Windows Defender bug causes files to be skipped during malware scans

Early investigations suggest the issue may relate to a recent botched Windows 10 update

Windows 10 users have reported receiving messages that scans conducted by Windows Defender have been skipping files, despite not having any exclusions configured in their preferences.

The bug, which is reported to be stemming from a configured exclusion or network scanning setting, may leave users vulnerable to malware and is confirmed to be affecting both Quick and Full scan options.

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TenForums user Farvatten reported the issue last week when they installed the latest version of the Defender Platform 4.18.2003.4-0 on two of their devices.

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“Both received this new message about skipping an item during a Quick Scan 'scan skipped an item due to exclusion or network scanning settings'. I have no exclusions!” they wrote. “I have never made any changes to my network scanning settings that I know of. Everything under WD's 'Firewall and network protection' is default 'ON'.”

Farvatten was not the only one experiencing the issue, as some have reported seeing the same message as early as 10 March.

"I have paused Microsoft updates for a while because of the myriad of issues with the process," said another user. "I still have the issue despite doing a System Restore back to last week. Each Defender scan still adds the exclusion message. I dont think Microsoft has dealt with this issue yet."

IT Pro has contacted Microsoft to see if it's aware of the issue and if a fix is on the way. A number of users have reported the issue to Microsoft, but it appears none have recieved confirmation that this issue is being looked into.

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This is not the first time Windows 10 has caused grievance - last month, Microsoft was forced to pull a disastrous Windows 10 security update after users who applied the KB4524244 patch experienced problems ranging from file deletion to installation problems.

In October 2019, former Microsoft engineer James Whittaker blamed Windows 10’s buggy updates on the company’s alleged toxic work culture. In spite of negative publicity, the tech giant reached a new milestone last week, hitting a grand total of one billion active Windows 10 devices.

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