Bill C. says:

          I am still on version 2.2.1.1043. I was just looking at the Malwarebytes Forum to see what users were saying and decided to wait a bit. You have verified my caution. Thanks. I have though had some of the best support ever from that company, so I know it will be made right.

          The old saw it to avoid any version X.0 software and let others be the guinea pig, but I have found the most issues with versions 3.0.x.

          My take is the company has a success with versions 1 and then wider adoption on version 2, but get all eager to top that and add features to a proven product and then it has issues. Versions after 3.1 on are usually OK.

          With each point release it starts over a bit, but ver. 3 is often the ‘new’ beta.

          • Pam says:

            Thanks Bill C for your reply. I too have been reading the forum posts on Malwarebytes site and agree with what you say. Love their product but will wait a bit for them to smooth out the edges!

            • Bill C. says:

              When I was speaking about Versions to be cautions of before upgrading, I was talking generally, not about Malwarebytes specifically.

              Generally, I am also very leery when a company adds a Social Media convenience module feature to their software. I want any posting I make to be a specific overt act, not an in-App ‘convenience.’

    10. GW says:

      Thanks for all the advice and suggestions

      Once I have a bit of time I will work through them
      all

    Leave a Reply