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Windows Security Center Won’t Start? Here’s How to Fix It

Windows Security Center is an integral part of your operating system’s security ecosystem. It helps you monitor the health status of critical Windows security components, such as Microsoft Defender. Because of this, it can be concerning when you suddenly get the following error message: “Windows Security Center service can’t be started.”

The longer Windows Security Center is down, the longer your computer is at risk. Luckily, you can try a few troubleshooting steps to fix the issue.

Common Fixes to Get the Windows Security Center Working Again

Before we look at the other troubleshooting steps, we recommend restarting your computer to see if that gets rid of the error. It might sound simple, but this is a basic troubleshooting step that can save you the hassle of the more involving fixes down the round. That’s because it can fix the problem if it is happening due to a temporary software glitch.

If the restart doesn’t work, you might want to make sure Windows Security Center isn’t disabled because of malware. Try updating your anti-malware program and running a full system scan to locate and remove these unwanted programs from your Windows PC. If you haven’t installed any antivirus software, there’s a way to remove any viruses using Windows’ built-in tools.

Make sure you perform a Windows Update before you use any of the tools it provides for virus removal. This will help, especially when it comes to updating Microsoft Defender with the latest virus definitions.

If you’ve gotten rid of the viruses, but the security center won’t start, it could be that you have corrupted systems files. To fix that, you can perform an SFC scan, which will find and repair those problematic system files. If the error message is still sticking around, then you can move on to the other fixes.

1. Make Sure You’ve Enabled Windows Security Center

You can check whether Windows Security Center is enabled in the Registry Editor. Just be sure to create a system restore point beforehand, as the last thing you’d want is to have no way to revert any disastrous changes if your PC becomes unusable.

With your system restore point created, follow the steps below to enable Windows Security Center:

  1. Press Win + R to bring up Windows Run, type regedit in the text box, and then press Enter to open the Registry Editor.
  2. Click Yes on the UAC prompt.
  3. Copy the below text and paste it into the address bar of the Registry Editor: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\SecurityHealthService
  4. Double-click the Start key in the right panel to edit it.
  5. If the Value data is set to 4, it means that Windows Security Center is disabled, so set it to 2.
  6. Click OK to apply and save the changes.
  7. Do steps #4 to #6 for below key as well: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\wscsvc

Now, restart your computer and see if you’ll get the “Windows Security Center service can’t be started” error message again.

For Windows Security Center to start properly, you need to ensure that the configurations of the services it depends on aren’t a mess. To do that, follow the steps below:

  1. Press Win + R to open Windows Run, type services.msc in the dialog box, and hit Enter.
  2. Locate Windows Management Instrumentation and double-click on it.
  3. In the General tab, ensure that Startup type is set to Automatic. If not, click on the dropdown and select Automatic.
  4. Next, ensure that Service status says Running, and If it’s not, click the Start button.
  5. Do steps #3 and #4 for the Remote Procedure Call (RPC) service.

We’re doing this because Windows Security Center relies on both the WMI and RPC services for various important functions. And when you’re done, restart Windows and check if you can now start the Windows Security Center.

3. Repair the WMI Repository

A corrupt WMI Repository can make Windows Security Center fail to start, and repairing it can fix the issue in most cases. To do that, follow the steps below:

  1. Click on the Search bar in the Taskbar and type cmd.
  2. Right-click on the Command Prompt app in the search results, and select Run as administrator.
  3. Enter the below command in Command Prompt and hit Enter to run it:
    winmgmt /salvagerepository

When Windows finishes repairing the WMI repository, the Command Prompt will display the message: WMI repository is consistent. Now, restart your computer and check if everything is okay with Windows Security Center.

4. Reset Your Windows Computer

If none of the above fixes have worked, it might be time for the last resort. To fix the error once and for all, we recommend that you back up all your data and reset Windows to its factory defaults. We hope you don’t need to resort to using it, but it’s a lot less problematic than using your computer without a functioning Windows Security Center.

Now the Windows Security Center Will Start Again

Seeing an error alerting you that Windows Security Center is failing to start means your computer’s security is compromised. The steps outlined above should put an end to the error message: “The Windows Security Center service can’t be started.” This will signify that the service is running smoothly, and in doing so, make your computer significantly less vulnerable.


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