"Virus & spyware definitions update failed" error message when you start a new Windows 7-based computer that has Microsoft Security Essentials preinstalled

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Article ID: 982818 - View products that this article applies to.
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The first time that you start a laptop or a desktop computer that has Windows 7 and Microsoft Security Essentials preinstalled, you might see the following error message:
Virus & spyware definitions update failed

Microsoft Security Essentials wasn't able to check for virus & spyware definition updates. Make sure that your computer is connected to the Internet and try again.


This issue can occur if the computer is not connected to the Internet.


To resolve this issue, make sure that the computer is connected to the Internet, and then try to download the virus and spyware definition updates again.

If you have problems connecting to the Internet, click the following link and follow the instructions:
Connect to the Internet
After you connect to the Internet, follow these steps to download Microsoft Security Essentials updates:
  1. To start Microsoft Security Essentials, do one of the following:
    • Double-click the Microsoft Security Essentials shortcut on your desktop.
    • Click Start
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      Start button
      , type Microsoft Security Essentials in the Search programs and files box, and then click Microsoft Security Essentials on the Programs list.
  2. Click the Update tab, and then click Update.
  3. Wait as Microsoft Security Essentials checks for and downloads any available updates.

More information

For more information about Microsoft Security Essentials, go to the Microsoft Security Essentials website.


Article ID: 982818 - Last Review: July 12, 2013 - Revision: 4.1
Applies to
  • Windows 7 Enterprise
  • Windows 7 Home Basic
  • Windows 7 Home Premium
  • Windows 7 Professional
  • Windows 7 Starter
  • Windows 7 Ultimate
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