6 Best Ways to Fix Virus & Threat Protection Engine Unavailable Error in Windows 11

The Windows Security app protects your computer from viruses, malware, and other security threats. However, when attempting to access its Virus & Threat Protection feature, you may encounter the Engine Unavailable error. This error appears when the computer fails to download the Security Intelligence update for Windows Defender Antivirus.

Fortunately, like any other Windows Security app issue, it can also fixable. In this post, we’ll see how to fix Windows Security Engine Unavailable error. So, let’s begin.

1. Start the Security Center Service

Services are important Windows PC components that run in the background and play a crucial role in various tasks. One of these services is the Security Center service, which checks and reports the health of your computer. If this service is not running, you are likely to face the Windows Defender engine unavailable problem.

The solution here is to start the Security Center service. Here’s how to do that:

Step 1: Press the Windows key to open the Start Menu.

Step 2: Type Services in the search bar and press Enter.

Services in Start Menu

Step 3: Right-click on the Security Center service and choose Start from the context menu.

Start option of the Security Center service

Wait till the service starts. After that, restart your computer and check for the issue.

2. Use the Windows Update Troubleshooter

As aforementioned, the engine unavailable error appears when Windows fails to download the Security Intelligence update. To fix this, you can run the Windows Update troubleshooter that’ll detect and eliminate the culprit causing the download failure.

Follow the below steps to run the Window Update troubleshooter:

Step 1: Press Windows + I keyboard shortcut to open the Settings app.

Step 2: Click System from the left sidebar and then choose the Troubleshoot option.

Troubleshoot option in Settings

Step 3: Choose Other troubleshooters.

Other troubleshooter option in Settings

Step 4: Click the Run button next to Windows Update.

Run option for Windows Troubleshooter

The troubleshooter window will appear and look for any available issues. It will automatically fix any without much user input if it finds any.

3. Restart Windows Defender

Another quick way to fix the problem is to restart Windows Defender. Doing this will be helpful if you are getting the error due to a temporary bug in the Windows Defender antivirus.

To restart Windows Defender antivirus, follow the below instructions:

Step 1: Click the Start button on the taskbar to open the Start Menu, type Command Prompt, and choose Run as administrator from the right pane.

Command Prompt in Start Menu

Step 2: Paste the following command in the Common Prompt window and press Enter:

sc start WinDefend Enable

Enable Windows Defender command in CMD

4. Edit the Registry Settings

At times, some third-party software may end up making registry changes quietly to work properly on your computer. That said, DisableAntiVirus and DisableAntiSpyware are two important entries associated with the Windows Defender Antivirus. If either of these entries is enabled, you’ll face the Windows Defender engine unavailable problem.

The solution, in this case, is to access the Registry Editor and disable these entries. Here’s how:

Step 1: Press the Windows + R keyboard shortcut to open the Run tool, type regedit and press Enter.

Typing regedit in Run tool

Step 2: In the Registry Editor, navigate to the following location:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender

Step 3: Right-click on the DisableAntiSpyware key in the right pane and choose Modify.

Modify option in Registry Editor

Step 4: Type 0 in the Value data and click OK.

Value Data option in key

Repeat the same steps for the DisableAntiVirus key, type 0 in its Value data section, and click OK to save the changes.

5. Remove Third-Party Security App

The Windows Security app is enough to safeguard your computer from online and offline threats. However, many users still install a third-party applications on their devices.

If you use a third-party security program, disable it to fix the engine unavailable problem. You can do that by right-clicking on the app’s icon in the system tray and choosing Disable from the context menu.

After disabling the app, check if the error is fixed. If yes, you may consider to uninstall that app from your computer.

6. Reset Windows Security

Like any other built-in application, the Windows Security app can also get corrupt for various reasons. When that happens, you become prone to encounter different issues, including the one in question.

The best way to remove corruption from the Windows Security app is to reset it. You can do that by following these steps:

Step 1: Click the Start icon on the taskbar, type Windows PowerShell in the Start Menu search bar and choose Run as administrator from the right pane.

_Windows PowerShell in Start Menu

Step 2: Paste the following command in the PowerShell window and press Enter:

Get-AppxPackage Microsoft.SecHealthUI -AllUsers | Reset-AppxPackage

Reset Windows Security command in PowerShell

After executing the command, restart your computer and check for the issue.

Keep Your Computer Protected

Virus & Threat protection is an important component of the Windows Security app. It’s a place from where you can run a full system scan, manage protection settings and much more.

However, you won’t be able to access all these settings if you encounter the Windows Defender engine unavailable error. Luckily, you can quickly eliminate the error using the above methods.

Last updated on 17 April, 2023

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