Windows Defender Service Missing; Security at a glance page is Empty

In the aftermath of malware infection, when you open the Services MMC on a Windows 10 or 11 computer, you may find that the Windows Defender (“Microsoft Defender Antivirus Service”) service is missing from the Services MMC.

The Windows Security settings “Security at a glance” page may show up empty as in the following screenshot.

windows defender service missing - security at a glance is empty

On some systems, the following error appears when opening the Security at a glance page:

defender windows security page not available

Page not available

Your IT administrator has limited access to some areas of this app, and the item you tried to access is not available. Contact IT helpdesk for more information.

Or else, the Security at a glance may show all the settings but may indicate to the user that Virus & threat protection is stopped.

Threat protection has stopped. Restart it now.

When attempting to restart the service, you may get the following error:

Unexpected error. Sorry, we ran into a problem. Please try again.

windows defender service missing - security at a glance is empty

The Security providers page would indicate there are no Antivirus and Firewall providers installed on the computer.

windows defender service missing - security at a glance is empty

In some cases, the providers would be listed normally, but it would indicate that the Microsoft Defender Antivirus is turned off.

windows defender service missing - security at a glance is empty

When you open the Windows Defender program (“Platform”) folder below, the folder may be completely empty.

C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows Defender\Platform\

defender platform folder deleted by malware

Whereas, on a working computer, you should see two folders — one folder stores the latest platform files (e.g., 4.18.2205.7-0), and the other folder stores the previous platform update files (e.g., 4.18.2205.5-0) which is used as a fallback.

If the “Platform” folder or its subfolders are empty, it may be a handiwork of malware. In this case, the Microsoft Defender Antivirus service will throw the error “Error 2: The system cannot find the file specified”. [More Information]

Running the command sc query windefend to query the status of the Microsoft Defender Antivirus Service would show this error:

windows defender service missing - security at a glance is empty

[SC] EnumQueryServicesStatus:OpenService FAILED 1060:

The specified service does not exist as an installed service.

Related Issue: Windows Security does not open

If you get the error “You’ll need a new app to open this windowsdefender link” when attempting to open Windows Defender Security settings, the fix is quite simple. Reinstalling the Security Health UI app is all you need to do.

windowsdefender link open in store app

For more information, check out the article [Fix] You’ll Need a New App to Open This Windows Defender Link



Cause

The above symptoms are caused if the “Microsoft Defender Antivirus Service” (short name: WinDefend) has been deleted by malware. Another possibility is that the “Windows Security Service” (short name: SecurityHealthService) and/or Microsoft Defender Antivirus service is disabled or not currently running.

In the latter case, the Security providers and the Security at a glance page would show up empty even if the “Microsoft Defender Antivirus Service” registration is intact.

Resolution

To fix the problem, set the Windows Security Service to Manual start. And then, restore the Windows Defender service if it’s missing from the computer.

Step 1: Start the Windows Security Service

  1. Start the Registry Editor (regedit.exe)
  2. Go to the following location:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\SecurityHealthService
  3. Double-click Start and set its data to 3
  4. Exit the Registry Editor.
  5. Restart Windows.

SecurityHealthService missing?

If the Windows Security Service (“SecurityHealthService”) is missing from the Services MMC, then follow the instructions under “Step 2” below.


Step 2: Repair/Restore the Windows Defender Service

First, run a thorough scan using Malwarebytes. After scanning and removing malware from your computer, the next step is to import the Microsoft Defender Antivirus service registry keys.

Windows Defender service registry keys restoration

  1. Download windefend_service.zip and save it to the desktop. The zip file has the registry fixes for Windows 10 v21H2/22H2 and Windows 11 v21H2/22H2 to repair the “WinDefend” and “SecurityHealthService” services.
  2. Start regedit.exe as TrustedInstaller and import the REG file. Alternatively, you can start Windows in Safe Mode and see if you can import the registry fix.
  3. In the Registry Editor window, import the windefend-service.reg file via the File menu.
  4. Exit the Registry Editor.
  5. Restart Windows.

Note: The registry file above sets the image path for the Windows Defender service to the following executable:

"%ProgramFiles%\Windows Defender\MsMpEng.exe"

The above file is the inbox version of MsMpEng.exe. That means you’ll need to install the latest platform update immediately after the Defender service becomes functional.

warning caution iconWindows Defender service should be functional now. After the Defender service starts, Windows Update will fetch the latest available platform update. Install this. This is very important!

Be sure to install the Windows Defender Platform update that shows up on the Windows Update page.

defender platform update

Open the Windows Security settings (“security at a glance,” “security providers,” “virus & threat protection”) to verify if the threat protection is enabled.

windows defender service missing - security at a glance is empty

I hope this article helped you restore the missing Windows Security Center and Microsoft Defender Antivirus services.


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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 Winhelponline.com in 2005.

34 thoughts on “Windows Defender Service Missing; Security at a glance page is Empty”

    • @joshua: What’s your Windows 10 Version #? See section “SecurityHealthService missing?” (which I just added) in this article.

  1. Our hero! This article saved my PC’s life. I’ve searched lots of solutions for my Windows Defender at a Glace on internet, but none of those solved my problem. Thank you. At a last try I did this solution and totally WORKS!

    Wish all best for you!

    Reply
  2. The problem I have is that my LC does not have the SecurityHealthService in the Registry.
    Also, I somehow got the WindDefend.reg from the internet but there are also not keys in it. Its just empty.

    Reply
    • @Hritik: What’s your Windows 10 Version #? See section “SecurityHealthService missing?” (which I just added) in this article.

  3. SECURITYHEALTHSERVICE regedit file gets install but after restart its gets missing or deleted i don’t know, please help

    Reply
  4. I’ve checked and verified the service permissions but windows didn’t post any update for the latest version of the defender.

    Reply
  5. Tried the reinstate option it didn’t work, I have done it twice still the same result and now the windows security app won’t open where the “Security at a glance” was displayed. No windows defender update suggestion also in Check on Updates.

    Reply
  6. Hello, i followed your instructions (which was very helpful) but have come across another problem.

    Windows update encounters an error:
    “There were some problems installing updates, but we’ll try again later. If you keep seeing this and want to search the web or contact support for information, this may help: (0x80080005)”

    I have tried this fix: (Which resets the software distribution folder)
    https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/all/windows-update-error-code-0x80080005/07b6e544-a501-4492-851d-83fcb80e8f2f

    But it seems that I am missing the files for wuauserv service

    then I tried this fix for wuauserv:
    https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/all/windows-update-error-0x80080005-and-net-start/da8cab53-2a01-43d5-bf3e-27f020bfff17

    My question is, is it alright for me not to activate windows defender and just use malwarebytes?

    Or, will it become harmful to my laptop if I don’t get the platform update?
    (I mean you did mark that step as important)

    Reply
    • @Michael: Is the BITS service running?

      Please upload the output of this PowerShell command:

      Get-Service | select -Property DisplayName, StartType, Status
  7. Dude thank you so much, I have tried weeks to get this software back to working.
    looked at YouTube videos, tons of articles and your info at the end helped me out.
    Thanks mate. : )

    Reply
  8. Hello, i followed your instructions but i have a problem, im not having Update Available (Update for Windows Defender antivirus antimalware platform)
    And when i click “Open Windows Security” my Microsoft Security still blank (even the “Security at a glances” didnt show up) just a white rectangle.
    I hope this problem can be solved ASAP, i used to use win10, im trying to solve this problem by upgrading to win11 but the windows security wont open, then i found your article. I hope i can solved this with your help, thankyou.

    Reply
  9. Hello
    I Followed your instructions but i have a problem, im not having update available (Update for Microsoft Defender Antivirus Antimalware platform)
    And when i click “Open Windows Security” its just open a white rectangle with no words except the Windows Security word in left top corner (no words like “security at a glance”) and below the “Open Windows Security” button theres no picture or button at all, just “Get help” and “Give feedback” button

    Reply
    • @Joel:

      We need to inspect the Defender/SecHealth service registry and other settings.
      Can you download defender_diag.bat from my OneDrive link, run it as administrator?
      https://1drv.ms/u/s!AjVYLGw0OBWUoAsLmpTSYQowMHPR?e=oYLstt
      The Batch file queries Defender-related settings/Policies and outputs the results to a log file. Upload this log to your OneDrive and share the link here.
      Note: Before uploading the log to your OneDrive, edit the defender.log file and remove your MSA email ID if found.
      Also, pls open PowerShell and run:
      • get-appxpackage *sechealth*
      Copy the output and include it in your reply.

  10. Dude, I did your part 2 preference because it’s related to my problems and it works, by that I mean my windows defender is back but I didn’t any updates notification, is that okay?

    Reply
    • @Rufar: Open a Command Prompt window and run:

      "C:\Program Files\Windows Defender\MpCmdRun.exe" -SignatureUpdate

      The above updates your Defender signatures. When I tested, it also triggered a platform update. Pls try that.

      Once done, open PowerShell and run:

      Get-MpComputerStatus

      Post back what it reports.

  11. Mmm… I’ve tried that and I run it on Administrator but the result is:
    ‘”C:\Program Files\Windows Defender\MpCmdRun.exe”‘ is not recognized as an internal or external command, operable program or batch file.

    🙁

    Reply

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