SOLUTION: Cannot Uninstall Microsoft Security Essentials from Windows 10

Recently, I encountered two different workstations that had upgraded to Windows 10 from Windows 7 on which Microsoft Security Essentials inexplicably was not uninstalled during the upgrade process by Windows Setup.  This is baffling, because MSSE isn’t designed to work with Windows 10 (it doesn’t work), and plus, it precludes the use of Windows Defender, which is essentially the Windows 10 upgraded equivalent of MSSE.

If you’re in the same situation, you’ll also discover that it is impossible to remove Microsoft Security Essentials from Programs and Features; when attempting to do so, you simply receive a generic message which states “You don’t need to install Microsoft Security Essentials.”  That’s great, Microsoft, because we don’t want to install it, we want to uninstall it.

Anyway, the solution to this problem is actually quite simple:

  1. Press Windows Key + R to open the Run dialog.
  2. In the Open: field, type:
    • explorer “%PROGRAMFILES%\Microsoft Security Client\”
      and press ENTER.
  3. Highlight the file Setup.exe, right-click it, and choose Properties.
  4. Choose Compatibility.
  5. Click Change settings for all users.
  6. Check the box next to Run this program in compatibility mode for: and choose Windows 7 from the drop-down box.
  7. Click OK on all dialogue boxes to exit all windows.
  8. In the search box at the bottom of the screen, type cmd. At the top of the pop-up window, underneath the heading Best matchright-click Command Prompt and choose Run as administrator.
  9. In the Command Prompt window that opens, type the following command:
    • “%PROGRAMFILES%\Microsoft Security Client\setup.exe” /x /disableoslimit
  10. Follow the instructions to uninstall.

That’s it!

Special thanks to corrado_boy_g60 at the Microsoft Community for information leading to this solution.

Donate to say "Thanks" if this post has helped save you time and money! 🙂

16 thoughts on “SOLUTION: Cannot Uninstall Microsoft Security Essentials from Windows 10

  1. I am trying to use your solution to delete Microsoft Security Essentials. The second instruction says type a special character that looks like a square and then a string of characters. What combination of keys produces that square?. I tried keying in the command without the square and it didn’t work.Thanks for your help.

  2. I’m thinking this must be a product of the WordPress platform replacing a standard quotation mark with an angled quote. The beginning 2 characters after Explorer are a quotation mark and a percentage sign.

  3. Is anyone aware of a good uninstall tool?
    I’ve got no MSE directories on the system, it’s not listed in Programs/Features, but I’m trying to install BitDefender and it’s telling me that MSE has to be uninstalled. It subsequently fails.

  4. I have deleted some files of mse and still want to remove will this method work . Mse is hellish in windows 10

  5. Hi, I’m not a good computer person so the information above does not help me get rid of Microsoft. The problem is my understanding, not your program. Can you help! Thanks

  6. Thx man, you are a star!!!
    The solution provided worked perfectly and is much appreciated!

  7. Well what a nightmare this has been, but I finally got it sorted out. It all started with me doing a Windows 7 to Windows 10 upgrade. Unfortunately I had MSSE installed, and it somehow was still functional in Windows 10.
    -I tried to uninstall, no luck.
    -I then used Revouninstaller, deleted all registry keys and it appeared to work.
    -When I rebooted Windows, Defender only worked in the periodic mode as it detected another anti-virus program.
    -I then installed Avast AV Free and it installed, but had issues as it also detected other AV software.
    -I tried to use the Microsoft FixIt program but Microsoft has taken it down. I did finally locate a copy of the 64 bit version and got it to work in compatibility mode for Windows 7 running as admin after uninstalling Avast.
    -I rebooted and happy me! Windows Defender is now fully operational.
    I’m thinking of trying Avast AV Free edition, but at this point I’m just happy that Defender works.

  8. No Setup.exe in my folder, so I clicked the “user interface” icon in the folder. This showed MSE as “on” and Defender in “snooze”. From there I was able to turn off MSE, and turn on Defender. Then able to uninstall MSE. This was the first successful approach of several different ones I previously tried. Many thanks.

  9. In addition to the above improvement, this has also fixed my previously very poor connection to the internet. Major breakthrough!

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