How to Fix Malwarebytes not Opening on Windows

Malwarebytes is a great antivirus scanner with a large database and it has become popular due to its efficiency and ability to find viruses where other malware scanners fail. However, there are some problems regarding the tool. Users have reported that Malwarebytes fails to open at all on Windows, without even displaying an error message.


Users’ experience has pointed out several useful methods which can resolve this problem and make Malwarebytes run properly once again. Check them out below and make sure you follow the instructions carefully in order to, hopefully, resolve the problem.

What Causes Malwarebytes Not Opening Problem on Windows?

There are several different reasons for why Malwarebytes might fail to open on your computer. The reasons range from serious to petty and it’s important to act immediately. Check out the list of possible causes we have prepared below and determine just the one which may suit your scenario:

  • Malware infection – If your computer has been infected by malware, it’s possible that the virus has blocked the mbam.exe executable from running at all. Renaming it might help resolve the problem.
  • Corrupted user account – Using a corrupted or faulty user account on your Windows OS is quite dangerous and it can prevent you from using many different programs, including Malwarebytes. Consider switching to a different user profile!

Solution 1: Possible Infections

Malicious files often prevent you from running various anti-malware tools by simply blocking the launch of executables named exactly the same. This means that, in case you are actually infected, you are unable to open Malwarebytes because the name of its executable is blocked by malware. This can be circumvented simply by renaming the executable.

  1. Locate the tool’s installation folder manually by right-clicking its shortcut on Desktop or anywhere else and choosing Open file location option from the menu.
  2. Locate the mbam.exe file in the Malwarebytes’ installation folder, right-click on it, and choose the Rename option from the context menu.
Malwarebytes executable
  1. Make sure you choose a name which corresponds to some of the core Windows processes such as exe or explorer.exe in order to make sure the file name isn’t blocked by the virus.
  2. Try running Malwarebytes to see if it opens. Select the Scan option available at the home screen of the tool.
Scan completed screen in Malwarebytes
  1. Malwarebytes will probably launch its updating process in order to update its virus database and then it will proceed with the scan. Please be patient until the process finishes which might definitely take a while. If malware is detected on your computer, confirm to have it deleted or quarantined.
  2. Restart your computer after the scanning process is over and check to see if you still experience malware problems on your computer!

Solution 2: Perform a Clean Install of Malwarebytes

Plenty of users have said that reinstalling Malwarebytes from scratch fixed their issue permanently and that is something you should try as the most secure and the longest method. However, if you purchased the Premium version of the tool, you will need to find a way to retrieve your Activation ID and Key.

  1. Type “regedit” in the Search bar which you should be able to access after clicking on the Start menu or the Search button next to it. You can also use the Windows Key + R key combination which should open the Run dialog box where you can type “regedit” and click OK.
Running the Registry Editor
  1. Use one of the locations in the registry presented below to retrieve your ID and Key, depending on your PC’s architecture:

Location for Windows x86 32-Bit

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware

Location for Windows x64 64-Bit

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware

After you have retrieved your ID and Key, you can proceed with the actual reinstallation process. Follow the instructions carefully if you want to continue with your Premium version after the uninstallation.

  1. Open MBAM >> My Account and click on Deactivate. Navigate to Settings >> Advanced Settings and uncheck the box next to the “Enable self-protection module” option.
Disabling the self-protection module
  1. Close MBAM and download the “mbam-clean.exe” tool from Malwarebytes’ site (the download will start immediately as you click the button). Close all open programs and temporarily disable any other security tools you may have open.
  2. Run the mbam-clean.exe tool and follow the instructions which will appear on the screen. Reboot your computer when prompted to do so.
Running the mbam-clean.exe tool
  1. Download the latest version of MBAM from their site and install it by following the instructions on the screen.
  2. Uncheck the box next to the Trial After the program launches, click on the button which says Activation. If you were using a trial, it won’t hurt to download the trial version again and skip the following step!
  3. Copy and paste the ID and Key you retrieved from your registry in the dialog box which should automatically activate your license.
Activating Malwarebytes
  1. Enjoy using Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Premium and hopefully, the error regarding Real-Time Protection will disappear.

If you are not using the Premium or Pro version of MBAM, simply follow the steps 3-6 and enjoy your updated version of MBAM with no errors.

Solution 3: Use a Different User Account

This problem often appears because of a corrupt user account you use to login into Windows. This problem can manifest itself in different ways while using other programs and it’s always better to simply create a new user account and simply continue using everything. Your user account is often only tied to your personal files which can be transferred rather easily.

  1. Use the Windows Key + R key combination in order to bring up the Run dialog box. Type in “cmd” in the dialog box which appears and use the Ctrl + Shift + Enter key combination for admin Command Prompt.
Running Command Prompt
  1. Type in the command below in order to navigate to the User Accounts Make sure you click Enter afterward:
control userpasswords2
  1. Click the Add button and follow the instructions which will appear on-screen. Make sure you create a non-Microsoft account by choosing the Sign in without a Microsoft account (not recommended) option from the bottom of the window.
Sign in without a Microsoft account
  1. Click Next and confirm your choice by clicking Local account in the next window. After that, fill out other information such as name and password and navigate through.
  2. After you have created the new account, head back to the Command Prompt window and use the following command to log out of your current account:
shutdown –L
  1. Log into the account you have just created and Malwarebytes should now launch without problems!

Kevin Arrows

Kevin Arrows is a highly experienced and knowledgeable technology specialist with over a decade of industry experience. He holds a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certification and has a deep passion for staying up-to-date on the latest tech developments. Kevin has written extensively on a wide range of tech-related topics, showcasing his expertise and knowledge in areas such as software development, cybersecurity, and cloud computing. His contributions to the tech field have been widely recognized and respected by his peers, and he is highly regarded for his ability to explain complex technical concepts in a clear and concise manner.