A few days ago I overheard two elderly gentlemen in the subway sharing a Windows XP trick. They were discussing that Microsoft is no longer going to support XP and they have started to see messages about update errors in Windows Defender. One of them was telling the second one that they can disable the Defender service and stop the error message. So when I came back to my home, the first thing I did was power on the Virtual Box image of Windows XP. Sure enough Windows Defender refused to update and in a few minutes a strange message was shown to the effect.
In my opinion, disabling the Windows Defender service is not the solution. It will stop the error messages, but it will also do nothing about old defender definitions. A better solution is to manually update the Windows Defender definitions. If you are not planning to ditch Windows XP in the near future, then you can keep the Defender definitions up-to-date using this simple method:
- Close down the Windows Defender window. If you see Windows Defender icon in the system tray, then right-click on it and select Exit from it.
- Visit Microsoft’s offline Defender update webpage at http://www.microsoft.com/security/portal/definitions/adl.aspx. You will notice that there is no option for Defender definitions for Windows XP. Do not worry, just download the definitions meant for Windows Vista and 7.
- On the download page both 32-bit and 64-bit definitions are given, you have to download the appropriate definitions for your Windows XP system. The downloaded file name would be similar to mpas-fe.exe. Double-click on this file when the download is complete.
- After initial information, you will not see anything but it is updating the definitions in the background. So you have to wait for 4 – 5 minutes. After this, you can launch Windows Defender again from its Start Menu shortcut. You can see that the latest version of definitions has been installed.
This method of offline Windows Defender update for Windows XP works and provides a bit of protection to the Windows XP users for now. But this method is bound to break sooner or later. So you should consider upgrading to Windows 7/8 or Linux operating systems whichever deems fit to you.