Fix: Windows Defender error code 0x80073afc

Milan Stanojevic avatar. By: Milan Stanojevic
7 minute read

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Keeping your PC safe is crucial, and in order to protect your PC from malicious software Windows 10 relies on Windows Defender. This tool works as an antivirus, but users reported certain issues with it. One error that appears while using Windows Defender is error 0x80073afc, so let’s see how to fix it.

Windows Defender error code 0x80073afc, how to fix it?

Table of contents:

  1. Uninstall your antivirus software
  2. Change your registry
  3. Remove the malicious software
  4. Check for problematic updates
  5. Use System Restore
  6. Wait for the official fix
  7. Update Windows 
  8. Run the SFC scan
  9. Run DISM
  10. Clean your registry
  11. Check environmental values
  12. Change system permissions
  13. Restart the Security service 
  14. Change the group policy
  15. Reset Windows 10

Fix – Windows Defender error code 0x80073afc

Solution 1 – Uninstall your antivirus software

Windows Defender is designed to work as a default antivirus software on Windows 10, however Windows Defender can’t work with other antivirus tools. If you’re having 0x80073afc error, be sure to uninstall your antivirus software and check if that solves the problem. By default, Windows Defender will turn itself off after you install a third-party antivirus program, but if you’re getting this error you might want to try disabling or uninstalling your antivirus software.

Solution 2 – Change your registry

It’s possible that your registry was altered by malicious program thus causing error code 0x80073afc to appear. To fix this problem you’ll need to change your registry. Before you start altering your registry, keep in mind that changing the registry can be potentially dangerous, therefore be sure to create a backup of your registry just in case. To edit your registry, follow these steps:

  1. Press Windows Key + R, enter regedit and press Enter or click OK.
    windows-defender-0x80073afc-regedit-1
  2. Go to the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options key in the left pane.
    windows-defender-0x80073afc-regedit-2
  3. Try to find MSASCui.exe, MpCmdRun.exe, MpUXSrv.exe or msconfig.exe keys. If you find any of them, right click them and choose Delete.
  4. After deleting the problematic keys check if the problem is resolved.

Solution 3 – Remove the malicious software

Sometimes malicious software can be located on your PC and cause this error to appear. You need to look for MpCmdRun.exe, MpUXSrv.exe, MSASCui.exe and msconfig.exe files or folders in the following directories: %AppData%, C:\Windows\Temp, %temp% and C:\Program Files\.

You can easily access any of these folders simply by pasting the folder’s address into File Explorer and pressing Enter. If you find any of the aforementioned files or folders, delete them and check if that fixes the problem.

Solution 4 – Check for problematic updates

Users reported that certain Windows update caused this error to appear, and if you want to fix it you need to find and remove the problematic update. To remove an update, do the following:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go to Update & Security section.
  3. In the Windows Update tab click on Advanced options.
    windows-defender-0x80073afc-update-1
  4. Now click on View your update history.
    windows-defender-0x80073afc-update-2
  5. Click Uninstall updates.
    windows-defender-0x80073afc-update-3
  6. Installed Updates window will appear. Now just locate the update that you want to remove and double click it to remove it.
    windows-defender-0x80073afc-update-4

Bear in mind that you need to remove the problematic update, so keep a close eye on all installed updates. To prevent this issue from appearing again, you might want to block the problematic update from installing.

Solution 5 – Use System Restore

Few users reported that they fixed this issue simply by restoring their computer using the System Restore feature. Restoring your PC is easy, and you can do it by following these steps:

  1. Press Windows Key + S and enter restore. Select Create a restore point option.
    windows-defender-0x80073afc-restore-1
  2. When System Properties window opens, click on System Restore button.
    windows-defender-0x80073afc-restore-2

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    This software will repair common computer errors, protect you from file loss, malware, hardware failure and optimize your PC for maximum performance. Fix PC issues now in 3 easy steps:

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    2. Click “Start Scan” to find Windows issues that could be causing PC problems.
    3. Click “Repair All” to fix all issues with Patented Technologies (requires upgrade).

  4. When System Restore starts, click Next.
    windows-defender-0x80073afc-restore-3
  5. Select the restore point you want to revert to and click Next.
    windows-defender-0x80073afc-restore-4
  6. Follow the instructions to restore your PC.

Solution 6 – Wait for the official fix

Few users reported that their issue was fixed by installing the latest updates, so you might want to try that. Usually, Windows updates fix these kinds of issues, so you might have to wait a bit until the official fix is released.

Solution 7 – Update Windows 

As Windows Defender is a part of Windows 10, it receives updates through Windows Update. So, maybe the issue you’re facing is acknowledged by Microsoft, and the company is working on a fix. To make sure you’re not missing anything, just go to Settings > Updates & Security and check for updates.

Solution 8 – Run the SFC scan

If none of the previous solutions worked, let’s try a few troubleshooting tools. The first one is the SFC scan. This command-line tool scans your computer for potential issues, and resolves them if possible. So, it might be helpful in this case, as well.

Here’s how to run the SFC scan in Windows 10:

  1. Right-click on the Start Menu button, and open Command Prompt (Admin).
  2. Enter the following line and press Enter: sfc/scannow
  3. Wait until the process is done (it may take a while).
  4. If the solution is found, it will automatically be applied.
  5. Now, close the Command Prompt and restart your computer.

Solution 9 – Run DISM

DISM is another tool we’re going to try. Here’s how to run DISM in Windows 10:

  1. Open the Command Prompt as shown above.
  2. Enter the following command and press Enter:
      • DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth
  3. Wait for the process to finish.
  4. Restart your computer.
  5. In case the DISM can’t obtain files online, try using your installation USB or DVD. Insert media and type following command:
      • DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth /Source:C:\RepairSource\Windows /LimitAccess
  6. Make sure to replace ”C:\RepairSource\Windows” path of your DVD or USB.
  7. Follow further on-screen instructions.

Solution 10 – Clean your registry

Some users report that Windows Defender won’t work because there are issues with your registry. To eliminate the doubt, go and clean your registry. The best way to clean the registry in Windows 10 is by using a third-party registry cleaner. If you don’t have the first choice already, check out our list of the best registry cleaners for Windows 10 to get some ideas.

Solution 11 – Check environmental values

Environmental values is a handy, but less-know feature that helps your system access certain directories. Sometimes third-party apps may change these values, and that could lead to interferences with Windows Defender resulting in potential problems like this one. So, you need to make sure these values are set correctly. Here’s how to do that:

    1. Press Windows Key + S and enter advanced system settings. Select View advanced system settings from the menu.
    2. Now click Environment Variables button.
    3. Locate %ProgramData% variable and check if it’s set to C:\ProgramData. If not, change the variable accordingly.

Solution 12 – Change system permissions

Another reason for Windows Defender issues may be the system permissions. If some permissions are set to block Windows Defender, it obviously won’t work. So, make sure to check your permissions:

  1. Go to C:\ProgramData directory.
  2. Now locate Microsoft directory and right-click it. Choose Properties from the menu.
  3. Now go to Security tab and click Advanced.
  4. Now you should remove all inherit permissions. After doing that, save changes and check if the problem is resolved.

Solution 13 – Restart the Security service 

Everything in Windows 10 has its own service. And Windows Defender is not different. So, you need to make sure that the Security service is running in order for Windows Defender to function normally. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Press Windows key + R > launch Run. Type services.msc > hit Enter or click OK.
  2. In Services, search for Security Center. Right-click Security Center > click Restart.

Solution 14 – Change the group policy

If you have all the necessary permissions, and the service is running, you might need to make a few changes in the Group Policy editor. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Press Windows Key + R and enter gpedit.msc. Now press Enter or click OK.
  2. When Group Policy Editor opens, in the left pane navigate to Computer Configuration > Administrative Template > Windows Components > Windows Defender Antivirus. In the right pane, double-click Turn off Windows Defender Antivirus.
  3. Select Not Configured and click Apply and OK to save changes.

Solution 15 – Reset Windows 10

If you still have this issue, you might want to reset Windows 10. Resetting Windows 10 will delete all installed applications and in some cases all your files from the primary partition, so use this option as the last resort.

Before resetting Windows, we also recommend you to download this tool  (100% safe and tested by us) to scan and fix various PC problems, such as file loss, malware and hardware failure.

Windows Defender error code 0x80073afc can cause a lot of problems, so be sure to try some of our solutions. If the problem persists, you might want to consider using a third-party antivirus software.

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

READ ALSO:

For various PC problems, we recommend this tool.

This software will repair common computer errors, protect you from file loss, malware, hardware failure and optimize your PC for maximum performance. Fix PC issues now in 3 easy steps:

  1. Download this PC Repair Tool rated "Excellent" on TrustPilot.com.
  2. Click “Start Scan” to find Windows issues that could be causing PC problems.
  3. Click “Repair All” to fix all issues with Patented Technologies (requires upgrade).

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