Windows 10 and 11 sometimes show a Windows Defender icon in their system tray features a yellow warning sign with it, stating ‘Action recommended’. When the users click on the icon, they do not see any issues that might need attention in the Windows Security app.
In some cases, the system automatically launches the Windows Store application upon clicking on the icon, which does not display any results for Windows Defender.
Let’s head straight to fixes.
1. Install the Pending Updates
Before we move toward any complicated troubleshooting methods, we recommend you install the pending system updates. You might encounter the action-recommended warning issue simply because you haven’t installed the recent system and threat protection updates.
Here is how you can proceed:
- Press the Win + I keys together to open Windows Settings.
- Choose Windows Update from the context menu.
- In the right pane, click on the Check for updates button and wait for Windows to bring up any pending updates that may need installation.
- Install the pending updates one by one.
Once you have installed the pending updates in the Settings app, it is time to install any pending security updates that may be available.
- Click on the Windows Defender icon in the system tray to launch the Windows Security app. If it does not launch this way, you can type Windows Security in the search area of the taskbar and click Open.
- Choose Virus & threat protection from the left pane in the Windows Security window.
- Scroll down to the right side of the window and head over to the Virus & threat protection updates section.
- Click on the Protection updates hyperlink.
- In the following window, hit the Check for updates button.
- If any updates are identified, install them one by one.
- Finally, restart your computer and check if the action recommended warning issue is resolved.
You can also push updates on your system. If you manually want to trigger an update, follow the steps below. Keep in mind that this method will also clear the current cache:
- Type cmd in the search area of the taskbar and choose Run as administrator from the context menu.
- Click Yes in User Account Prompt.
- In the Command Prompt window, type the commands mentioned below one by one and hit Enter after each to execute them:
cd %ProgramFiles%\Windows Defender MpCmdRun.exe -removedefinitions -dynamicsignatures MpCmdRun.exe -SignatureUpdate
- Once done, close Command Prompt and restart your PC. Upon reboot, check if the issue is resolved.
2. Refresh the Windows Defender Firewall’s Actions
If you are encountering a problem due to a glitch within the application, refreshing it should fix the problem for you. Follow the steps below to proceed with this method:
- Type Windows Security in Windows search and click Open.
- In the following window, click on Firewall & Network protection from the left pane.
- Click on the Advanced settings hyperlink in the next screen.
- Press Yes in the User Account Control prompt that appears to confirm the action.
- You should now be directed to the Windows Defender Firewall with Advanced Security. Head over to the Actions pane in the right side of the window, and click on the Refresh button located there.
That’s it! You should no longer see the yellow exclamation mark with the Action needed code. However, if you still encounter the problem, move to the next method below.
3. Use a Third-Party Security Program
In some cases, the yellow exclamation mark on the Windows Defender icon stating the action recommended was because there is a security issue within the system that the Defender Firewall cannot resolve.
If this scenario applies to you, using a third-party security program to scan the system for problems is the best way to proceed.
We already have a guide on the best antivirus programs that you check out for professional assistance in this regard.
4. Reset the Security Application
You can also reset the security application to fix any corruption errors that might be causing the action-recommended warning error. In this method, we will be using Windows Powershell to proceed.
Resetting the app will revert the app to its original default state. Since the security app does not function like the other apps like Mail, Calendar, and Microsoft Store, resetting it will not cause any major changes you have issues with.
Here is how to reset the application:
- Right-click the Windows icon in the taskbar and choose Powershell (Admin). If you are a Windows 11 user, choose Windows Terminal (Admin) from the context menu.
- Alternatively, you can type Powershell in Windows search and click on Run as administrator.
- Click Yes in the User Account Control prompt.
- In the following window, type the command mentioned below and click Enter to execute it:
Get-AppxPackage Microsoft.SecHealthUI -AllUsers | Reset-AppxPackage
- Once the command is executed, restart your PC and check if the issue is resolved.
If this does not fix the action-recommended warning problem, we recommend you reach out to the official Microsoft support team. You can report the problem to them. They will be able to help you identify the exact cause of the problem. Then, they will suggest a relevant fix that you can apply.