Fix: Malwarebytes Real-Time Web Protection Won’t Turn on

Malwarebytes is one of those free antivirus tools which can be upgraded to a premium version. Malwarebytes is most well-known for its exquisite malware scanner but there is also the full antivirus package.

The problem occurs with the Web Protection setting called Web Protection which is crucially important for your computer since the Internet is the main distributor of malware applications. Users who suffer from this problem are unable to turn this setting on and, as soon as they do, it turns off again for no apparent reason and the “Realtime Protection Layers Turned Off” message is received. Follow the instructions below in order to solve this problem.

Solution 1: Clean Reinstall of Malwarebytes

Plenty of users have reported that reinstalling Malwarebytes fixed their issue permanently and that is something you should try as soon as possible. However, if you purchased the Premium version of the tool, you will need to find a way to retrieve your Activation ID and Key. You should be able to locate this information easily by checking with the page you downloaded the tool from but there are other ways.

  1. Type “Regedit” in the search bar which you should be able to locate after clicking on the Start menu. You can also use the Windows Key + R key combination which should open the Run dialog box where you can also type “Regedit” and click Enter.

  1. Use one of the locations 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 removal 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. Open Settings >> Advanced Settings and uncheck the box next to the “Enable self-protection module”.
  2. Close the program and download the mbam-clean.exe tool from Malwarebytes’ site (the download will start immediately). Close all open programs and temporarily disable your antivirus.
  3. Run the mbam-clean.exe tool and follow the instructions on the screen. Reboot your computer when prompted to do so.
  4. Download the latest version of MBAM from their site and install it by following the instructions on the screen. This is also useful to receive the latest version of the tool instead of updating it.

  1. Uncheck the box next to the Trial option. After the program launches, click on the button which says Activation.
  2. Copy and paste the ID and Key you retrieved from your registry in the dialog box which should automatically activate your license.

  1. Enjoy using Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Premium and hopefully, the error regarding Web Protection is going to get resolved.!

If you are not using the Premium or Pro version of MBAM, simply follow steps 3-6 and enjoy your updated version of MBAM.

Solution 2: Re-Run the Program on Your Computer

This basic fix wasn’t successful for everyone who received this problem but it has helped several people and it solved the problem for them, which means you should also try it out. It will only take a minute and you won’t have to make any significant changes to your computer.

  1. Right-click on the Malwarebytes system tray icon at the bottom right part of your screen and click on the “Quit Malwarebytes” option.

  1. Reopen Malwarebytes again by double-clicking its desktop icon or by locating it in the Start menu. Check to see if the problem is solved now.

Solution 3: Update Malwarebytes to the Latest Version

There are certain versions of Malwarebytes which suffered from this specific problem but its developers have quickly released updates that are almost guaranteed to solve the problem immediately. This method is highly successful, especially if the fix is released internally without the need for a completely new version.

  1. By default, Malwarebytes on Windows will display a popup message whenever there is a new version of the tool available online. If you have received it, you can simply click on Install Now and skip over to step 5.

  1. If you haven’t received this notification because of various reasons such as disabling this functionality or similar, you can check for updates manually.
  2. Open Malwarebytes by double-clicking its desktop icon or by locating it in the Start menu and click on Settings.
  3. Navigate to the Application tab in Settings and click on Install Application Updates under the Application Updates section.

  1. You should either see a message saying there are no updates available or a message saying Progress: Updates successfully downloaded. Click OK and then click on Yes when prompted to install updates immediately.
  2. Follow the instructions on-screen in order to complete the updating process and check to see if the problem still appears in the new version.

Solution 4: Uninstall the Driver for MBAM Web Protection

Even though uninstalling the driver for MBAM may seem like a radical move and someone might argue that the feature definitely won’t work now after uninstalling its driver. However, this will actually force the antivirus tool to install it itself after rebooting your computer and you should be able to solve the problem now.

  1. Right-click on the Malwarebytes system tray icon at the bottom right part of your screen and click on the “Quit Malwarebytes” option.
  2. Search for “Command Prompt”, right-click on it, and select the “Run as administrator” option. Copy and paste the following command and make sure you click Enter afterward:

sc delete mbamwebprotection

  1. Restart your computer by clicking Start Menu >> Power icon >> Restart and reopen Malwarebytes in the same manner as you did in step 1.
  2. Navigate to the Protection tab in Settings and check under the Real-Time Protection section for Web Protection. Slide the slider from Off to On and check to see if the problem is solved now.

Solution 5: Add the Following Files and Folders to the Exceptions List in Your AV

If you are using Malwarebytes alongside any other antivirus tool, you may need to add the following files and folders to the exceptions list. Malwarebytes often advertises itself as being able to work alongside any antivirus tool but, unfortunately, that is not always the case. After this, you can simply try downloading the latest version and simply install it over your current one.

  1. Open the antivirus user interface by double-clicking its icon at the system tray or by searching for it in the Start menu.
  2. The Exception setting is located in different places with respect to different antivirus tools. It can often be found simply without much hassle but here are some quick guides on how to find it in the most popular antivirus tools:
Kaspersky Internet Security: Home >> Settings >> Additional >> Threats and Exclusions >> Exclusions >> Specify Trusted Applications >> Add.
AVG: Home >> Settings >> Components >> Web Shield >> Exceptions.
Avast: Home >> Settings >> General >> Exclusions.
  1. Here is a list of files and folders you will need to add to exceptions:

C:\Program Files\Malwarebytes\Anti-Malware\assistant.exe
C:\Program Files\Malwarebytes\Anti-Malware\malwarebytes_assistant.exe
C:\Program Files\Malwarebytes\Anti-Malware\mbam.exe
C:\Program Files\Malwarebytes\Anti-Malware\MbamPt.exe
C:\Program Files\Malwarebytes\Anti-Malware\MBAMService.exe
C:\Program Files\Malwarebytes\Anti-Malware\mbamtray.exe
C:\Program Files\Malwarebytes\Anti-Malware\MBAMWsc.exe


C:\Program Files\Malwarebytes\Anti-Malware

Solution 6: Restart the MBAM Service

If the MBAMService.exe file has gone corrupt, errors such as the one we are talking about now are bound to occur and there is almost nothing you can do to fix it besides fixing the service itself. Other symptoms when this file goes corrupt is increased RAM and increased CPU usage.

  1. Use the Ctrl + Shift + Esc key combination in order to bring up the Task Manager. Alternatively, you can use the Ctrl + Alt + Del key combination and select Task Manager from the menu. You can also search for it in the Start menu.

  1. Click on More details in order to expand the task manager and search for the MBAMService.exe entry displayed on the list in the Processes tab of Task Manager. If you see multiple entries, right-click on them and choose the End task option from the context menu which appears.
  2. Click Yes to the message which is going to be displayed presenting a warning when a file’s process is about to be terminated.
  3. After that, click on New >> Task and type in “MBAMService.exe” in the Run new Task windows which pops up.
  4. Restart your computer and check to see if you are able to proceed without receiving the same error now.

Solution 7: System Restore

This method sounds like a last resort but restoring your computer to a restore point just before the error started to occur will definitely be an easy process considering the fact that plenty of restore points are created automatically as soon as you install something.

Make sure you restore your computer to a restore point before the error started to occur which will bring back the original version without errors.

In order to see how to perform this operation, check out our system restore on the topic.

Solution 8: Running as Administrator

In some cases, the Antivirus requires you to give it administrative privileges to perform a scan or to turn on the protection shield. Therefore, in this step, we will be giving permanent administrative privileges to the software. For that:

  1. Right-click on the main “Malwarebytes” executable and select the “Properties” option.
  2. Click on the “Compatibility” tab and select the “Run this Program as an administrator” option.
    Run this program as an administrator
  3. Select the “Apply” option and click on “OK”.
  4. Check to see if the issue persists.

Solution 9: In-Place Upgrade

In certain cases, Malwarebytes’ database might have gotten corrupted due to which it is unable to properly detect and implement its configurations and the Real-time protection is being turned off. Therefore, in this step, we will be performing an in-place upgrade of the software to get it up and running correctly. For that:

  1. Download the installer from here.
  2. Wait for it to download and run the executable when it finishes downloading.
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions without uninstalling the previous instance of Malwarebytes and perform an upgrade.
  4. Check to see if the issue persists.

Note: Make sure to activate only a maximum of 5 installations because it won’t activate any more than that.


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.