How-To Geek

Disable "Your computer might be at risk" Popup in Windows XP SP2

Since upgrading to XP SP2 a long time ago, I constantly get nagged by a popup message that tells me my computer might be at risk because I don’t have an antivirus software installed. Here’s how to turn off that annoying message.

Note: You should probably have antivirus software installed.

You will want to open up your control panel, and then open the Security Center icon.

On the left hand side of the security center window, you will see a resources section. Click the bottom link, “Change the way Security Center alerts me”

You can choose which alert to disable here. Since I don’t have antivirus software, I unchecked the bottom checkbox.

No more annoying popups!

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 11/8/06

Comments (100)

  1. Michael

    Thanks for this small but very helpful tip.

  2. Raj

    Thanks a lot. Very useful tip indeed!

  3. Allan

    Thanks a lot. it is very usefull for me.

  4. James

    Much gratitude.

  5. Joanna

    Yes, I thought it would require a registry tweak or something, but sometimes things can be quite straightforward. Thanks for showing us this!

  6. Marcelo

    I opened the security center many times and never realized about this. I hated this pop-up and also the windows updates good for noting. Thank you.

  7. James


  8. Astro

    Thank you, I Really Needed this.

  9. Stephanie Flora

    This does not work for me. Even after I do the above procedure the next day the stupid little red heart pops up telling me my computer is as risk. Spybot has found a registry entry for this probem and removed it and it still comes back. I open regedit found the entry and changed the setting and it still comes back. I have asked the IT folks as work and they tell me the procedure you have above.

    I have a Thinkpap G41 and used Windows XP profesional (service pack 2) and use Symantec Corporate edition antivirus 8.

    Spybots findings:
    Microsoft.WindowsSecurityCenter.AntiVirusOverride: Settings (Registry change, nothing done)
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Security Center\AntiVirusOverride!=dword:0

    Any ideas??? THanks Stephanie

  10. AliReza

    Thanks a lot. it is very usefull for me

  11. Allen Stoker

    Stephanie – I had the same problem – I went months with this annoying announcement every time I started my computer. I don’t use virus scanning at all (I won’t digress into that here). I think the problem is a bug in the XP security panel that is not actually saving the change.

    First there are to different areas to make updates: If you go to Security Center and click the Recommendations button, there is a check box on that page (“…I’ll monitor myself…”). The second is the options under “change the way … alerts”. I set both of these repeatedly with no luck.

    Yesterday I tried one more time, and thinking through the potential ‘save’ issue, I made the same two changes, but I also changed something else, I turned on automatic updates (I normally keep it off) to notify me, but not download or install. Don’t click the ‘turn on’ button, but use the link at the bottom of Security Center. That popup has an apply button which I used to ‘save’ the changes. I then went back in to Security Center and set automatic updates back to my normal setting.

    It seemed to work … today is the first day since applying SP2 that I have not received a popup and if I go back into Security Center, the unchecked boxes are still unchecked (finally !!).

    Hope this helps others!

  12. Anish

    Great tip !!….thanks so much

  13. Kedar Ahire

    In process I found like this…. wscript.exe/E:vbs C:\Wndows\boot.ini what does it mean?

  14. Kedar Ahire

    My OS is XP SP2 The same entry was found in registry

  15. Samuel Sisay

    This was very help ful for me Thanks!

  16. Adam

    Microsoft and Symantec should be subjected to censure for setting it up this way in the first place. Thank you for telling us how to undo their conspiratorial and collusive efforts to sell us more crap we don’t need.

  17. Denis



  18. Lior

    Thank! small, but very useful tip.
    no more silly annoyances…

  19. Alon

    finally some1 tells me how to do this simple thing!!!
    thanks :-)

  20. Wickster

    When I open Security Cewnter and look in the left sidebar, the item “Change the way Security Center notifies me” is greyed out and inaccessible. Any solution to this? Thanks!

  21. entegham_007

    thanks…but i still have a lot of problems with this icon.

  22. Ehab

    thank you .. i was in a bad need of this

  23. brian

    THANK YOU!!!!

  24. Mike

    Thank You very much i really needed this !!!

  25. staxx

    i got the same problem like Wickster “When I open Security Cewnter and look in the left sidebar, the item “Change the way Security Center notifies me” is greyed out and inaccessible” !!! any solutions for that ??

  26. Jeremy

    I have the same issue as staxx “When I open Security Cewnter and look in the left sidebar, the item “Change the way Security Center notifies me” is greyed out and inaccessible”…. any thoughts? This annoying pop up hits me every 2 minutes throughout the day.

  27. The Geek

    Do you have administrator access on your computer? I don’t believe you can change the option unless you are administrator.

  28. Dave

    If you want to both disable the notifications as well as disable the Security Center, merely create a text file. Copy and paste the following text (between the colons) into it:

    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Security Center]

    Rename the file to whatever you like but make sure that you choose ‘All files’ from the save file type and save it as a .reg (registry) file.

    The following assumes that you have administrative access to your machine’s registry:
    Double-click on the .reg file that you created from the text file.

    When asked if you wish to add the information in ‘the file you created.reg’ to the registry, answer yes.

    You will then get confirmation that the information has been successfully added to the registry.

    Reboot for the settings to take effect.

    Upon reboot go to the Control Panel and Double-click on the security center icon. It should be inactive and grayed-out.

    To verify that the service itself is disabled, right click on ‘My Computer’ on either the start menu or the desktop and select the ‘Manage’ option.

    Go to the Services and Applications \ Services

    Find the Security Center Service on the right side of the screen and make sure that it says disabled.

    If it does not, merely double-click the name Security Center and it’s property window will pop up

    Stop the service. Once it has stopped, change the ‘Startup Type’ option to disabled and click ‘OK’

    That’s it…

  29. daveo

    This is one of those things that I absolutely hate about Windows. Give me an operating system that gets out of my way!!! What does Microsoft not understand about this?

  30. Rondo

    Many thanks, that rotten pop-up has made me angry for years!!


  31. Drei

    Thank you very much. It makes the computer illiterate people feel safer, i.e. my parents.

  32. Ronen

    small but annoying

  33. soul

    That shit was really annoying me.Thanks very much mate.

  34. toom

    I hate sp2

  35. suresh

    very use full tips……….thx

  36. Lynda Jones

    Thank you so much. it is wonderful to find quick to follow, simple and useable advice. I really appreciate it, and so will lots of other people i tell about how to get the Windows popup to go away!

  37. Twiblack

    Ty for your tip :)

  38. floppie

    i was getting crazy for these damn popups… thanks man, easy as that and right in front of me all the time.. thanks again :-)

  39. lelu

    oh, you so rock! thankyouthankyouthankyouXXX

    live long and prosper!

  40. Lou

    Thanks Bro!

  41. JFunk

    phew, finally
    thanks ;)

  42. DanW

    Thanks! You saved me from buying an automatic weapon and heading to Readmon.

  43. DanW

    I meant Redmond. :-p

  44. Ehsan

    thanks vey much ! this was 1thing yhat annoyed me for 2 years …!

  45. Mr Ha~D

    THANX A MILL!!……..:{}

  46. thaff

    great tip, thank you

  47. brad

    I don’t have “change the way…” or resources button. Help!!!

  48. Sorin

    Funny how so many people thanks you like if that checkbox wouldn’t have been there since forever.

    Lazy people… Google addicts…

    And thanks, by the way…

  49. Jdubb

    Thanks alot, very useful! So easy, I should slow down and read more! haha

  50. Cybersupam

    Annoying pop ups gone with this simple magic…Many thanks for this guide.

  51. Justin

    Thank god for this. What a POS, Windows.

  52. john c

    Thanks for that. First day of freedom.

  53. El Jefe

    Cheers, this has been annoying me for ages. I thought I’d have to do a registry edit, but actually the fix was easy…

  54. Forest

    Your the Man..Thanks

  55. Carlos

    The registry fix does not work, I have verified this. Even after changing it, a yellow shield sits there telling I have an update I need to install.

  56. jd2066

    @Carlos: The shield that lists updates to install comes from Automatic Updates not the security center. You need to either click the icon and install the update or disable Automatic Updates (which I don’t recommend doing) to remove that icon.

  57. Dipesh Raj

    That’s really a cool work.

  58. Dave

    thx so much. I can’t believe it was a) so easy b) so long that I waited and didn’t think about figuring it out!

    What a pain in the but that little pop-up was. I can see where microsoft got their ideas for vista’s in-your-face pop-up schemes. This truly was irritating.

    God bless!

  59. senior hamstero

    Praise Jebus!

  60. nataraj


    In win xp if right click on the file to copy,paste,cut etc., it will take too long time to open pop up window . Kindly let me know to how fix this problem

    awaiting your reply

    thanking you


  61. Lace

    Thank you very much. I have been annoyed by this thing for a very long time. Every time I start up my computer, DING! Surely didn’t know you could even disable it but thank you very much for the heads up! Much appreciated.

  62. jabro

    good evening sir,
    i have a question to know from you that when i am going to download a video file from any site it is not saved in my computer. i have tried several times but can i be successfull to do it? please let it know me as soon as possible.

  63. gblanch

    Thanks, it was driving me nuts! not a big deal, just annoying

  64. ankirt

    thank a lot yar

  65. Wala

    Thank you very much !!!
    Nicely documented.

  66. anon

    Just thought I’d pop in to give my thanks for posting this helpful tip. Thank you!

  67. Kumanan Thangavelu

    Thanks for your helpful hint

  68. nafees khan

    wow’ what a help ; i never realized to stop it so easily;
    many many thanks buddy’

  69. Tim May

    Thank You. It works for me

  70. George

    Thankyou Very Much

  71. Johnny

    Thank you very much for this very small and very very helpful tip !

  72. dinesh singh maharjan

    many many thanks for idea.

  73. Anon

    THANK YOU, it was caught in a loop and would not stop popping up

  74. Apoorva

    Thanks for the information…..

  75. Jay

    You are awesome. This has been bugging me for some time and since I didn’t have to internet for a while, I couldn’t solve the problem.

  76. st1


  77. Major 130

    Brilliant tip!! Tamuch

  78. Mark

    Thanks – Great Tip!

  79. logan

    Thanks, it was driving me nuts & annoying

  80. Rahat

    Very very thanks to u brother …. It’s so much helpful tip
    Best Luck to u brother

  81. Ron

    Oh my goodness,ThankYou so Much!!!!!!!!


  82. naser

    Thanks a lot. it is very usefull for me

  83. naser

    ery very thanks to u brother …. It’s so much helpful tip
    Best Luck to u brother

  84. j j in korea

    This tip’s usefulness is timeless (until we are all eventually forced to upgrade from Windows XP service pack 2). Three years since you wrote this tip and I’ve just googled it today. Thanks so much for sharing.

  85. bb93

    THX i love U =*

  86. Yawar

    hmmm great

  87. scott

    mine is “grayed” out so it doesnt allow me to select it. any hints?

  88. nobody

    go to regedit (if you don’t know research, and be confident before using it)
    then go here: [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Security Center]
    find AntiVirusOverride and/or FirewallOverride (any and all overrides on the right side)
    you can either delete them or change them to a 1 (if they are already a 1 then there are problems, i think that is how it goes), but the overrides and what to look for.

  89. Kevin

    Thank you!!!!

  90. Aftab Ahmed Laghari

    Great dear…!!!
    It really worked for me….
    thanks dude…!!!

  91. alpine

    +reputation :-) heehee many thanks



  93. bla

    a very long time i already download it..since i bought this computer,what is the first item to download is ANTIVIRUS… and,NORTON SECURITY

  94. nancyb

    hide all microsoft Services in msconfig it will work

  95. Liz

    i also have encountered the same problem with this, mine is keeps on saying “Your computer might be at risk”, McAfee VirusScan is turned off”. It makes my computer slow and hunged up, and i clicked the balloon, but still the pop up appear from to time and make my computer slow and pist me off. pls help.

  96. Clarence

    Runing XP SP3. Have noticed that if I get the pop up it normally goes away after a short period and seems to be connected to how fast the network comes up. It does really brother me.

  97. praveen

    thank you

  98. dedasmrz

    Thank you!!!!

  99. Gaurav

    Thanks. I hope this should help

  100. schaffdk

    Thanks so much for taking the time to post this helpful tip.

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