How to Fix Error Code 0x800704ec when Turning On Windows Defender?

by Gabriel E. Hall - -


Issue: How to Fix Error Code 0x800704ec when Turning On Windows Defender?

I can’t turn Windows Defender on. I’ve tried to do so many times today, but in vain because all attempts lead to the error code 0x800704ec. Actually, I’m a bit worried since my PC is entirely unprotected now. Could you please help?

Solved Answer


The Error Code 0x800704ec is an official Windows notification, which may occur on any Windows OS version when a PC’s user attempts to turn on Windows Defender. As people reported, the icon of Windows Defender is grayed and delivers the error pop-up when clicking on it and selecting Turn on. In most of the cases, the 0x800704ec error shows up on Windows 10, which has another anti-virus, for example, Avast installed. Windows Defender is an inbuilt Windows 10 app, which is set to run in the background of the system all the time. However, if Security Center detects another anti-virus software, Windows Defender is automatically shut down and will be automatically turned on only when the third-party anti-virus will be removed. Therefore, if you have recently installed Avast, Norton, Malwarebytes or any other anti-virus software, you should either forget about using Windows Defender or disable the third-party anti-virus to fix Error Code 0x800704ec completely. If, however, you are not using additional software utility, then the culprit may be faulty Group Policy settings or corrupted system files. Therefore, you will have to perform some fixes manually to resolve Windows Defender’s error 0x800704ec once and for all.

Windows Defender Error Code 0x800704ec Fixes:

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Fix 1.Disable/Remove Third-Party Anti-virus

As we have already pointed out, first of all, check if your PC has more than one anti-virus software running. If you installed a third-party antivirus program some time ago, then it’s not surprising why you can’t turn on Windows Defender right now. To fix 0x800704ec error, disable, or even better remove, third-party anti-virus from the system. For this purpose, you can either use Perfect Uninstaller or stop the process of your anti-virus via Task Manager and then uninstall it from the Add/Remove Programs in Control Panel.

Fix 2. Use Registry Editor

  • Click Win key, type regedit, and press Enter.
  • Using the left pane, navigate to the HKey_Local_Machine\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender location.
  • Find DisableAntiSpyware key and delete its value. For this purpose, you have to double-click on the REG –DWORD and set its value to 0.

Fix 3. Change Group Policy’s settings

  • Log into your account as an administrator.
  • Once done, type gpedit.msc, and press Enter.
  • Click Local Computer Policy and select Administrative Templates.
  • Then select Windows Components and open Windows Defender.
  • Select Windows Defender and double-click Turn off Windows Defender option on the right pane.
  • In the newly opened window, click Disable.
  • Finally, click OK to save the changes.

Fix 4. Optimize the system

Corrupted or damaged system files are the most common issue which arouses errors like 0x800704ec. Therefore, it’s advisable to check and fix the improper Windows files by running sfc / scannow and DISM tool:

  • Click Win key + X and select Command Prompt (Admin).
  • Type sfc /scannow command and press Enter.
  • Then type the following commands and hit Enter after each of them:
    DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Scanhealth
    DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth
  • Close Command Prompt and reboot the system.

TIP: security experts recommend using a PC optimization tool all the time to maintain system’s speed, stability, and performance. Our recommendation would be Reimage.

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About the author

Gabriel E. Hall
Gabriel E. Hall - Passionate computer expert

Gabriel E. Hall is an expert troubleshooter who has been working in the information technology industry for years.

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