This program’s service has stopped Windows Defender error

by Madalina Dinita
Madalina Dinita
Madalina Dinita
Windows & Software Expert
Madalina has been a Windows fan ever since she got her hands on her first Windows XP computer. She is interested in all things technology, especially emerging technologies... read more
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  • Windows Defender's service has stopped - it's a common issue but it leaves your PC unprotected.
  • You should try to turn on the processes manually using the dedicated app from your OS.
  • If you have another antimalware software installed, make sure you disable it temporarily.
  • Re-registering Microsoft's antivirus-related DLL files may also fix this problem for good.
How to fix This program’s service has stopped Windows Defender error
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The This program’s service has stopped error on Windows Defender is an occasional nuisance for every Windows 10 user.

Users are complaining that the Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection Service on their local computer started and then stopped without any explanation.

If you’re getting this error, it means that Windows Defender is not running smoothly, or isn’t running at all.

If the Windows Defender Antivirus service keeps stopping, 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:

  • 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.

As 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 do I fix This program’s service has stopped error?

1. Turn on Windows Defender Service

  1. Press Windows + R to open the Run dialogue.
  2. Type in services.msc and press
  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.

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.

2. Disable all third-party antimalware software

One of the most common reasons for getting the This program’s service has stopped error is due to third-party antimalware software.

Windows Defender tends to stop itself every time it receives a signal from these third-party programs. So, the reason you’re getting this error could either be that or some internal error.

To verify, try disabling all third-party antimalware 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. Verify the Group Policy Editor settings

  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/ Administrative Templates/ Windows Components/ Microsoft Defender Antivirus
  3. If you see an option called Turn off Microsoft 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.

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

Now, check if Windows Defender is up and running again. If not, proceed to the next step.

4. Use third-party software for Windows errors

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Several issues can lead to Windows errors, including damaged registry files and incorrect settings values. We recommend using third-party tools that have multiple capabilities and can automatically address the issues that cause this error message.

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5. Verify Registry Editor settings

  1. Press the Windows + R keys to open the Run dialogue.
  2. Type in Regedit and press Enter.
  3. Navigate to this path: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SOFTWARE/Policies/Microsoft/Windows Defender
  4. If you see a key called DisableAntiSpyware on the right-hand side, either delete it or set its value to 0.

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 the steps above.

6. Re-register Windows Defender related DLL files

  1. Go to Start, and type Command Prompt.
  2. Click on Run as administrator to start the command-line tool with administrative privileges.
  3. Run these commands and press Enter after each one:
    • regsvr32  atl.dll
      regsvr32  wuapi.dll
      regsvr32  softpub.dll
      regsvr32  mssip32.dll
  4. Check if Windows Defender is up and running again.

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

7. Install a third-party antivirus

If you’re tired of Windows Defender problems, you’re not alone. Although it’s a pretty good solution, it has its share of issues and errors.

And that’s the moment when you should ask yourself if you want to continue tweaking it or getting a full-featured, powerful antivirus instead.

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We are confident that these solutions can have a positive outcome when it comes to resuscitating Windows Defender.

If not, there is always the choice of installing one of the best antiviruses with unlimited license. It will save you some money and will free you from headaches.

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.

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