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Definitive position - does Immunet coexist with Microsoft Defender or not?


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(I can see some earlier questions & answers on this topic on the forum but they are not accesible, instead an "Error code: EX0"  is displayed)

I'm trying to establish whether the advertised "COMPATIBLE WITH EXISTING ANTIVIRUS SOFTWARE for an extra layer of protection" applies to the current version of Microsoft Defender on current version of Windows 10. (Winver 20H2 - OS build 19042.804)

I took it to be true when installed immunet but I've just discovered that my machine shows Defender Real-time protection as off because "You're using other antivirus providers"  i.e. immunet.

Is it meant to be compatible? Is this an immunet bug?  Is the advertised compatibility feature not actually true for Defender?

I would prefer not to discard Immunet, and would keep it as "an extra layer of protection" but I'm not comfortable with it  as the sole defence.


  • COMPATIBLE WITH EXISTING ANTIVIRUS SOFTWARE for an extra layer of protection.
  • COMPATIBLE WITH EXISTING ANTIVIRUS SOFTWARE for an extra layer of protection.
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Hi Chris,

That pesky server EX0 error message has been around for a while and needs fixed! I've tried to contact Support, on several occasions, regarding this issue but it still exists!

Regarding your question, it depends on the build of Win 10 you have installed if you can use Defender & Immunet together. Older builds of Win 10 will not automatically disable Defender when a third-party AV is installed where newer builds will.

You do have the option to use another AV that will be compatible with Immunet. If you look at Immunet's Exclusion list there are already several popular AV's excluded by default.

Here are some officially supported AV packages you can use with Immunet besides Defender.

AVG, Avast!, Avira, Bit Defender, Comodo, Kaspersky, Microsoft Security Essentials, Norton 360, Mcafee & Trend Micro. There are also other unofficial AV's that will work too. For instance I currently have Panda Dome Advanced paired with Immunet.

If you do decide to use another AV make sure to create an exclusion/exception/allow rule for Immunet's entire Program Files folder directory with the other product. If a default Exclusion is not present with Immunet it's best to also create a custom Exclusion rule for the other AV's Program Files folder as well. That can considerably help with possible current/future conflicts occurring between the two AV's 

Also, if you do use Immunet as a companion AV to another product it is recommended that you disable the ClamAV module & updates for it. Just use the ETHOS & SPERO cloud engines. That will improve system resources being utilized.

Personally speaking, although improvements have been made with newer builds I've never wanted to use Defender because it really is a relatively basic AV solution. Microsoft even said that Defender is really meant for folks that don't have or don't want to use a third-party Antivirus.  

Cheers, Ritchie...

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In short, no. Immunet can't coexist with Windows Defender anymore.

In earlier versions of Windows, it was possible to install multiple AV solutions (including Defender or Security Essentials, as it was then called) simultaneously - and bog-down the machine really badly.

In Windows 10, any security solution that registers itself in the security center causes Windows Defender to automatically disable itself. This is based on the assumption that two realtime security solutions will always clash, and that "companion solutions" such as Immunet and Malwarebytes don't exist. Therefore, installing Immunet automatically disables Defender. Which is a shame, because the combination of the two was really good on earlier versions of Windows.

Malwarebytes is another companion anti-malware solution, and it specifically gets around this problem by providing an option in the settings "integrate into Windows Security Center". If you set to "no", it doesn't integrate and therefore doesn't disable Defender, allowing you to run the two in tandem. Immunet doesn't include this feature, which means in Windows 10 it will automatically disable Defender. I suggested the "integrate into Security Center" toggle option as a feature request in Immunet ages ago.

The best you can do, if you want to use Immunet and Defender, is to set the "allow periodic scanning" option in the Security Center. That way, although Windows Defender won't provide any realtime protection, you would still be able to run manual scans with Defender.

That said, as Ritchie points out, you can do far better than Windows Defender. On machines I look after, I've successfully run Immunet alongside Sophos Home Free, and it's really fast and stable. I've also tried it alongside Kaspersky Free, and it was also OK. On my personal Windows installation (everything else I have is Linux) I run it in tandem with both F-Secure AV and Malwarebytes Premium, with each excluding the "program files" and "programdata" folders of the other two solutions, and they all play nicely together. Immunet gives by far the greatest performance-impact, but that's probably because I leave ClamAV enabled. That hardware is an 11 year-old box (Celeron, I think), with 4GB RAM and a mechanical hard disk, and it has absolutely no trouble with it.

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By the way, with regards to the error code EX0 or whatever it is... I have issues with these forums in Firefox, Vivaldi, and Icecat (based on Firefox ESR); however these forums work perfectly in the Pale Moon browser (forked from an early version of Firefox, but with security patches and modern web technologies added in).

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