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Make Malwarebytes and Microsoft Security Essentials Play Well Together in Windows XP

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At Computer Courage, our favorite virus protection is the combination of Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) and MalwareBytes AntiMalware (MBAM).  While no antivirus solution is perfect, this combination provides excellent virus protection, does not hog system resources, and takes it easy on your wallet.  Microsoft Security Essentials is free, and MBAM’s paid edition is $25 for a lifetime subscription – you can’t beat that value!

We generally don’t recommend combining antivirus programs, as they can conflict and eat up resources, but these two programs work really well in tandem, unless you are running Windows XP.  As of early this year, the two programs have sprouted a conflict when running together in Windows XP (they work fine in Windows Vista and Windows 7).  The good news is, there’s a simple solution.

Note: If you had these programs installed on your machine by one of our technicians, we’ll be happy to implement the solution below free of charge.  Just give us a call and we can set you up remotely.

Now for the fix.  The simplest solution is to tell the programs to ignore each other. Remember, this is only necessary in Windows XP, not Vista or 7. Let’s start with MBAM.

To tell MalwareBytes to ignore Microsoft Security Essentials in Windows XP:

  • Open MalwareBytes
  • Click the Ignore List tab
  • Click Add
  • A “Browse” window will open showing your computer’s contents.  Navigate to your Programs Files folder and select the Microsoft Security Client and click OK
  • You’re done with this part.  You should see the folder in your ignore list, and you can now exit

To tell Microsoft Security Essentials to ignore MalwareBytes in Windows XP:

  • Open Microsoft Security Essentials
  • Click on the Settings tab
  • Click on the Excluded Files and Locations item on the left
  • Click Browse
  • A “Browse” window will open showing your computer’s contents.  Navigate to your Program Files and select the MalwareBytes AntiMalware folder and click OK
  • Click on the Excluded Processes item on the left
  • Click Browse
  • A “Browse” window will open showing your computer’s contents.  Navigate to your Program FilesMalwareBytes AntiMalware folder
    • Select “mbam.exe” and click OK
    • Browse again and this time select “mbamservice.exe” and click OK
    • Browse again and this time select “mbamgui.exe” and click OK
  • Click Save Changes and you are done

After this, the two should behave just the way they are supposed to.  Remember to set scheduled scans in each program, and be sure to set scheduled updates in MBAM.  You are now protected about as solidly as possible.

If you don’t have this elegant and efficient combination running on your Windows computer, we recommend it.  It’s done best when installed by a professional, and we’re available to help with our professional in-home, business, and remote support services.  If you know of any other tips & tricks for Microsoft Security Essentials or MalwareBytes AnitMalware, feel free to comment below.

Update: Reader Sam comments that he also tends to tell MSE to ignore WindowsSystem32driversmbam.sys and WindowsSystem32driversmbamswissarmy.sys.  We’ve never included those in our exceptions, but I don’t see how it could hurt (I think it could only help).  On my test system running MBAM + MSE on a Windows 7 Professional x64, I did not find the mbamsissarmy.sys file, but if you are running Windows XP it may be there.  Consider adding these two files to your MSE ignore list!


  • I like this combination a lot for my clients as well, but I’ve always included the WindowsSystem32driversmbam.sys and mbamswissarmy.sys in the MSE exceptions. So those two aren’t necessary?


    • Thanks for sharing Sam. We’ve never included those in the ignore list, but it seems to me that it would be a good idea to do so. We’ve added an update to the blog article mentioning your input. Thanks for sharing!

  • Those .sys files are mentioned as exceptions on the Malwarebytes forum for most AV programs like Eset or Trend Micro.

    On 64-bit systems the mbamswissarmy.sys is found in WindowsSysWOW64drivers

  • It’s actually a great and helpful piece of information. I am happy that you shared this helpful information with us. Please stay us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

  • In Mbam section, before Save Changes, it is necessary to click ‘ADD’.
    Thanks for this solvent! Fingers crossed.

  • I added MBAM after buying a new computer which already had MSE on it, and everything worked great. I decided to check here when our son sent us a laptop running XP with no protection; boy am I happy I did! Your information was a big help, I can only imagine the problems I would have had if I had not checked. Thank you, Mike.

  • I take pleasure in, result in I discovered exactly what I used to be looking for. You’ve ended my four day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day. Bye

  • Been looking for this article for 6 months now, nice one! 🙂

  • This also seems to be able to work with Windows 7 also.


    My computer is now safe!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • I installed these two on two XP computers, but unlike the topic, they did not conflict with each other (Also with any other pc with these installed). Another thing to note is that MalwareBytes has more “tricks” up its “sleeve” when it’s dealing with viruses (Especially stubborn ones, too!)

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