The Error Code 0x80004004 is a troublesome issue to fix, especially since there’s no known specific cause to it. What’s more, no Windows OS is immune to this error. However, the error relates to Microsoft Security Essentials or Windows Defender – a Microsoft security service that protects your computer from malware.

The error can also occur in several forms, but when it appears as “Error 0x80004004: E_ABORT,” it indicates a program or application crash. Some users report that they often get the error with another message: “Virus and Spyware definitions couldn’t be updated.” This shows up whenever they try to upgrade their Windows Defender.

Some users also reported that a running program either freezes or crashes before getting the Error Code 0x80004004. There are various instances wherein you may encounter the error. It can show up while you’re installing a program or updating your system’s OS and Windows Defender. It can even randomly appear when you’re booting or shutting down your computer.

Do you face similar issues while working on your PC? If so, you need not worry—we’ve got you covered. Follow the procedures in this guide to resolve the Windows Defender unexpected error.

Why Does the Windows Defender Error Code 0X80004004 Occur?

Anything could be responsible for the error. Although it’s difficult to pinpoint why you are seeing the Windows Defender Error Code 0X80004004, one or more of the factors below may be responsible.

  1. Corrupt registry files
  2. Malware
  3. Unreliable internet connection
  4. Corrupt sectors in the hard disk
  5. Outdated/incompatible computer drivers
  6. Conflicting antivirus software
  7. Uninstalled updates
  8. Incomplete/corrupt program installation

How to Fix Windows Defender Error Code 0X80004004

The Error Code 0x80004004 is a general error. It doesn’t have a specific cause making it difficult to suggest a particular solution. However, we compiled several solutions. We are certain that one of the solutions will indeed resolve the issue.

  1. Try the Basics

The first thing to do to resolve the Windows Defender unexpected error is to find its cause. You can do this by recalling what you were doing on your computer before the problem occurred. For instance, if it appeared while you were installing a program or downloading an update, it may cause the error.

Try out the following necessary procedures to resolve the issue.

a) Reliable Internet Connection

Check the cables, restart the router, do all you can to ensure you have reliable internet access. An unstable internet connection can abort a download, slow down, or hinder other activities.

b) Clear Out Junk and Malware

Ensure you rule out the possibility that malware might be responsible for the error code 0x80004004. You can do that by running a full scan of your PC with a trusted anti-malware program.

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c) Disable Installed Antivirus Software

The Windows Defender unexpected error could also result from a conflicting anti-malware program. Consider disabling the program to see if it’s the cause of the issue. Alternatively, we highly recommend using Auslogics Anti-Malware as it doesn’t conflict with the leading antivirus software. However, if none of the necessary procedures above work, you can try the other solutions.

  1. Troubleshoot the Problem

You can resolve the problem with the Windows Update troubleshooter. Follow the instructions below to run the troubleshooter.

  • Press Win + W keys simultaneously.
  • Search and select Troubleshooter on the resultant window.
  • Select View all.
  • Select Windows Update troubleshooter.
  • Then, follow the on-screen instructions.
  • Revert to what you were doing before you got the error to see if this method resolved the issue.
  1. Remove Junk Files

Over time, your computer tends to accumulate junk files, which overloads your computer’s hard disk and cause other internal conflicts. Clearing such files may resolve the Windows Defender Error Code 0x80004004. Following the guide below to delete your junk files.

  • Search Command Prompt in the search bar.
  • Right-click Command Prompt, then choose the Run as an Administrator option.
  • Select Yes to run Command Prompt as an administrator.
  • Type “cleanmgr” (no quotes) and press Enter.
  • The tool will automatically run and calculate how much used-space you can free on your hard disk. Check the boxes corresponding to unnecessary or temporary files.
  • Select OK to remove all junk files.
  • Revert to what you were doing before you got the error to check if this method resolved the issue. Otherwise, try the next process.
  1. Install Pending Updates

    Downloaded but not installed system updates could lead to conflicting issues such as the Error Code 0x80004004. Follow the guide below to check and install pending system updates.

  • Press the Start key, type “Update” (no quotes) in the search box, and press Enter.
  • Select the Windows System Update.
  • Navigate to uninstalled update(s) and select to install them.
  • Check if that resolved the issue or move to the next method if the error persists.
  1. Update Drivers

Drivers are essential system components that facilitate communication between your system and all installed programs. You need to install and update them regularly for smooth system operations.

Outdated or incompatible drivers can lead to the Windows Defender Error Code 0x80004004 and other system issues. Follow the guide below to update outdated drivers.

  • Press Win + X keys simultaneously to open the WinX menu.
  • Select Device Manager.
  • Navigate through the devices list to any driver that has a yellow exclamation mark. (Note: drivers with an exclamation mark signifies a malfunction).
  • Select such a device and click Update Driver.
  • Reboot your computer after installing the update.
  • Check to see if that resolved the issues. Otherwise, try the next method.
  1. Set the Windows Defender Service to Automatic

Automating your Windows Defender Service is another simple method of resolving the Windows Defender error code 0x80004004. However, this method only applies to Windows 10 OS users. Follow the guide below to automate your Windows Defender Service.

  • Run Cortana as an administrator and search for Services.
  • Enter your password if prompted and select Continue.
  • Navigate to Windows Defender Service.
  • Double-click and change its settings from manual to disabled to automatic.
  • Revert to what you were doing before you encountered the error to check if this procedure worked.
  1. Run the System File Checker Tool

Every system has a system file checker tool that scans and repairs corrupt files. The device may help correct corrupt files that may cause the error. Follow the guide below to run the system file checker tool.

  • Press the Start key and search for Command Prompt
  • Right-click and select open as an administrator.
  • Type in “chkdsk/f/r” (no quotes) and press Enter.
  • Type “Y” (no quotes) to respond to the resultant notification.
  • Reboot your PC to enable disk check to run.
  • Once the tool completes, try to see if this method fixed the error. If not, proceed to the next method.
  1. Try the Disk Check Utility

The Disk Check utility is similar to the System File Checker. This tool scans your hard drive and attempts to repair damaged files and sectors. However, this method only applies to Windows 10 users. Follow the procedure below to run the utility.

  • Press Win + x keys simultaneously to open the WinX menu.
  • Select the Command Prompt (Admin) option.
  • Select Yes to run the Command Prompt as an administrator.
  • Type “chkdsk” (no quotes), press the Space bar once, and then type in the drive letter (e.g., C) that you want to scan. However, note that running the disk check helps to identify damaged files and sectors only. You need to give other commands for the utility to perform the necessary repairs.
  • Type “/f/r/x” (no quotes) into the prompt just after the drive letter. Note: letter f gives commands the utility to fix errors, letter r commands it to identify bad sectors in the drive, while letter x commands it to dismount the drive before starting the scanning process. The utility needs to dismount the drive because it can’t run when the drive is in use).
  • Press Enter to commence the scan.
  • Reboot and check if this procedure fixed the issue. If not, try the next method.
  1. Try System Restore

Only try this method when every other above method failed to resolve the Error Code 0x80004004. Follow the guide below to perform a system restore.

  • Type “control panel” (no quotes) in the search box on the taskbar.
  • Select Control Panel.
  • Search for Recovery.
  • Select Recovery, and then open System Restore.
  • Select Next to continue.
  • Choose a restore point where your system worked without issues.
  • Select Close> Next > Finish if you’re OK with the files you’ll lose.
  • Once the process completes, check to see if this method worked.
  1. Reinstall Your OS

A fresh OS installation is always the last option to resolve persistent issues. It rids your computer of all files and applications. However, you need to back up your files before reinstalling your operating system.


It’s essential to know that corrupt files and malware are often responsible for most system errors. Ensure you install reliable antivirus software such as Auslogics Anti-Malware to keep your computer in good health.

If you could resolve the Error Code 0x80004004 with any of the methods above, please leave a comment and rate us five stars. Please contact us for further assistance with any of the methods.

Also, visit our blog often for more tips on keeping your Windows 10 computer safe.