What to do when Microsoft Security Essentials won’t update automatically

By | October 6, 2012
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Linda can’t update her Microsoft Security Essentials

This past Sunday, I received a notice from Microsoft Security Essentials stating my computer might be at risk that it needed updating. Since that day, I have tried to update MSE numerous times but get a reading that it could not install updates because of internet or network connectivity problems. I then used the “help” link in MSE to read about my problem and get a resolution to no avail. I have used MSE for over a year and have never experienced this problem. Can you advise me please?

Our answer

Hi Linda. You’re not alone. This happens to a lot of people — so much so that Microsoft has a special page where you can download the updates manually. And since this recently happened to me too, I had the page handy.

The manual updates worked fine for me and since I did one update manually, MSE has been updating automatically and normally ever since. The following Microsoft KB article applies to Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 both 32bit and 64bit editions.


Be careful you download the correct version for your computer. If you’re not sure if you have 32bit or 64bit, right-click “Computer” (on the start menu) and choose “Properties”. It will tell you if you have 32bit Windows or 64bit Windows.

Here’s the page you need to read and from which you can manually download the latest spyware and antivirus definitions for Microsoft Security Essentials.

One note. There’s a mistake on the page. At the top it says Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7. At the bottom it says “Applies to Windows 7 Professional”. Don’t worry about that error at the bottom. It’s just Microsoft being Microsoft!

via Cloudeight InfoAve Premium – Computer tips and tricks newsletter.

12 thoughts on “What to do when Microsoft Security Essentials won’t update automatically

  1. Norene Tidd

    My computer doesn’t show 32 or64 bits. I only shows Service pack 3. I would like to update Microsoft Security.

    Please help (& thank you)

    1. infoave Post author

      Right-click on My Computer. If you’re using Windows XP and it doesn’t say 32 or 64 bit — then it’s 32bit.

  2. Rachel Henderson

    The latest Windows updates, include an update to Microsoft Security Essentials. I’m hoping it addresses this problem of auto updates not working.

  3. MrsMo

    is there a link to the microsoft page? i don’t see a hyperlink anywhere to click on. then again, my chrome has been giving me fits since their last ‘upgrade’. LOL


  4. missid

    i downloaded security essentials :
    Antimalware Client Version: 4.6.305.0
    Engine Version: 1.1.11302.0
    Antivirus definition: 1.191.2612.0
    Antispyware definition: 1.191.2612.0
    Network Inspection System Engine Version: 2.1.11005.0
    Network Inspection System Definition Version:
    but since the first time it is not at all updating showing the same notice as in case of Linda.
    i tried the manual updating method. but each time i am supposed to download the updates manually .it never gets automatically updated

    1. infoave Post author

      Microsoft Security Essentials was very good 3+ years ago, but now it protects you from virtually nothing. Your best best is to remove it and install something that works corrrectly and will actually protect you. We have not recommended MSE is years for a reason…it have become impotent. It isn’t even rated in the list of recommended antivirus programs on any independent antivirus lab testing site.

  5. Gerald

    I normally use Mozilla Firefox as my default browser. To get MSE updates to load, I make IE my default browser and restart my computer. This has worked for me several times. Win 7 Pro.

    1. infoave Post author

      The default browser has nothing to do with Windows updates. But I’m glad your updates work for you.


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