FIX: Windows Defender error code 0x800704ec

Teodor Nechita
by Teodor Nechita
Software Managing Editor
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One of the best features of Windows 10 as an OS is just how self-dependent it is when it comes to pre-installed features. For example, with clever use of the Windows Defender, you might never need to use a third-party antivirus tool or a firewall.

However, Windows Defender is not without flaws, one good example being error code 0x800704ec that many users have reported encountering.0x800704ec-windows-defender

Fortunately enough, there are plenty of solutions one could try in order to get rid of this issue, and we will be going through them in the article below.

How do I fix Windows Defender Error 0x800704ec?

1. Enable the Windows Defender Servicesservices

  1. Press Windows + R
  2. Type in services.msc and press Enter
  3. Search for the services for Windows Defender in the Services list to check if they are running
  4. Choose the services that have a blank slate in the Status column
  5. Right-click them and select Start
  6. Reboot the PC

2. Disable and uninstall all third-party Antivirus program

It is not uncommon for third-party antivirus tools to interfere with Windows Defender, most of the time even preventing it from launching.

As such, simply open your list of installed programs and uninstall it like any other software, while following the on-screen instructions of the uninstall setup.

Note: Some antivirus tools can only be removed via dedicated uninstallers downloaded from the developer’s website. Thus, make sure you document yourself regarding the steps of uninstalling your particular antivirus tool.

Some prefer third-party antivirus tools, so check out this list of our best picks

3. Modify the Group Policy

As you can tell from the error message itself, the problem with Windows Defender is caused by an ill-conceived Group Policy. As such, the best course of action is to modify it.gpo

  1. Press Windows + R
  2. Type in  gpedit.msc and press Enter
    • This will open the Group Policy Editor
  3. Double click the Administrative Templates folder under the Computer Configuration
  4. Choose Windows Components
  5. Select Windows Defender Antivirus and find Turn off Windows Defender Antivirus on the right
  6. Double click Turn off Windows Defender Antivirus
  7. Select Not Configured and then click Apply and OK

4. Modify certain registriesreg editor

  1. Press Windows + R
  2. Type in Regedit and press Enter
    • This will open the Registry Editor
  3. Go to the following address and delete the msseces.exe entry from both of them:
    • ComputerHKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREPoliciesMicrosoftWindows Defender
  4. Find REG–SZ on the right and double click it to set its value to 0.
  5. Reboot the PC

Can’t access the Registry Editor? Things aren’t as scary as they seem. Check out this guide and solve the issue quickly.

By following these steps you should be able to launch and use Windows defender again without any further issues.

Which of the solutions mentioned above helped you bypass this issue? Let us know by leaving a message in the comments section below.

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