Windows security settings switched off and greyed out


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I’m running Windows 10 on a HP Spectre 360 laptop. When I click on Settings, Windows Security, Virus and threat protection it says under this ‘No actions needed.’ Yet I keep getting a message popping up telling me that I need to turn on virus protection. If I go into Virus and Threat Protection and click on Manage Settings, everything in here is turned off and greyed out so I can’t turn anything on. Any ideas what is wrong here? Windows Security is all I have on the computer. I did at one point try Avira but I took it off again. I also had Malwarebytes but took that off as I thought it was causing the problem with Windows Security.
 
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I'm 67 so not sure how to do that!
Open up a command prompt or powershell session.

Enter the command whoami. The output is the name by which the system knows you (eg john)

Now enter the command net user john (or whatever name the system knows you by). Look down the output for an entry labelled Local Group Memberships, if Administrators is not listed there then you don't have administrator privileges.

BTW. I'm 70!
 
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Okay I did that and after Local Group Memberships it says *Administrators *Users

So I assume I should have administrator rights, which I would expect as I live alone and am the only one to use the laptop!

However when I press the windows and I, then update and security, then windows security; under virus and threat protection it says, no action needed. However I keep getting a window which pops up shortly after switching the laptop on telling me to switch on virus and threat protection! So if I now click on virus and threat protection again it says no action needed. If I click on Manage settings Real-Time Protection is off and greyed out. Cloud Delivered Protection is off and greyed out. Automatic Sample Submision is off and greyed out and Tamper protection is off and greyed out! Above Tamper Protection it says in red, This setting is managed by your administrator! I don't have an administrator, I'm the administrator! Below this I have Controlled Folder Access and if I click on manage it is also off and greyed out and it says in red, controlled folder access requires turning on real time protection which I can't do. Could I have been hacked? If so can I uninstall Windows Security completely and reinstall?

By the way when the window pops up after I switch the laptop on telling me to turn on virus protection it says click here. When I do I get the following message; Page not available. Your IT administrator has limited access to some areas of this app, and the item you tried to access is not available. Contact the IT helpdesk for more information!
 
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No I'm running Windows Home. No idea what Group Policy Editor is so I'm assuming I haven't made any changes to it.
 
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No. I had Avira installed but I removed it. I also had Malwarebytes installed but I removed it too. I also went into Regedit and searched for and removed anything linked to either of them.
 
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Have a look in your startup column, and m see if you have anything related to antivirus running there
 
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I ran this as I was going out for a few hours but when I returned it was only about a fifth of the way completed so I had to stop it as I needed the computer. I will set it to run all night tonight when hopefully it will get to complete.
 
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Something else I tried was to re-create the Windows defender service using it’s default registry key. That didn’t work either as I got the following message; Cannot import C:\****_\Downloads\windefend(1).reg: Error accessing the registry.
 
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Something else I tried was to re-create the Windows defender service using it’s default registry key. That didn’t work either as I got the following message; Cannot import C:\****_\Downloads\windefend(1).reg: Error accessing the registry.
It's not wise to mess witgh the registry at all unless you're 100% sure you know what you're doing. It's rarely as simple as it looks.
 
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Aware of that but I created a restore point first and at the moment I have no anti virus so it's looking like I'm going to have to reinstall Windows at some point or switch to a Mac! I spent a lot of money on the laptop I have, a HP Spectre 360. I liked it because it was thin and light and powerful. No access to the inside but then it didn't matter did it as Microsoft had assured us that Windows 10 was the last version of Windows. But as usual they lied. Now the bloody thing probably won't run Windows 11 even if I did want it which I don't and these aholes at Microsoft will no doubt expect me to dig into my pension to buy a more powerful Windows machine! What we should be doing is suing Microsoft for lying to their customers! Rant over!
 
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Aware of that but I created a restore point first and at the moment I have no anti virus so it's looking like I'm going to have to reinstall Windows at some point or switch to a Mac! I spent a lot of money on the laptop I have, a HP Spectre 360. I liked it because it was thin and light and powerful. No access to the inside but then it didn't matter did it as Microsoft had assured us that Windows 10 was the last version of Windows. But as usual they lied. Now the bloody thing probably won't run Windows 11 even if I did want it which I don't and these aholes at Microsoft will no doubt expect me to dig into my pension to buy a more powerful Windows machine! What we should be doing is suing Microsoft for lying to their customers! Rant over!
TBH there is nothing in Windows 11 that you need IMO.

The only reason they created a new version was because they needed (wanted) to enable Windows to use certain hardware security features that are only found in later CPUs. Had they enabled those security features in Windows 10 then 80-odd% of the world's PCs would have stopped working, so they created a new version of Windows, specifically for the later CPU versions, that does have these security features turned on.

IMO, and in order to make Windows 11 sound like something new, they added a new UI (that IMO is less user friendly that the one in Windows 10) and added a few minor 'enhancements'. My CPU (Intel i7-6700) does not officially run Windows 11 but I've had it installed (dual booting) just to suss it out. After a couple of months I have now removed it because it buys me nothing that I need and (IMO again) has a less friendly UI. Don't lose any sleep over Windows 11, it's not a big deal.

Your best course of action might be a clean install. Having had a couple of anti-malware tools installed and uninstalled it's quite likely that there are left-overs from them that are screwing with Defender.
 
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I'm not losing sleep over Windows 11 because every time they bring out a new version they screw up the UI and as you say it's worse than what you had before. But as you also know they will stop supporting Windows 10 at some point and people will be forced to upgrade or risk having security issues. Personally I think the best version they ever had was Windows 7 which is why when I was forced to switch to Windows 10 I shelled it to give the appearance of Windows 7.

I want to try this Microsoft security tool first to see if it makes a difference but having left it running overnight for 14 and a half hours actually it was only showing about a quarter completed so I had to stop it again!
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/wi...otection/intelligence/safety-scanner-download
 
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Hmmm. I'm wondering whether one of those AV tools left something behind that is blocking Defender's controls? A web search has suggested that downloading and running Microsoft's own stand-alone security scanner has fixed this (or a similar) issue for some others. It's a Microsoft tool so there's no harm in giving it a try.

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/wi...otection/intelligence/safety-scanner-download
Okay I ran this and the funny this is that about three quarters of the way through it said that it had found 177 suspect files or whatever. When I let it run to the end it said no viruses, malware or suspect files were found! So I'm not sure how reliable it is. All settings are still greyed out!
 
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Okay I ran this and the funny this is that about three quarters of the way through it said that it had found 177 suspect files or whatever. When I let it run to the end it said no viruses, malware or suspect files were found! So I'm not sure how reliable it is. All settings are still greyed out!
I'm at a loss then. In your position I would be doing a clean reinstall.
 

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