FIX: Windows 10 prevents antivirus installation

Ivan Jenic
by Ivan Jenic
Troubleshooting Expert
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  • Having a third-party antivirus is an excellent way to ensure online protection.
  • However, system issues can prevent you from installing such tools.
  • To read more about this amazing software group, visit our dedicated Antivirus section.
  • If you need further assistance with your PC, we have guides in our Troubleshooting Hub.
Windows 10 Prevents Antivirus Installation

In today’s internet world, it is very dangerous to run your computer without any protection. So people install antivirus programs to keep their computer as safe as possible. But, the new operating system always brings some problem with itself, and this time Windows 10 caused problems with installing an antivirus software to some users.

Your antivirus software should work just fine on the new Windows operating system, but if you’re unable to install it for some reason, follow the instructions below, and hopefully, you’ll solve the problem.


What do I do if Windows 10 prevent installing an antivirus?

Several users reported that they are unable to install antivirus on their Windows 10 PC. Regarding antivirus problems, users reported the following issues:

  • Not able to install antivirus on Windows 10 – According to users, some of them are unable to install antivirus on their Windows 10 PC. This can occur if your antivirus isn’t compatible with Windows 10.
  • Virus blocking antivirus installation – Sometimes malware can prevent you from installing your antivirus. To fix that, you need to create a rescue disk on a different PC and use it remove the malware.
  • Antivirus program won’t install – In some cases, your antivirus won’t install due to file corruption. However, you can fix the problem by running DISM and SFC scans.
  • Computer won’t let me install antivirus – In certain cases, your PC won’t allow you to install an antivirus. This can happen due to certain third-party applications, so be sure to remove them.

1. Make sure you don’t have any other antivirus installed

You should know that two antivirus programs don’t function well together, so if you already have some other antivirus installed, you should uninstall it before you try to install the new one.

There’s a chance that you didn’t even know that you have another antivirus on your computer, as it maybe came as a bloatware, along with another software you installed on purpose.

So, head to Control Panel, Programs and features, and if you have any other antivirus installed, just uninstall it and try to install your desired antivirus again.

Then again, you could choose an alternative antivirus altogether, one that doesn’t any compatibility issues at all, such as Bitdefender.

Bitdefender is rated as being the top antivirus tool in the world in terms of sheer protection, and that is thanks to the constant live scanning features that do not slow your PC down in any way.

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2. Remove problematic applications

Sometimes third-party applications on your PC can interfere with your system and cause this problem to appear.

To fix the issue, you need to find and remove that application from your PC. Users reported that applications such as System Mechanic can cause this issue to appear, so be sure to remove them from your PC.

In order to completely remove an application, you need to use uninstaller software. These tools are designed to remove all files and registry entries associated with the problematic application, so be sure to use one for your applications.

If you’re looking for an uninstaller application, we have to recommend IOBit Uninstaller 10 Pro.

Not only will it remove any apps that are preventing you from installing an antivirus, but it will get rid of residual files as well since this too can contribute to such issues, especially if the source-program was yet another antivirus.

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3.  Clean your PC with a Windows Optimizer

According to users, sometimes this issue can be caused by temporary files on your PC. To fix this problem, you need to remove temporary files. There are several ways to do it, and the simplest one might be to use Disk Cleanup tool. This application comes with Windows, and it allows you to free up space on your hard drive by removing temporary files.

If you want to use a tool that offers more features, you might want to try using Ashampoo WinOptimizer. This tool comes with advanced features and it will clean your temporary files as well as your registry, so feel free to try it out.

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4. Turn off Windows Defender

  1. Go to the Settings app, and then to Update and security.
    Not able to install antivirus on Windows 10
  2. Go to Windows Defender tab and click on Open Windows Defender Security Center.
    Virus blocking antivirus installation
  3. Navigate to Virus & threat protection.
    Antivirus program won't install
  4. Select Virus & threat protection settings.
    Computer won’t let me install antivirus
  5. Uncheck Real-time protection.
    Not able to install antivirus on Windows 10

Windows Defender is Microsoft’s built-in security tool, which protects your Windows 10 if you don’t have any other antivirus installed.

It shouldn’t make any problems with the third-party antivirus, but maybe some features of the antivirus conflict with Windows Defender, and that’s why you can’t install it.

So, try to turn off Windows Defender, and then install the third-party antivirus.

Now your Windows Defender is disabled, and you can try to install your antivirus program again.


5. Check if Your Antivirus is Compatible With Windows 10

If you’re using some ‘less famous’ antivirus, there’s a chance that it’s not compatible with Windows 10.

So, just in case, check out our list of all antivirus programs that are compatible with Windows 10, and if your antivirus is not on the list, you should consider getting a new protector of your system.

If you’re looking for antivirus that works with Windows 10, we already gave you a couple of recommendations in Solution 1.


6. Run an SFC scan

  1. Press Windows Key + X to open Win + X menu. Now select Command Prompt (Admin) from the menu.
  2. If Command Prompt isn’t available, you can also use PowerShell (Admin).
    Computer won’t let me install antivirus
  3. When Command Prompt starts, enter sfc /scannow and press Enter to run it.
    Computer won’t let me install antivirus
  4. SFC scan will now start. This scan can take about 15 minutes, so be sure not to interrupt it.

Once the SFC scan is finished, check if the problem still persists. If the issue is still present, or if you were unable to run SFC scan, you’ll have to run DISM scan as well. To do that, just do the following:

  1. Start Command Prompt as administrator.
  2. When Command Prompt starts, enter the following line, and press Enter:
    • DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealthComputer won’t let me install antivirus
  3. DISM scan will now start. This scan can take up to 20 minutes or more, so don’t interrupt it.

When the DISM scan is finished, check if the problem still persists. If the problem is still present, or if you were unable to run SFC scan before, try to run it again. After running SFC scan again, the issue should be resolved.

If your Windows 10 prevents antivirus install, the issue might be file corruption. Your system files can become corrupted and that can lead to this and many other problems.

Fortunately, there are several ways to fix file corruption on your PC. One of the easiest ways is to run an SFC scan.

SFC scan is designed to repair a corrupted Windows 10 installation.


7. Perform a Clean boot

Third-party applications can interfere with your antivirus, and prevent you from installing it. If your Windows 10 prevents antivirus install, you might be able to fix the problem by performing a Clean boot.

This is rather simple and you can do it by following these steps:

  1. Press Windows Key + R and enter msconfig.
  2. Press Enter or click OK.
    Antivirus program won't install
  3. System Configuration window will now open. Navigate to Services window and check Hide all Microsoft services.
  4. Click the Disable all button.
    Computer won’t let me install antivirus
  5. Navigate to Startup tab and click on Open Task Manager.
    Not able to install antivirus on Windows 10
  6. List of startup applications will appear. Right-click the first item on the list and choose Disable from the menu.
  7. Repeat this step for all startup applications on the list.
    Virus blocking antivirus installation
  8. After disabling all startup applications, close Task Manager and go back to System Configuration window.
  9. Now click on Apply and OK to save changes.
    Antivirus program won't install
  10. After doing that, restart your PC and check if the problem is resolved.

After you install your antivirus, enable all startup applications and services once again.


8. Restart Windows Audio service

  1. Press Windows Key + R and enter services.msc. Press Enter or click OK.
    Computer won’t let me install antivirus
  2. When Services window opens, locate Windows Audio service.
  3. Right-click the service and choose Stop from the menu.
    Not able to install antivirus on Windows 10
  4. Wait for a few moments, right-click the service again and choose Start from the menu.

After restarting the service, try to install your antivirus again.

If your Windows 10 prevents antivirus install on your PC, the issue might be your services. Speaking of services, users reported that Windows Audio service is a common cause for this problem.

To fix the issue, you need to find this service and restart it.


9. Disable Fast Startup

  1. Press Windows Key + S and enter power settings. Choose Power & sleep settings from the list of results.
    Virus blocking antivirus installation
  2. Now select Additional power settings.
    Virus blocking antivirus installation
  3. From the menu on the left, select Choose what the power button does.
    Not able to install antivirus on Windows 10
  4. Now click Change settings that are currently unavailable.
    Antivirus program won't install
  5. Uncheck Turn on fast startup (recommended) option and click on Save changes.
    Antivirus program won't install

Windows 10 comes with an interesting feature called Fast Startup. This feature combines shutdown and hibernation into one allowing your system to boot faster. Although this is a useful feature, it can lead to certain issues.

Speaking of issues, few users reported that this feature can prevent you from installing certain applications, such as your antivirus.

After doing that, the Fast Startup feature should be disabled. Keep in mind that your PC might boot a bit slower after disabling this feature.


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in March 2018 and has been since revamped and updated in September 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.