Microsoft Security Essentials & Windows XP Security Center Disagree on Protection Status

Technical Level : Basic


This article contains suggested solutions for a conflict in reporting between Microsoft Security Essentials and the Windows XP Security Center. Some users have reported that the Microsoft Security Essentials status in the Notification tray and in the program itself is Good and all protection is shown as on. However, the Security Center in Windows XP reports that virus and spyware protection is off. There have also been reports of the same situation with later versions of Windows.

Please also see this Wiki if you are running Windows XP with Microsoft Security Essentials:

Microsoft Security Essentials on Windows XP - At Risk > 9 April, 2014


In the Notification tray, you see this icon and a message similar to this might be displayed:

Yet, you also see that Microsoft Security Essentials is showing a green icon, and indicating that all is well:

This happens for various reasons.

Some people report that opening Microsoft Security Essentials, performing an update check and/or turning real time protection off and back on again the MSE resolves the issue temporarily or permanently.

Open MSE Turn off Real-time Protection (Save changes) then Turn on Real-time Protection (Save changes) run a Quick Scan and reboot the machine.  This should resolve the issue. As long as the MSE tray icon is green you are protected regardless what Security Center alerts you to.

The root of the problem lies with Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) Repository causing a miscommunication between MSE and Security Center. If the problem recurs you should rebuild the Repository. To do this proceed as follows:

Start>Run type services,msc in the Open: box and click OK or press Enter key.

Scroll down the list to Windows Management Instrumentation click on the entry then Pause. Leave this window open for the time being. (or minimize if you wish)

Start>Run and type C:\Windows\System32\wbem and OK. From the menu at the top select Tools>Folder Options and select View tab. Under Hidden files and folders select Show hidden files and folders and OK.

Now from the list of files and folders locate the Repository folder. Right click on it and select Delete.

Close this window and return to Services window. Start (restart) the WMI service. This will rebuild the Repository and hopefully permanently resolve the issue. Note that the rebuilding and restart of the WMI Repository can take up to a few minutes. If, upon restart, the Security Center still alerts, you may need to restart the computer.

Special thanks to the following contributors to this article:


Le Boule


See Also:

Using Windows Security Center

Repairing /Fixing WMI Repository

Getting started with Microsoft Security Essentials

End of Support Windows XP

Microsoft Security Essentials on Windows XP - At Risk > 9 April, 2014


Forum Article Info

Last updated January 8, 2020 Views 31,111 Applies to:
Rebooted but problem persists. :(
Rebooted but problem persists. :(

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Windows Insider MVP (Security), Moderator Microsoft Community

Thank you - This worked on an XP machine running SP3.

Please note that I tried rebuilding the repository and this did not work, so I turned off 'real time protection' and then turned it back on.  This solved the problem.


It worked for me on a Windows 7 x64! Didn't even need to restart..

Thank you sooo much!

Gabriel N.
Yes!! Yes!! The problem with the registry was a down load of Windows10. The down load never activated through Windows update. My local settings were blocked because of update. Thanks Forum!!!
Yes confirmed working.