This program’s service has stopped Windows Defender error

Madalina Dinita
by Madalina Dinita
Managing Editor
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  • Microsoft Windows Defender is Microsoft's built-in gift to its users and it is designed to protect computers from viruses, spyware and other forms of malware.
  • The tool generally works smoothly, but every now and then it has the tendency to stop running.
  • One of the frequent errors related to Microsoft Windows Defender is: This program’s service has stopped. Check out our solutions below to fix it in no time.
  • Although it provides good protection, cyber threats today are fierce, so we advise you to install a third party antivirus as well. Make sure to check our top picks before purchasing a security software.
This program’s service has stopped Windows Defender error

The This program’s service has stopped error on Windows Defender is an occasional nuisance for every Windows 10 users. If you’re getting this error, it means that Windows Defender is not running smoothly, or isn’t running at all. Needless to say, this leaves your computer vulnerable to malware, which is why you need to fix it immediately.

Before we dive into the solutions, let’s take a look at the full error message. Depending on the version of your Windows, you should be getting either one of these two errors:

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Windows Defender: This program’s service has stopped. You can start the service manually or restart your computer, which will start the service. (Error Code: 0x800106ba)

This program is turned off. If you are using another program that checks for harmful or unwanted software, use the Action Center to check that program’s status.

Like the error suggests, the quickest and easiest way to resolve the problem could be restarting your computer. However, if the problem persists even after you restart your PC, you can try one of the following solutions.

How to fix This program’s service has stopped error?

1. Turn On Windows Defender Service

Well, the error message reads that Windows Defender has stopped. So, the first thing you should try is to manually turn it back on. You will need to do this via the Windows Services Manager. Follow these steps:

  1. Press Windows + R to open the Run dialogue.
  2. Type in services.msc and press Enter.
  3. Find the following services in the list of services:
    • Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection Service
    • Windows Defender Antivirus Network Inspection Service
    • Windows Defender Antivirus Service
    • Windows Defender Security Center Service
  4. For each of these services the status should be Running (check the status column) and their Startup type should be set to Automatic.
  5. If this isn’t true for any of the services, double click on it to view its Properties. Change the Startup type to Automatic.
  6. Now, click on the Start button and click Apply.
  7. Check if Windows Defender is up and running again. If the problem persists, try the next step.

2. Disable all third-party anti-malware software

One of the most common reasons for getting the This program’s service has stopped error is due to third-party anti-malware software. Windows Defender tends to stop itself every time it receives a signal from these third-party programmes. So the reason you’re getting this error could either be that or some internal error. To verify, try disabling all third-party anti-malware applications and see if this resolves the problem.

If doing this solves your problem, you may have to re-install the third-party application. If not, move on to the next step.


3. Verifying Group Policy Editor settings

You could have accidentally turned off Windows Defender when using the Group Policy Editor. Also, a malware could have accessed the Group Policy Editor and done so. To verify this, try these steps:

  1. Go to Start, type gpedit.msc, and press enter.
  2. This should open the Local Group Policy Editor; navigate to this path:
    • Computer Configuration > Administrator Templates > Windows Components > Windows Defender Antivirus
  3. If you see an option called Turn off Windows Defender Antivirus on the right hand side, go ahead and double-click on it.
  4. If this is set to Enabled, change it to Not Configured.
  5. Check if Windows Defender is up and running again. If not, proceed to the next step.

4. Verify Registry Editor settings

Sometimes, malware can change a Register key belonging to the Windows Defender service. This could be one of the reasons you’re getting the This program’s service has stopped error. To verify this, try these steps:

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  1. Press Windows + R to open the Run dialogue.
  2. Type in Regedit and press Enter.
  3. Navigate to this path:
    • HKey_Local_MachineSoftwarePoliciesMicrosoftWindows Defender
  4. If you see a key called DisableAntiSpyware on the right hand side, either delete it or set its value to 0.
  5. Check if Windows Defender is up and running again. If not, proceed on to the next step.

5. Re-register Windows Defender related DLL files

Occasionally, re-registering the Windows Defender related DLL files can also resolve the issues. To do this, follow these steps.

  1. Go to Start, and type Command Prompt.
  2. Select Command Prompt with administrative privilege.
  3. Run these commands:
    • regsvr32  atl.dll
    • regsvr32  wuapi.dll
    • regsvr32  softpub.dll
    • regsvr32  mssip32.dll
  4. Check if Windows Defender is up and running again.

We are confident that these solutions can have a positive outcome when it comes to resuscitating Windows Defender. Have you ever faced this error? If such is the case, don’t be shy to share your experience and any other possible solutions by hitting the comments section below.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in September 2017 and has been since revamped and updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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