Windows Security app

Windows Security is a handy way to keep your PC safe from cybersecurity threats like malware and viruses. Microsoft’s built-in antivirus app is free to use and boosts your computer’s defences, but sometimes it may not work the way it’s supposed to.

If your Windows Security app isn’t able to scan threats or it’s just not opening, your PC will be open to malicious software lying in wait to sneak onto your device – especially if you don’t have a third-party antivirus like Bitdefender or Avast One installed.

No one wants ransomware, spyware or adware ruining their day, so it’s important to get your PC’s default security back up and running as soon as possible. The good news is there are a few ways to fix Windows Security on your computer, and sometimes it can be as simple as turning it on.

Follow the steps below to fix Windows Security on your PC.

How to fix Windows Security on PC

Windows Security may stop working for a myriad of reasons. Sometimes, a hacker will use malicious software to turn off your PC’s antivirus software, and other times the security app may not work properly because there’s already an antivirus doing all the protecting. Whatever the case, these fixes should sort you out.

Turn Windows Security on

As the old adage goes, the simplest solution is almost always the best. For one reason or the other, Windows Security may be turned off, which means you’ll need to switch it back on again.

  • On your PC, type in “Windows Security” in the search field located on the taskbar.
  • A window will pop up. Click Turn On under Virus & threat protection.
Windows Security window

Alternatively, if the Windows Security app won’t open from the search bar, you can head into Settings instead.

  • Select Start in the taskbar.
  • Click Settings. (You can also press Win + I to open Settings).
  • In the left-hand sidebar, click Update & Security or Privacy & security.
  • Select Windows Security.
  • Then click Open Windows Security.
How to fix Windows Security

Update Windows

If it’s been a while since you’ve updated Windows 10 or Windows 11, this may be causing the security app to malfunction. A quick check for a Windows Update may solve the issue.

  • Select Start in the taskbar.
  • Click Settings. (You can also press Win + I to open Settings).
  • Find Windows Update in the left-hand sidebar or top bar and click on it.
  • Select Check for updates.
  • If an update is found, click Download & install.
  • Once done, restart your PC.
How to fix Windows Security

Remove third-party antivirus

Windows Security may not be working properly if there’s already another antivirus turned on. If this is an antivirus you don’t recognize or doesn’t work the way you want it to, it’s best to disable and remove the third-party antivirus so Microsoft’s antivirus can do its job.

There are plenty of ways to do this, and you can find out how to remove an antivirus on Windows with our guide. However, one of the easiest ways to do this is to follow the steps below.

  • On your Windows PC, type in “Control Panel” in the search field located on the Task Bar.
  • Click on the Control Panel app.
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  • A window will pop up. Under Programs, click on Uninstall a program.
  • A list of installed programs will show up. Right-click the antivirus you wish to uninstall, or double-click and select “Yes”.
  • Follow the steps the antivirus service provides to uninstall the antivirus.
  • Restart your device.
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Windows’ built-in antivirus is good at detecting and protecting your PC against malware, and it even has hidden ransomware protection. That said, the best antivirus software can do a lot more to fend off malware, so it may be worth switching to one of these.

Repair and reset Windows Security app

If the Security app still isn’t working, you’ll need to reset the application to get rid of any bugs that it may have encountered. Think of it as a fresh start to your system.

  • Select Start in the taskbar.
  • Click Settings. (You can also press Win + I to open Settings).
  • Select Apps in the left-hand sidebar.
  • Click Installed apps or Apps & features.
How to fix Windows Security
  • Scroll down to find Windows Security and click on the three dots. Then press Advanced options.
  • Under Reset, select Repair.
  • If the app still isn’t working correctly after the repair, select Reset.
How to fix Windows Security

Reset your PC

As another old adage goes, have you tried turning it off and on again? Although, this method is more of a “hardcore” off and on again. Windows bugs can nearly always be resolved by resetting your PC, as it brings it back to its default state before it was affected by any hiccups. It may take a while, but it’s worth doing to keep your computer in tip-top shape.

  • Select Start in the taskbar.
  • Click Settings. (You can also press Win + I to open Settings).
  • Select System in the left-hand sidebar and click Recovery.
How to fix Windows Security
  • Under Recovery options, select Reset PC.
  • A window will pop. To make sure to keep all your personal files, select Keep my files. Then click Local reinstall.
  • Follow the instructions to reset your PC.
How to fix Windows Security

Resetting your PC will remove all the apps and settings currently on your system. To make sure you don’t lose any important files or documents, you’ll want to back up your data via cloud storage or an external SSD.

Use the best antivirus software to remove malware

While Windows Security offers a great way to detect malicious software on your PC, other protection software can do a better job.

The best antivirus software will detect and remove malicious programs and software affecting your device. Simply installing an antivirus and performing a system scan should be able to detect the source of the issue and get rid of it. What’s more, you don’t need to pay for all the security tools an antivirus service offers, as free antivirus software from providers such as BitdefenderAvast One or AVG offers the same detection and removal features.

Install the antivirus and perform a quick or full scan to see if any malware is hiding in plain sight.

Best antivirus for Windows PC

You can find out the best antivirus software below.

  1. Bitdefender
    Best overall antivirus

    Bitdefender

    Bitdefender takes the spot as best antivirus, and for good reason. It’s not enough that it boasts near-perfect lab test scores across the board, as it goes the extra mile by giving users access to a plethora of advanced security features.

    Bitdefender goes above and beyond in the features department, all while keeping known malware, ransomware, and viruses at bay. It will defend your device against new attacks, provide security for online transactions, keep you safe with a reliable VPN, and protect your accounts with a password manager.

    It’s a no-brainer when it comes to defending your devices against virtually any form of cyberattack, and its top-notch protection extends to its most affordable package, too. Protecting your PC and smartphone, from Windows and macOS to iOS and Android, is becoming even more necessary, and Bitdefender is the tricked-out shield you need. 

    See our full Bitdefender review

    Click here to get Bitdefender Premium Security ($100 OFF!)

  2. Avast One
    Best free antivirus

    Avast One logo

    With Avast One, you can protect your device from viruses, malware and ransomware for free. That’s right, and you don’t have to pay a dime for the extra security features the antivirus throws in, including its VPN, firewall and more.

    Avast One will safeguard your device from malware, comes with ransomware protection, blocks harmful websites and downloads from the web, scans your emails for malicious attachments, stops hackers from infiltrating your device through Wi-Fi with a firewall – the list goes on. That’s a lot of tools for software that’s free, and the included VPN and the ability to speed up your PC are a welcome bonus.

    It’s the ideal antivirus software for home use, as it takes the hassle out of staying wary of cyber threats lurking around, even if you’re not a tech whizz. What’s more, if you are looking for added precautions, its paid Individual and Family packages still boast great value. Hard to go wrong with this best antivirus.

    See our full Avast One review

    Click here to get Avast One (up to 50% OFF!)

  3. Norton 360
    Best antivirus for families

    Norton 360 on Laptop

    “Norton” and “antivirus” are synonymous these days, as the well-established cybersecurity brand has successfully fought against malware, viruses and nasty software threats since 1990. 

    Norton 360 offers excellent antivirus protection and extra features that make for a valuable, all-in-one security product. Its Norton 360 Deluxe and Premium package may cost a pretty penny. Still, with security across multiple platforms, a full-blown VPN, Dark Web Monitoring, Parental Controls and more, it will have a household free of cyber threats. 

    Norton’s certainty of its antivirus software’s capabilities is clearly defined by the brand’s 100% Virus Protection Promise. If a device protected by Norton 360 can’t get rid of a virus, the user receives their money back. It’s a big claim, but unquestionably, no one should expect to get that refund.

    If you have the money for it, you can also check out the premium Norton 360 Platinum package for even more online protection, including from identity theft. Without a doubt one of the best antivirus to get.

    See our full Norton 360 review

    Click here to get Norton 360 (get $80 OFF!)

  4. AVG
    Another best antivirus for free

    AVG Antivirus logo on laptop

    You can never go wrong with free antivirus protection, but some deliver even better detection and protection rates, along with extra security features, without costing a dime. This is where AVG antivirus shines.

    AVG provides reliable protection and only a small impact on performance for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android. It safeguards your devices against malware, viruses and zero-day exploits, along with blocking malicious links and attachments in emails. Throw in phishing protection when surfing the internet and extra security features such as its SafePrice browser extension and Network Inspector, and you’ve got yourself a do-it-all antivirus.

    Sure, you can find all of these perks with Avast, but if you like a slick, darker user interface that’s easy to navigate, then AVG is for you.

    See our full AVG Antivirus review

    Click here to get AVG (up to 42% OFF!)

  5. Malwarebytes
    Best antivirus for Windows PC

    Malwarebytes Logo

    Hundreds of malware emerge every minute, and it’s Malwarebytes’ mission to detect and conquer them all. Does the antivirus do this successfully? Yes, but there’s wiggle room for improvements.

    Malwarebytes’ no-nonsense approach to protecting your devices from the onslaught of malware and viruses is effective for those who need a reliable antivirus that will detect and remove malicious software, especially with its free version. However, while its premium service provides 24/7 real-time detection, conveniently blocks vicious ransomware and shields users from malicious websites, it doesn’t go beyond on the feature front.

    That’s no bad thing, as sometimes a user only needs a powerful antivirus to keep them safe from cyber threats. But considering its competitors add a few more security tools, such as data breach monitoring and a firewall, there’s room for improvement. 

    See our full Malwarebytes review

    Click here to get Malwarebytes

Darragh Murphy
Darragh Murphy is fascinated by all things bizarre, which usually leads to assorted coverage varying from the mischievous world of online security to washing machines designed for earbuds. Whether it's connecting Scar from The Lion King to two-factor authentication or turning his love for laptops into a fabricated rap battle from 8 Mile, he believes there’s always a quirky spin to be made. When he's not checking out the latest devices and all things tech, he can be found swimming laps, watching terrible shark movies, and trying to find time to game.  Previous Editor at Laptop Mag and News Editor at Time Out Dubai, specialising in food culture, nightlife events, gaming, tech and entertainment.

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