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Microsoft security Essentials says my realtime virus protection is working, but the Microsoft security alerts says my virus protection is off.

Which is correct and why do they contradict each other?

This has started happening intermittently about 2 weeks ago, on boot(s).

EDIT: I also have Malwarebytes and Superantispyware installed, but they are not real time. I have had them for a number of months previous to this happening.

EDIT: I am aware of the time lag problem and addressed that some time ago. However, now it does not disappear, and that's why I've asked this question

OS is Windows XP SP3.

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What is Microsoft Security Alerts? Have you run MBAM or SuperAntiSpyware recently? – music2myear Oct 6 '11 at 19:19
Scan your system with this boot – Moab Oct 6 '11 at 19:31
What is MBAM? Superspyware is not involved, I'm sure. MS Security Alerts is an icon MS security Centre inserts in my system tray when it thinks something is awry. – Xavierjazz Oct 6 '11 at 20:01
up vote 2 down vote accepted

They key phrase there is "on boot(s)".

It just takes a minute for the antivirus software and Microsoft's security center to talk to each other when the computer first starts up, and during that time you may see an alert telling you that you aren't protected. If the alert goes away within the first two minutes or so after startup — and isn't just hidden away in the system tray — this is nothing to worry about.

Anyway, much more important than virus protection is making sure you're keeping up with Windows Updates and other security patches (ie: acrobat, java, office, firefox ...). That does a lot more for keeping your system secure and healthy these days than anti-virus software does.

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Thanks Joel. I do keep as up to date as I can. I am aware of the time lag and addressed that some time ago. However, now it does not disappear, and that's why I've asked this question. I will edit my question. +1 – Xavierjazz Oct 6 '11 at 18:59

I had the same problem. Try restarting the service "Microsoft Antimalware Service";after the restart the red balloon goes away immediately.

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Thanks Renan. I had the same problem with MSE stating real time protection was on but the security alert said the antivirus was OFF. I restarted the Microsoft Antimalware Service and fixed the problem. For novices like me go to START, RUN and type "services.msc" and enter. Find and right click on "Microsoft Antimalware Service" then click restart.

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