Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) is a free antivirus software provided by Microsoft. It comes pre-installed in Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7. However, it has been discontinued since Windows 8.
MSE behaves like any other antivirus software and can cause issues like blocking a process and giving false positives. You might want to disable it for these reasons or enable it for future protection.
Whatever the reasons, here’s how you can enable or disable Microsoft Security Essentials Antivirus.
How to Enable or Disable Microsoft Security Essentials?
It is very easy to disable or enable MSE, and they basically follow the same steps. Here’s how you can do it from the MSE application and System Configuration.
Using the MSE Application
Follow the steps below to disable or enable this application from its settings.
- Click on the start menu and press All programs or Programs.
- Locate and select Microsoft Security Essentials.
- Navigate to the settings header and select Real-time protection.
- In the right panel, deselect the Turn on real-time protection (recommended) option.
- Click on Save Changes.
- It may ask you for Administrator privileges to perform the task. Accept the prompt, or if you are in a local account, you may need to input the admin account password.
- The Microsoft Security Essentials is now disabled.
- If you want to enable it, follow the same steps and select the Turn on real-time protection (recommended) option.
- Click on Save Changes.
Using System Configuration
Follow the steps below to disable or enable MSE from System Configuration.
- Press Windows + R keys simultaneously to open the Run menu.
msconfigto open System Configuration.
- Go to the startup tab, locate Microsoft Security Client, and deselect it.
- Click on Apply and OK.
- Restart your PC.
After a restart, the MSE application should have been disabled.
However, as the Microsoft Security Essential is an important antivirus that protects your computer against viruses, malware, and other threats, it is not recommended to disable it.
To check if the MSE is disabled, look for its icon in the system tray. If it is green, it is enabled. Red means disabled, and yellow means update.
How to Uninstall Microsoft Security Essentials?
The newer Windows versions (8, 10, & 11) have a different pre-installed antivirus, the Windows Defender. Furthermore, Windows Defender blocks the installation and uninstallation of MSE. So, if you upgrade your Windows with MSE to newer versions, these two applications may interfere with each other.
Users have also experienced the issue of not being able to uninstall Microsoft Security Essentials while also not being able to use Windows Defender.
Not every user has faced this issue, but it is pretty common. It is recommended to uninstall MSE before upgrading.
Here’s how you can uninstall this application:
- Open the Run utility using Windows + R shortcut key.
- Enter control to open the Control Panel.
- In the Control Panel, tap on Uninstall a program.
- Locate and select MSE.
- Click on Uninstall at the top and follow the on-screen instructions..
If you’ve already updated and are facing the issue of not being able to uninstall MSE, roll back your Windows version. You can then delete MSE using the method above, and upgrade your Windows again.
How to Disable or Enable Windows Defender?
Windows Defender is basically the replacement of Microsoft Security Essentials. While not the same application, they perform the same function in Windows
Furthermore, many users may not know that Windows Defender Security Center has been renamed to Windows Security Center.
Here’s how you can disable or enable this antivirus:
- Access the start menu and locate Windows Security.
- Open the application.
- Select Virus & threat protection header in the left sidebar.
- In the right panel, tap on Manage settings under Virus & threat protection settings.
- Toggle on or off Real-time protection.
- Accept the UAC prompt.