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Windows 10 update breaks your PC's antivirus: What to do

Microsoft Windows 10 updates
(Image credit: SOPA Images / Contributor)

Embrace Windows 10 users, it's that time of the week again. Microsoft updated its operating system and, as always, left a path of destruction in its wake. The latest fatality, as Windows Latest discovered, is Windows Defender, the anti-malware tool designed to keep your computer safe. 

After updating the antivirus software, several users are receiving the error message: "Items Skipped During Scan." That's not the most reassuring conclusion to a scan designed to snuff out intruders. 

The error says items were skipped and not scanned because of "exclusion or network scanning settings." 

That would be a helpful hint if those reporting issues had exclusions applied, or if they had actually made changes to the network settings. Alas, angry Windows 10 users can't find the source to the problem and there is no solution yet. 

“I do get that message with a manual quick scan or with a full scan. It happens whether/not I turn off Cloud-delivered Protection or Controlled Folder Access. I didn’t try the other settings. I’ve got no folder excluded,” one user wrote on Microsoft's support forums.

“I did a complete reinstall from USB key of my Windows 10. The problem disappeared until I ran Windows Updates, which installed KB4551762 and KB4537572 (which is NET Framework update, I believe). Then the problem came back. I think it is the KB4551762 that does it?” another person wrote on Answers.com

We don't even know exactly what is causing the problem. It seems Windows Defender version 4.18.2003 and newer introduced the bug when Microsoft was fixing other problems. That theory is backed by evidence that only Windows 10 systems are experiencing the issue; Windows 8 and Windows 7 PCs are unaffected, although you shouldn't be operating the latter anymore. 

It's also possible the issue was caused by a Windows 10 update, which tends to create all sorts of problems. In that case, Microsoft could resolve the error with a subsequent patch. 

However, some Windows 10 users are worried that the problem is caused by a virus, or, as Windows Latest posits, the error message might be an error itself, and there aren't any actual problems with the scan. 

Windows Defender error: What to do

Microsoft hasn't acknowledged the problem so it's unclear if a patch is being worked on. Fortunately, some users report that the offline scan doesn't cause any problems. Of course, without an active connection, Windows Defender only offers limited protection. 

If you're relying on Windows Defender as your primary antivirus solution, then these issues could cause your system to be vulnerable to malware. We recommend downloading one of the best free antivirus software until Microsoft resolves the problems with Windows Defender.