Feb 11, 2008

Windows Defender Won't Update. Now What?

For a long time we were using Spybot Search & Destroy at my company to do simple spyware cleanups. I love Spybot, and have been using it for quite a long time. We stopped using it because we read the fine print of their license agreement which says that if you want to use Spybot in a commercial organization, you have to buy their corporate version. We are too cheap to do that, so we removed it from all of our workstations.

We opted for Windows Defender, which in my opinion isn't the greatest anti-spyware program in the world, but it does beat a sharp stick in the eye. The biggest problem with Windows Defender in my opinion is that updating it is a crap shoot. So many times have I installed it, then tried to update it only for it to tell me that no update is available. Are you trying to tell me that there have been no updates since 2006? Bull Shit!

spywareI decided to find out if there was a way to manually update the definition files of Windows Defender, and I have good news. There is a way, and it seems to work pretty good. According to this Microsoft KB, you can download a tool called mpas-fe.exe that will download and extract the latest definitions for Windows Defender in a jiffy. I made it available on Mediafire so you wouldn't have to go through the genuine advantage horse hockey. If you feel more comfortable downloading it from Microsoft you can do it here: (Download From Microsoft).

If you are running Vista, you have to right click on it and Run As administrator. For Windows XP, as long as you are an administrator you can just run it. When you do run it, you will see an extraction dialog box flash for a split second then go away. When it goes away, open Windows Defender and check the definitions date. You should now have the latest version.

What Anti-spyware software does your company use? Let me know in the comments.

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