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“I encountered a persistent issue with Windows Defender, specifically error code 0x800704ec. Whenever this error arises, I click on the OK button within the error dialog box. However, once I dismiss the error message, it prevents me from proceeding with my tasks, effectively halting my work on the system. I’m in need of assistance to resolve this problem. Your help would be greatly appreciated!”

As I was reviewing user inquiries, I encountered numerous mentions of error code 0x800704ec. Consequently, we have chosen to create this blog post to assist users in resolving this particular issue. To begin, let’s delve into the nature of this error.

Error 0x800704ec in Windows Defender emerges when a user attempts to launch the application. This error manifests as a message within the Windows Defender interface, stating, “This program is restricted by group policy. To learn more, please reach out to your system administrator. (Error Code: 0x800704ec).” If you’re curious about the causes of this error, continue reading for further insight.

What Causes This Error?

Numerous factors contribute to the occurrence of this error, and one of them could be related to your specific situation. Therefore, we will now outline some commonly recognized causes for this error:

  • Interference of third-party antivirus software.
  • Group Policy Settings might be blocking Windows Defender.
  • Improper Registry Files settings.
  • Disabled Windows Defender Services
  • Corruption in system files.
How to Fix Error Code 0x800704ec in Windows 10

We can explore various techniques, tips, and strategies to resolve the occurring error in Windows 10. Let’s delve into each of these solutions individually.

  • Disable third-party antivirus software if any:
    The initial step involves the removal of any third-party antivirus software installed on your system. It’s possible that such antivirus software could be causing interference with your Windows operating system. To uninstall this antivirus software from your system, please follow the steps outlined below:

    1. In the search box of your Windows, type Control Panel and search for it. Finally, open it.
    2. In Control Panel, look for the Program and Features section.Program and Features
    3. In this step, you will see a new window with heading Uninstall or change a program.Uninstall or change a program
    4. Now, select the antivirus software and uninstall it from your the antivirus software and uninstall
  • Once the software is uninstalled properly, clear all its residues and check if error occurs again.

  • Turn Windows Defender Services On:
    An alternative remedy for resolving this error involves enabling the Windows Defender Services. By ensuring that this service is active in Windows, you can effectively eliminate this error. To achieve this, you should adhere to the following steps:

    1. First, start with pressing the Win + R key.
    2. As you press it, the Run window will be on your screen. In the search box of the Run window, type service.msc and press Enter to start the search.service.msc
    3. As the service window opens, you need to look for all of the services associated with Windows Defender. These services may include Windows Defender Antivirus Network Inspection Service, Antivirus Service, Advanced Threat Protection Service, Security Center Service, and Firewall.Windows Defender Service
    4. On each of the Windows Defender services, make a right click and select Start from the menu. Do it one by one, until all of the services are enabled.Start Windows Defender services
    5. Once, all of the services are done, it is the time to restart your system. Once the system is rebooted, check if the error shows up or not.
  • Make changes in Group Policy settings:
    This solution includes making changes in Group Policy settings, because sometimes it interferes with Windows Defender and blocks it. Let’s follow some steps to do so:

    1. Open the Run dialogue box, by pressing the Win + R key.
    2. Now, in the search box type gpedit.msc and press Enter to continue.gpedit.msc
    3. A new Local Group Policy Editor window will be opened on your screen, follow this path: Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Defender AntivirusLocal Group Policy Editor
    4. Now, from the right side, look for Turn off Windows Defender Antivirus and double-click.Turn off Windows Defender Antivirus
    5. In the Turn off Windows Defender Antivirus window, check the box next to Not Configured and click on Apply and then on OK to continue.check the box next to Not Configured
    6. Once done, restart your system. Check if the problem is solved for you.
  • Try Registry Editor:
    The next method we want to try to fix the occurring error is by using Registry Editor. So, let’s get started with this method:

    1. To open the Registry Editor press Win + R key and in the search box of the Run window, type regedit and click on OK.Type regedit
    2. Now, in the Registry Editor window, follow the path mentioned-below:Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender

      Registry Editor window

    3. Once you have finally navigated to the Windows Defender look for REG_SZ and double-click.REG_SZ
    4. As the Edit String dialogue box opens change the Value data to 0. Click on OK to finish and proceed.Edit String dialogue box

    Once done successfully, try rebooting your system and check if the error persists.

    Another reason for this error might be the corruption or some kind of the damage to the system files. In this method, we are going to implement the SFC Scannow command from the Command prompt. Let’s get started:

    1. In the search box, type Command and a Command Prompt option will be displayed to you.
    2. Now make a right-click on the Command Prompt option and select Run as administrator from the options menu.Run as administrator
    3. Now, an Administrator command line window will open, there you need to type sfc / scannow and press Enter.type sfc / scannow
    4. As the scanning process starts, wait for it to finish and once it shows 100% done reboot your system.

    Let the system start again and check if it worked for you.

  • Fix corruption with a Windows Data Recovery Tool:
    Well, if it is the case of corruption or damage to the system files, then it is very important to use a reputed third-party tool. There is an automated tool called Kernel for Windows Data Recovery Free Version . It is a Windows data recovery tool that can fix the corruption in the system files, ultimately fixing the error 0x800704ec. This Free Data Recovery Tool is so powerful that it fixes corrupt system files, and also recovers lost and inaccessible files. It recovers all types of system files and gives you an option to preview the files before saving them. This tool can recover up to 2 GB data for free.

    To get this tool, you can visit the website of the tool and if your requirement is more than 2 GB, then there is a premium version of the tool with which you can recover and restore unlimited data in one go.


In this blog post, we delved into user queries concerning the occurrence of error code 0x800704ec on Windows 10 systems. After discussing the nature of this error, we set out to provide a viable solution. During this exploration, we uncovered that this error could often be attributed to system file corruption or damage. To address this issue, we recommended utilizing the “sfc scannow” tool and also provided guidance on what to do if this method did not resolve the problem. Additionally, we suggested that users consider using Kernel for Windows Data Recovery’s free version to recover and restore up to 2 GB of data at no cost. We hope that this tool proves effective in resolving the error for you.

Kernel for Windows Data Recovery