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How to resolve Windows Defender error code 0x8e5e021f?

By Eunice Samson | July 31, 2019 |

greater than 4 minutes

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Most Windows users know that they need some kind of security software on their computer. While a lot of people do not rely solely on Windows Defender, there are still some who prefer to use it. After all, Microsoft has made the latest versions of this program more secure than the older versions.

In Windows XP, Windows 7, and Windows Vista, Defender’s only function was to be an anti-spyware tool. However, when Microsoft made it an integral part of Windows 8 and Windows 10, the tool became a full anti-virus program. It is still debatable whether Windows Defender alone can provide adequate protection for the operating system. Many of the members of the Microsoft community seem to believe that it is trustworthy enough. According to AV-TEST reviews, Windows Defender is capable of getting rid of about 94.5% of cyber viruses.

While many users still rely on Windows Defender, the program is no stranger to issues. Users report that when they try to launch the app, they get an error message which says, “An error has occurred in the program during initialization. If this problem continues, please contact your system administrator.” Usually, this message is accompanied by the Error Code 0x8e5e021f.

It is possible that the Error Code 0x8e5e021f has something to do with a malware infection, corrupted registry entries, or a conflict with a third-party anti-virus. Keep in mind that the solution depends on what caused the issue in the first place. So, if you want to learn how to fix the Windows Defender Error Code 0x8e5e021f, make sure you work your way down our list of solutions.

How to Fix the Error Code 0x8e5e021f When Installing an App

Before we teach you how to fix the Windows Defender Error Code 0x8e5e021f, we want to share the simplest way to resolve the issue. Some users reported that rebooting the system a couple of times had helped them to get rid of the problem. You can also try scanning your enztire system for malware. Of course, you will need a third-party anti-virus to do this, especially since Windows Defender is malfunctioning.

There are many anti-virus programs out there, but Auslogics Anti-Malware is among the few you can rely on completely. This tool has been designed to detect malicious items you would never suspect existed. No matter how discreetly the viruses operate in the background, Auslogics Anti-Malware will be able to spot them. What’s more, this software program was designed by a certified Microsoft Silver Application Developer. So, you can trust that it won’t come into conflict with Windows Defender.

Solution 1: Restarting the Security Center Service

One of the ways to fix the Error Code 0x8e5e021f is by restarting the Security Center service. Here’s how you can do that:

  1. Open the Run dialog box by pressing Windows Key+R on your keyboard.
  2. Inside the Run dialog box, type “services.msc” (no quotes), then hit Enter.
  3. Look for Security Center, then right-click it.
  4. Choose Restart from the options.

After restarting the Security Center service, check if you can run Windows Defender without any issues.

Solution 2: Getting Rid of Conflicting Registry Entries


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Before you try this solution, you should know that the Windows Registry is a sensitive database. So, if you make even the smallest mistake, you might cause irreversible damage to your system. We suggest that you only proceed to steps below if you are certain that you can follow them to a tee. If you are confident with your tech skills, go ahead and try these steps:

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  1. You need to launch the Run dialog box again. To do this, press Windows Key+R.
  2. Now, type “regedit” (no quotes) inside the Run dialog box, then click OK.
  3. Once you’re inside the Registry Editor, navigate to this path:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options

  1. Under the Image File Execution Options tree, look for the MpCmdRun.exe, MSASCui.exe, or MsMpEng.exe entries.
  2. If you find any of the entries, right-click it, then choose Delete.

Solution 3: Using the Group Policy Editor to Enable Windows Defender

In some cases, the Error Code 0x8e5e021f is accompanied by a message which says, “This app is turned off by Group Policy.” This message indicates that a third-party anti-virus has disabled Windows Defender. When this happens, you need to disable your anti-virus. After doing that, you need to use the Group Policy Editor to activate Windows Defender. Here are the steps:

  1. Log into the Administrator account in your system.
  2. Now, press Windows Key+R on your keyboard to launch the Run dialog box.
  3. Type “gpedit.msc” (no quotes) inside the box, then press Enter.
  4. Once the Group Policy Editor is up, follow this path:

Local Computer Policy ->Administrative Templates ->Windows Components ->Windows Defender Antivirus

  1. Go to the right panel, then select Windows Defender.
  2. You will see the ‘Turn off Windows Defender Antivirus’ option. Open it by double-clicking it.
  3. A new window will pop up. Choose Disabled, then click OK to save the change you’ve made.

After enabling Windows Defender via the Group Policy Editor, check if you can launch Windows Defender. Keep in mind that the Group Policy Editor is available only on the Pro and Enterprise editions of Windows 10. However, you can still enable Windows Defender, using the Registry Editor. Simply follow the instructions below:

  1. Launch the Run dialog box by pressing Windows Key+R on your keyboard.
  2. Inside the box, type “regedit” (no quotes), then hit Enter.
  3. Once the Registry Editor is up, navigate to this path:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender

  1. Now, move to the right pane and look for the DisableAntiSpyware entry.
  2. Click the entry, then change its value to 0.
  3. If you do not see the DisableAntiSpyware entry, create a new key for it. You can do that by clicking any empty space on the right pane. Select New, then choose DWORD.
  4. Use DisableAntiSpyware as the name of the new key.
  5. Don’t forget to set its value to 0.
  6. Exit the Registry Editor, then restart your system.

After restarting your computer, try launching Windows Defender to see if the issue has been resolved.

Do you prefer using Windows Defender as your primary anti-virus?

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below!

Fed up with your slow PC? Tired of waiting for Windows to start up? Take a look at the most common reasons behind poor performance and the best ways to deal with them here.


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