Solutions to Windows Defender Won't Update

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Windows Defender is the built-in antispyware program in Windows 7 and Vista. It will run in Windows XP as well. You need to update the definition updates for Windows Defender to take advantage of spyware prevention or removal of detected spyware on the computer. If you have trouble checking, downloading, or installing the definition updates for Windows Defender, try solving it using steps below:

Windows Defender program displays the message “Check for new definitions.” – the solution is to manually check for updates by clicking “Check for Updates” button in the User Interface of the program or click the drop-down arrow beside the “Help” menu then choose “Check for Updates”.

If you tried checking, downloading or installing the definition updates for Windows Defender but received an error message that says “The program can’t check, download, or install definition updates” with any of following error codes:

  • 0x8024402c
  • 0x8024402f
  • 0x80240016
  • 0x80240022
  • 0X80004002
  • 0x80070422
  • 0x80072efd
  • 0x80070005
  • 0x80072f78
  • 0x80072ee2
  • 0x8007001B

You will need to manually download and install the definition updates for Windows Defender. To manually download the latest definition updates for Windows Defender, visit the Microsoft Malware Protection Center website or Microsoft KB Article 923159.

If you were able to manually install the update definitions, proceed to visiting Windows Update website or open the Windows Update application in Vista or Windows 7, to download the latest updates for Windows that might fix the problem in Windows Defender for it to check, download, and install the updates using the program.

If you cannot manually install the definition update for Windows Defender or continue to receive an error code, try the following steps to solve the problem:

  • Error message “0x80240022 - the wrong diskette is in the drive.” – to solve this problem, install the Microsoft Root Certificates update (the filename to download is rootsupd.exe)
  • Error message “0x80070005 Access is denied. You do not have permission to perform the requested operation.” – You need to use a user account in Windows with higher permission. Try updating Windows Defender using an administrator account.
  • Error message “0x8024002b” – you need to remove Windows Defender, install Microsoft Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) and the Service Pack for WSUS then proceed to installing Windows Defender.
  • Error message “0x8024402c” – you are either behind a proxy or firewall that is blocking the download. Temporary disable the firewall or proxy settings to test the connection to Windows Update or by updating Windows Defender. You may also try to clear the proxy cache by following the method in KB900936.

If you continue to have problem in updating the definition for Windows Defender, proceed to scanning the computer using on-demand scanner by A-squared, Ad-Aware, Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware, Spybot – Search & Destroy or SUPERAntiSpyware. You should also investigate the windowsupdate.log file in C:\Windows folder. Locate any recent error code and find the possible solution in the Microsoft Knowledge Base website for a specific error code.