Why does the Action Center say I don’t have antivirus software?

We recently received this question from a reader of this blog:

“Hi! I am running Windows 7 with Windows Defender. Why does the Action Center say that I don’t have antivirus protection?”

Windows Defender comes with Windows 7 and although it is your first line of defense against spyware, it’s not technically antivirus software. The Action Center lets you know you need to download antivirus software. If you want to protect your computer against spyware and viruses, you need to install antivirus software, such as Microsoft Security Essentials. Microsoft Security Essentials is free if your computer is running genuine Windows software and it provides real-time protection against viruses, spyware, and other unwanted software for your personal computer or small business.

Get more information about antivirus software.

Download Microsoft Security Essentials.

About the Author
Eve Blakemore

Group Manager, Trustworthy Computing

Eve Blakemore is a Group Manager for Trustworthy Computing who delivers consumer guidance around the latest trends in security and privacy. Eve joined Microsoft in 1998 and has worked in corporate and field roles with Microsoft Learning, US Public Sector, Read more »

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  1. Anonymous

    I have winndows xp with sp3, why does my security center says my antivirus is off, I have microsoft essentials. and mcafee security. what am I doing wrong?

  2. Anonymous

    To whom this concerns:

      This is the 3rd day I have tried to fix Microsoft Security Essentials. I cannot remove Microsoft Security Essentials from my Programs; a necessary step to "Reinstall" this security program.  I am receiving error msg: 800191616.

      Therefore, I cannot remove this program, and cannot re-install this program. I've installed all updates.    Help, please.  My computer at risk.

  3. Anonymous

    I have windows XP and Windows defender is telling me that my antivirus is off and I just had it turned on.  Who do I turn it on.  I tried downloading it again but I'm told I all ready have it on my computer.  What can I do.

    Thank you,


  4. Anonymous

    Something just got into my computer that turned off Microsoft Essentials.   My computer wouldn't do anything and I shut it down and restarted it.

    When I restarted my computer, a balloon popped up and said MSE had been turned off.

    What is going on?

  5. Anonymous

    How do I delete microsoft security essentials

    I deleted it in the remove programs and it still says i need to remove it.

  6. Anonymous

    Windows tells me I do not have malware and anti virus protection Why? Do i need to buy other protective software such as Reg

    Cure or AVG

  7. Anonymous

    I have MSE and got the same message.

  8. Anonymous

    Why does the Action Center say I don’t have antivirus software…when Microsoft Security Essentials is installed, running and up-to-date?

    (Windows 7 Pro)

  9. Anonymous

    I have automatic updates enabled (daily at 10 a.m.), yet every time I go activate Windows Update it lists a (sometimes large) number of either important or optional updates. It makes me thing it's not updating automatically.

    Why is that???

  10. Anonymous

    I am running "Outlook Express" as my incoming and outgoing e-mails, but microsoft keeps closing outlook express, how cn I fix this problem.

    Any one can help is greatly apprciated.  Mario

  11. Anonymous

    Reply to GERRit his words

    Why does the Action Center say I don’t have antivirus software…when Microsoft Security Essentials is installed, running and up-to-date?

    it is probably because the action center doesn't scanned for any antivirus programs

    To resolve this problem. restart the "windows management instrumentation" service from 'services'…

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