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Fix: Windows Defender error code 0x800704ec

With the implementation of Windows Defender in Windows 10, Windows has eliminated the need for third-party antivirus and firewall programs in a Windows computer. Since Windows Defender comes as a built-in Windows tool now, all we need to do is update the Windows 10 OS to the latest version, and we will stay protected. But much like other Windows tools, this particular tool is also not free of errors. One particular error that has troubled several Windows users is the error code 0x800704ec.

This error code shows up on troubled Windows devices when the user tries to launch the Windows Defender program. He/She cannot get the program started, which leaves the device vulnerable to any possible threats. If you are one of those users, then this article will help you out. Here, we have included all the possible solutions that have worked on other Windows systems, and surely one of them will solve the problem for you too. So without any further ado, let’s get into it.

Defender Error

How to fix Windows Defender error code 0x800704ec?

This error shows up on the screen of Windows users as a pop-up window. The message on the window reads, “This program is blocked by group policy. For more information, contact your system administrator. (Error Code: 0x800704ec).” So we can narrow the possible cause behind the error as a corrupted Group policy. A third-party antivirus program already installed on your Windows computer or Damaged Registry files could also be the reason behind this error message. Whatever may be the cause for you, we will discuss all the possible solutions to fix it. You don’t need to try all the solutions mentioned here. Just try one solution after the other until you find the one that solves your problem.

Enable Windows Defender Services:

Several Windows Defender Services need to run in the background to ensure that the tool can run without any problems. If any of your Windows Defender services are disabled, you will encounter error messages while launching it.

  • Press Windows key + R to open up the Run dialog box.
  • Enter “services.msc” in the dialog box and click on Ok.
  • You will see the Services window on your screen now. Find the Windows Defender related services here, including the Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection Service, Windows Defender Antivirus Network Inspection Service, Windows Defender Antivirus Service, Windows Defender Firewall, and Windows Defender Security Center Service.
  • Right-click on each of these and choose the option Start. If they are already enabled, then the Start option will be blacked out. In that case, click on Restart.

Fix: Windows Defender error code 0x800704ec

If enabling or restarting these Windows Defender services does not solve your error code 0x800704ec with Windows Defender, try the next solution mentioned below.

Uninstall or Disable Third-Party Antivirus Software:

Sometimes a third-party antivirus or firewall program that you may have installed for additional security could be the cause behind this error message. These third-party programs interfere with the Windows Defender’s functionality, bringing out an error message. So if you have any application installed on your computer, then uninstall it right away.

  • Press Windows Key + I to open up the Windows Settings window.
  • Click on Apps.
  • Then click on the Apps & features tab in the left pane of the Apps settings window. The entire list of installed applications on your computer will appear on the right pane.
  • Find the third-party antivirus programs in this list and click on them. Then click on the Uninstall button for each of them.

Fix: Windows Defender error code 0x800704ec

  • Follow the on-screen instructions to uninstall the third-party antivirus programs.
  • Once all the third-party security programs are uninstalled, restart the computer.

Now try relaunching the Windows Defender program. If you still see the error code 0x800704ec, try the next solution mentioned below.

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Modify certain Registries:

As mentioned above, corrupted registry files in the Windows registry can also cause the error message. So it would be best if you modified certain registries to try and fix this error.

  • Press Windows key + R to open up the Run dialog box.
  • Enter “regedit” in the dialog box and click on Ok.
  • In the registry editor window, navigate to the following path:

Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender

  • Here on the right side, you will find one REG_SZ key. Double-click on this key.
  • Change the Value data of this key to 0.

Fix: Windows Defender error code 0x800704ec

  • Then click on Ok and close the Registry Editor window.

Now try relaunching the Windows Defender. If you encounter the same error code 0x800704ec, go for the next potential solution.

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Make changes to the Group Policy:

The primary cause behind this error message is a corrupted Group Policy. If the Group Policy blocks the Windows Defender, you will keep seeing this error message no matter how many times you try to launch the application. Let’s see what changes you can make in the Group Policy editor to fix it.

  • Press Windows key + R to open up the Run dialog box.
  • Enter “gpedit.msc” in the dialog box and click on Ok.
  • The Local Group Policy Editor window will show up. Here, you need to navigate to the Windows Defender Antivirus folder. To get to the Windows Defender Antivirus folder, follow the path mentioned below.

Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Defender Antivirus

  • Find the “Turn off Windows Defender Antivirus” policy on the right side of the window.

Fix: Windows Defender error code 0x800704ec

  • Once you find it, right-click on it and choose Edit.
  • Set the toggle to “Not configured” here and then click on Apply.

Fix: Windows Defender error code 0x800704ec

  • Finally, click on Ok and then close the Local Group Policy Editor window.

Once you have done this, restart your computer and then try relaunching the Windows Defender. If you encounter the same error code 0x800704ec, try the next solution mentioned below.

Run SFC:

System File Checker or SFC is a built-in Windows utility tool that can scan and fix corrupted system files. You might be facing the error code 0x800704ec with Windows Defender due to a System file corruption issue. In that case, the System File Checker tool should be able to fix it.

  • Press Windows key + R to open up the Run dialog box.
  • Type “cmd” in the dialog box and press Ctrl+Shift+Enter.
  • The UAC window will pop up. Click on Yes here.
  • The command prompt window will show up now. Enter the following key in the command prompt window and press the Enter key.

sfc/scannow

  • Let the system file checker process be complete, and then restart your computer.

Now try relaunching the Windows Defender. If you encounter the same error, 0x800704ec, go for the next potential solution.

Run DISM:

DISM or Deployment Image Servicing and Management is a built-in Windows utility tool present in Windows for fixing any system-related issues. Run the DISM scan only if the SFC scan did bring you any results with the error.

  • Press Windows key + R to open up the Run dialog box.
  • Type “cmd” in the dialog box and press Ctrl+Shift+Enter.
  • The UAC window will pop up. Click on Yes here.
  • The command prompt window will show up now. Enter the following key in the command prompt window and press the Enter key.

DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth

  • Wait for this DISM process to be complete. If you get stuck at a particular percentage for a while, then don’t worry. It is normal for DISM scan to run slow, and in some computers, it might even take more than an hour. In contrast, some powerful machines will be able to do it in minutes.

After the process has been completed to 100%, close the command prompt window and restart your computer. You should not see any error message while launching the Windows Defender on your computer now.

These are all the solutions for fixing the Windows Defender error code 0x800704ec. If you have any questions or queries about this article, then comment down below, and we will get back to you. Also, be sure to check out our other articles on iPhone tips and tricks, Android tips and tricks, PC tips and tricks, and much more for more useful information.

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