Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

There probably isn't any kind of a lasting problem. As long as Microsoft Security Essentials is running and running properly, I think you're fine.

A friend used my computer for five minutes because they needed to print something off. They left and then I got on the computer for an hour and shut down. The next day, I booted up and then decided I would check for error reports. Upon looking, I saw that anti-malware service executable stopped working. It also showed "App Crash: MSNP Engine." Any how, everything seems to be working fine but that is the first time that this has ever happened and I wonder why.

In this excerpt from Answercast #61, I look at a computer showing an isolated crash report and what it might mean.

Crash reports

You know, it's interesting. We all want to know why. I can't tell you why. Sometimes, these things just happen.

Now, the real question that I want you to focus on is: is Microsoft Security Essentials still running?

My guess is (my hope is) that it is and that this was an isolated crash that just happened. I'm sure it happened for a specific reason, but the amount of effort going into trying to figure out what that specific reason is for a single crash like that just isn't worth it in my opinion.

So what I would have done is right-click on the MSE icon in your taskbar, open it, and run a scan. Make sure that you can run a scan; make sure that your scheduled scans are running when you expect them to be run.

In which case, I would say, "You know, there's nothing to see here." There probably isn't any kind of a lasting problem. Stuff happens.

Event Viewer

Now, I will say that I don't know where you looked to get this error information. If it was the Event Viewer, I want to caution you to (as a layman) never take the Event Viewer too seriously. It is, to put it bluntly, a mess!

There's a lot of stuff in there that (if you don't know what you're looking at) looks really alarming. In fact, a number of online and offline scams center around the fact that somebody can point an unknowledgeable person at the Event Viewer and make them believe that things are horribly, horribly broken.

Guess what? On a perfectly running machine, the Event Viewer has a lot of garbage in it. That's just the nature of the beast. In reality, the Event Viewer is really only something that you want to have a technician, or somebody who really understands Windows Internals, to look at.

So, if that's where you're looking, I would also say, "Don't look there. Stop looking there!" It will probably frighten you more than it will help you. As long as Microsoft Security Essentials is running and running properly, I think you're fine.

Article C5916 - October 14, 2012 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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