App Destroyer: Bug in Microsoft Defender Kills Windows Programs After Update

Microsoft released an update for Windows 10 last week with a fix for a bug that causes the dreaded Blue Screen of Death on computers, but that doesn’t mean that PCs running your system are problem-free. This is why a new bug in Microsoft Defender is affecting computers with Windows 10 and 11 “killing” programs.

Understand that when you say “killing” it doesn’t just mean shutting down, but destroying parts of Windows programs including even essential files for the operation of Microsoft’s own Office.

According to Techspot, the problem was caused by an update to Microsoft Defender for Endpoint, which is now deleting program shortcuts on the Taskbar, Start Menu and even files in the computer’s storage as if they were a virus.

These are some of the programs affected by the issue:

  • adobe acrobat
  • Adobe Photoshop 2023
  • Adobe Illustrator 2023
  • Adobe Creative Cloud
  • Firefox Private Browsing
  • firefox
  • Google Chrome
  • Microsoft Edge
  • Notepad++
  • Parallel Client
  • Remote Desktop
  • TeamViewer
  • Royal TS6
  • Elgato StreamDeck
  • Visual Studio 2022
  • Visual Studio Code
  • Camtasia Studio
  • Camtasia Recorder
  • Jabra Direct
  • 7-Zip File Manager
  • access
  • excel
  • OneDrive
  • OneNote
  • Outlook
  • Power point
  • Project
  • Publisher
  • visio
  • Word
  • PowerShell 7 (x64)
  • SQL Server Management Studio
  • azure data studio

The problem has been recognized by Microsoft, which has already released an update for its antivirus to solve the bug that is related to an attack surface reduction (ASR) rule in Microsoft Defender.

ASR monitors the execution of scripts and programs on the computer to prevent virus infections, but this time the rule responsible for blocking Win32 API calls from the Office macro got out of control with the installation of the virus definition update 1.381.2140.0 from Defend.

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In this way, to avoid this bug, we recommend that you search for updates on Windows Update, which must install version 1.381.2164.0 of Microsoft Defender virus updates to solve the bug.

However, Microsoft warns that there is no way to recover files deleted by the antivirus, so it will be necessary to reinstall each of the programs from scratch again.

There is a PowerShell script to try to restore deleted shortcuts, but it only works on PCs with an administrator user. You can check out the instructions for using it on the Microsoft Community Hub:

  • Microsoft Community – login