SecurityHealthService “The service is not responding to the control function” Error

The Windows Security app may not open or the window may appear blank. When you try to start “Windows Security Service” (SecurityHealthService) via Services MMC or command-line, it may get stuck in the “START_PENDING” state and the following error may appear:

The service is not responding to the control function.

securityhealthcenter ifeo unblock


The above error occurs if malware has blocked SecurityHealthService.exe via the Image File Execution Options (IFEO) registry key. For example, the entry may look like the following:

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\SecurityHealthService.exe]

Malware uses the undocumented “MinimumStackCommitInBytes” registry value to block/crash programs. For more information, see the TrendMicro article Attack on Security Titans: Earth Longzhi Returns With New Tricks. Also, malware may block Sfc.exe in the same way, causing the error code 0xc0000017. See the article How to Fix SFC Error 0xc0000017


To resolve the issue, follow these steps:

  1. Download Malwarebytes from, run a scan and eliminate all viruses.
  2. Once done, start the Registry Editor (regedit.exe).
  3. Go to the following location:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\SecurityHealthService.exe
  4. Right-click “SecurityHealthService.exe” and choose Delete.
  5. Exit the Registry Editor.

See if you can start “Windows Security Service” now.

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Ramesh Srinivasan is passionate about Microsoft technologies and he has been a consecutive ten-time recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award in the Windows Shell/Desktop Experience category, from 2003 to 2012. He loves to troubleshoot and write about Windows. Ramesh founded in 2005.

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