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harrymc asked on

windows defender automatic update

Windows update is set in my case to "check and notify", because I usually take a backup of the system disk before applying the updates.
However, windows defender updates arrive every several days, and I believe that they cannot break my computer.
I would have really liked Microsoft to separate the two updates: allowing windows defender to update automatically, while maintaining my preference of "check and notify" as regarding windows update in general.
Why does windows defender need to go thru windows update? Can't it do its own updates like any other anti-virus on the market?
Found this helpful 3
Mary- replied on
Hi  harrymc,

Thank you for posting your inquiry to the Microsoft Answers site.

Windows and programs that ship with Windows, such as Internet Explorer and Windows Defender may be updated automatically by turning on automatic updating.  You can set Windows to automatically install important updates and recommended updates. Optional updates are not downloaded or installed automatically. With the Windows Update settings set to Check for Updates but let me choose whether to download and install them, you may set the Windows Defender settings to check for new definitions before a Windows Defender Scheduled Scan.

To automatically check for new definitions before Windows Defender scheduled scans (recommended)

1.            Click to open Windows Defender by going to Control Panel>Windows Defender

2.            Click Tools, and then click Options.

3.            Under Automatic scanning, make sure the Automatically scan my computer (recommended)  check box is selected.

4.            Select the Check for updated definitions before scanning check box, and then click Save. If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

To check for new Windows Defender definitions manually:

1.            Click to open Windows Defender.

2.            Click the arrow next to the Help button, and then click Check for updates.  If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

For reference,  you may also refer to the following links for more info. on Windows Defender and Windows Update settings.



Please let us know if we may provide any additional information or assistance.

Microsoft Answers Support Engineer
Visit our Microsoft Answers Feedback Forum and let us know what you think.
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Found this helpful 3
Random Person Posting replied on



I would like to say that Microsoft makes GREAT software, I couldn't live without it. I am the farthest thing from a Microsoft hater.

I believe you should have stated this in your reply:

Hi  harrymc,

Thank you for posting your inquiry to the Microsoft Answers site. Unfortunately at this time, "Windows Defender" does not have an option to be automatically updated on it's own. However, you can enable "automatic updates" for all "important updates" which include "Windows Defender" and other updates that Microsoft feels is important.

and then continued the rest of the email. I believe that adding that short amount of information, would prove that you completely understood the question and you would have not only answered the question, but by adding the rest of the information you did include, would have made it beyond an A+ reply that I would be very impressed and praise. I personally come across non-microsoft questions/replies all the time that leave out the actual answer.


Why I think that should be included:


The question/request was to make Windows Defender have it's own dedicated automatic update option because Microsoft has a history of including "important updates" that users do not want.

The solution is not to enable all "important updates" because not all "important updates" are important to the users.

Sometimes "Windows Defender" updates several times in 1 day. I appreciate the constant updates, however, I feel that by not enabling "automatic updates" but having it automatically check for them, that the "Windows Defender" updates seem more like a nag screen in order to entice users to enable "automatic updates" in order to avoid being nagged. As with the user who posted first, I trust that Microsoft would never include anything in their "Windows Defender" that I would disagree with it being something I do not want to have on my computer. I trust that if "Windows Defender" was going to include new "free services" or "free toolbars or programs" or "free privacy violations" or "free infection of spyware" and also that if they were going to do a radical change, they would inform you with a change in "Terms of Service" or something like that so that they do not run into legal problems, as they have in the past.



Keep up the excellent work Microsoft. Windows 7 is speechlessly AMAZING! With the progression of all companies Operating Systems which keep demanding more powerful hardware and giving you worse performance in exchange for more compatibility with new hardware, I never expected something like Windows 7 to exist, but it is what I always daydreamed about someday having an OS like. I was a hardcore Windows XP lover, but after trying Windows 7, I have become an obsessed Windows 7 lover and am completely happy with not using Windows XP again. I hope you continue to focus on using the operating system to run as smoothly, crash-free and fast as possible and not bog it down so that it runs like a turtle. In my opinion, new operating systems should focus on improving performance. Users should want to upgrade to a newer OS because it either makes their computer run faster (like win 7 does) or because it is a whole new GUI or something else that is a major change.

(I am on lack of sleep, so forgive me if I came off as rude or poor English/grammar and forgive the ultra long post.)

Found this helpful 4
Vroo replied on


Real answer: Microsoft wants you to turn on automatic updates and making windows defender updates more convenient would undermine that goal. But they're not going to admit that.

Likewise, it would be nice to be able to say automatically install updates that don't require restarting but they're not going to do that either. Heck, years ago they set a goal that no updates would ever require restarts and they're nowhere near that goal.

There is a solution: Since all defender updates have the same KB number, you can use a script to automatically install that update anytime it appears. 

NOTE: This script is not supported by Microsoft or anyone else and you use it at your own risk.
Found this helpful 2
Boomie replied on
This is still true even in Windows 8.
I wish defender updates would become less annoying.
Found this helpful 1
rafael :D replied on
Considering this thread has been very inactive for over three years, I am going ahead and locking it.