How to automatically install ONLY the updates for Definition Update For Microsoft Security Essential

I have Windows 7 Ultimate and I have my Windows Update settings set to "Download updates but let me choose whether to install them." The reason I use this setting is because even though I usually install the updates (because mostly they improve things), sometimes I'll see an update that I know I do not want to install. So I want to have control over which updates get installed.

However, I ALWAYS want to install the latest "Definition Update For Microsoft Security Essentials", and since those updates are released very frequently, it's very annoying to always have to install them manually. Is there a way that I can have ONLY those definition updates installed automatically while still leaving it so that all other updates are not automatically installed?

Thank you for your help!

Hello? Anybody?


Windows Forum Admin
Staff member
Premium Supporter
Your probably not getting an answer because your asking in the wrong section. This section is for updates and you'd be better off asking in somewhere like 'Windows 7 support' or the security section.

In answer to your original question though, I'd change the frequency on which MSE auto updates. Normally it updates itself once every 24hrs which means updates can be missed if the machine has been offline for any length of time.
Try this fix provided by lifehacker: Change Microsoft Security Essential's Update Frequency


Noob Whisperer
Are you absolutely certain that your settings regarding the Windows Update Utility is impacting Microsoft Security Essentials. It has always been my understanding that MSE would continue to automatically update its' own signatures regardless of the settings configured in the Windows Update Utility. I could be wrong and now you have me interested, but I'm pretty sure the come both ways but I could be wrong.


Noob Whisperer
Some additional quick research would seem to indicate that you may be correct and according to what I can determine the use of Microsoft Update by MSE is determined by this registry value
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Microsoft Antimalware\Signature Updates
The value is
and as best as I can tell a setting of this value to "1" means yes (or enabled... it's turned on) and
a setting of this value to "0" means no (or's turned off)
As I have said this is just a guick research observation and practically all I can find regarding the matter and I am in no way suggesting or advocating the editing of this or any other registry value. Using the Windows Registry Editor can cause serious, system-wide problems that may require you to re-install Windows to correct them. It cannot be guaranteed that any problems resulting from the use of the Windows Registry Editor can be solved. If you choose to edit the Windows Registry you do so at your own risk so unless you feel fairly comfortable and confident you should probably not use the Editor. Changes made to the Windows Registry can take effect immediately and those that do not will take effect following the next reboot of your computer, and a current backup is not automatically made for you....So manually create a system restore point, backup the registry and export the key you are editing for safe keeping before doing so.


Essential Member
Premium Supporter
They are being installed automatically. Back in the dark Microsoft caves, the definitions are, almost constantly, bein updated. What you are seeing, with your present setting, is the very latest of those, sent together with your normal updates, after a cursory examination of your update info.. If you doubt this, leave the definitions for a couple of days, then check you definitions in the history. You will find that they are, indeed , up to date.

Fwiw, this is not entirely relevant to your problem, I prefer the setting, to check and advise, but do NOT download. This means I can decide when I am going to add an extra load to my connection.

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