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Windows 7: Cannot install Security Essentials - error 656

18 May 2012   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium
Cannot install Security Essentials - error 656

Several days ago my Win7 Home Premium x64 install started having an issue where the update for Security Essentials wouldn't install. This started carrying over for every other windows update, so I ended up following the posts here about repairing your installation. I've been able to get everything else working, but I still cannot reinstall security essentials.

I'm now getting error 0x80070656 when I attempt a reinstall.

Need some help, please....

My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 May 2012   #2
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ult. x64


Please refer to this link:

Installation Error 0x80070643 - Microsoft Answers

My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 May 2012   #3
Night Hawk

W7 Ultimate x64/W10 Pro x64 dual boot main build-remote pc W10 Pro x64 Insider Preview/W7 Pro x64

There are 5 main reasons for running into an installation error with the MS Security Essentials. While the reference here is from a 2010 blog the 5 items would still seem to apply even more to the latest version which sees some rather well needed improvements.

Can't Install Microsoft Security Essentials – Possible Causes

You shouldn't get any Microsoft Security Essentials installation error if everything is fine. You can't install Microsoft Security Essentials if:
  1. You have another antivirus installed
  2. You could not remove the previous antivirus properly
  3. Your Windows Installation is not genuine
  4. Your copy of Windows Installer is lower than 3.1
  5. The Windows Installer Service is not running
The blog for this is seen at Microsoft Security Essentials Installation Error - Can't Install Microsoft Security Essentials

Items #1 and #2 are certainly factors to look at as well as the #4 and #5. As for the error 656 problem you may want to run the MS FixIt tool to reset the Windows Update components. Since you may have updates pending or only partially downloaded and installed that would be a second item to look at as far as troubleshooting problems seen when installing any updates where this error is seen the most.

The two other MS references here can be a help with this.

Troubleshoot problems with installing updates

How do I reset Windows Update components?
My System SpecsSystem Spec

19 May 2012   #4

Windows 7 Home Premium

Night Hawk,

I looked at all the 5 reasons they suggested, and I don't think any of them apply. Windows Installer is running, it's version 5.x.

The only one I have a question about is antivirus - would Windows Defender or Malwarebytes count for either of those? I do see Windows Defender listed when I look at services, but it's not running. Malwarebytes isn't running at all that i can see.

I tried the selective startup mode, but that didn't make any difference. I looked for the install logs, but i don't have an exact match for the path they speak of. The closest I can come would be either:

  • Program Data ~ Microsoft ~ Microsoft Security Client ~ Support
  • Program Data ~ Microsoft ~ Windows Defender
Neither has the exact log file they talk I can't find the errors they speak of.

Would love some more help please....
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 May 2012   #5
Night Hawk

W7 Ultimate x64/W10 Pro x64 dual boot main build-remote pc W10 Pro x64 Insider Preview/W7 Pro x64

The Windows Defender comes with 7 and wouldn't be any problem unlike what you would be more likely to run into with a 3rd party software like AVG, Avast, Nod32, Avira, or other av programs. Did you look over the link Golden posted at all?

The reference there explains the need to first remove any present av program which you apparently don't have presently. ok! That does also include any internet security and firewall programs as well which could be interfering as one other thing to note.

Booting up in safe mode(Selective Startup) after seeing if the Windows installer service is running and found stopped. To bring up the main services screen simply go to the Start>Run command line and type in "services.msc" without the quotes and press enter or click the ok button to bring up that screen.

Once you are in there all you need to do is locate the Windows Installer service item and right click on that to see what the setting is as far as manual(default, automatic, automatic(delayed), or disabled.

Attached Thumbnails
Cannot install Security Essentials - error 656-windows-services-starting-one-up.jpg  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 May 2012   #6

Windows 7 Home Premium

I did look at the link Golden posted - checked over what both of you guys posted and tried all the suggestions, but it wasn't making any progress, so I threw in the towel and did a complete reinstall. Not what i wanted to do, but it fixed things.

Thank you both for your suggestions....
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Cannot install Security Essentials - error 656

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