How to Fix: Can't Start Malwarebytes Installer Service

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader Marlene T. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

My Windows 10 computer recently upgraded and my desktop icons have gone missing. On top of that, Malwarebytes Antimalware no longer works. When I try to launch Malwarebytes Antimalware, it freezes at the Malwarebytes logo and does not progress. I've tried to uninstall Malwarebytes Antimalware but it tells me that it can't start the malwarebytes installer service. I'm completely lost and need Malwarebytes to run! I need your help! "

My response:

I asked Marlene if she would like me to connect to her machine using my remote desktop support service and she agreed.

Below I will discuss my findings.


How to Fix: Can't Start Malwarebytes Installer Service

Update 20200315: Note that the answer below is in regard to the Malwarebytes installer service not running and not the problem with missing desktop icons. The latter is the result of a botched Windows Update, which we covered on February 18, 2020. The recommended solution here is to uninstall KB4532693 via Start -> PC Settings -> Updates and Security -> View Updates -> Uninstall Updates, though according to reports, there is no guarantee it will fix the missing icons (or the broken Malwarebytes installer service).


Usually whenever a program stops working or won't launch, the first thing I try is to uninstall the program and reinstall it. If the uninstall doesn't work, reinstalling the program over top of itself usually fixes it.

In this case, it seems that Malwarebytes Antimalware has its own type of installer service, which is also used for uninstalling the program. I suspect it's made this way to prevent other malicious programs from automatically uninstalling its service, and thus infecting the machine. Unfortunately, uninstalling or reinstalling Malwarebytes Antimalware did not fix this issue.

After a bit of research I discovered that there is a Malwarebytes cleaning tool called "MB Clean" which is available from the Malwarebytes website. Essentially this program removes all traces of Malwarebytes Antimalware from the system, including registry entries and files. In turn this fixes the broken Malwarebytes Installer Service.

It should be noted that most antivirus programs including McAfee, Kaspersky, and Avast (and others) offer similar tools to completely remove their products from the system, should something go awry and the uninstall / reinstall method does not work.

For the record, the MB Clean program worked successfully and I was able to reinstall Malwarebytes Antimalware on Marlene's PC. When I launched the program, it started up right away.

You can download the MB Clean tool here:

Problem solved!

Additional 1-on-1 Support: From Dennis

If your Malwarebytes Antimalware is still not loading even after using the MB Clean tool mentioned, I can help using my remote desktop support service. Simply contact me, briefly describing the issue and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

About the author: Dennis Faas

Dennis Faas is the owner and operator of With over 30 years of computing experience, Dennis' areas of expertise are a broad range and include PC hardware, Microsoft Windows, Linux, network administration, and virtualization. Dennis holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Science (1999) and has authored 6 books on the topics of MS Windows and PC Security. If you like the advice you received on this page, please up-vote / Like this page and share it with friends. For technical support inquiries, Dennis can be reached via Live chat online this site using the Zopim Chat service (currently located at the bottom left of the screen); optionally, you can contact Dennis through the website contact form. 

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Stuart Berg's picture

You failed to address Marlene's concern of "my desktop icons have gone missing". I had a similar problem and, after doing some research, found out that there are user reports of Microsoft update KB4532693 causing this problem. For example it's documented here:
Uninstalling will stop it from doing further damage, but I had to restore several desktop icons from my backups.

Dennis Faas's picture

I already addressed that issue with her, mentioning exactly what you said and referencing a post by John Lister. This post in particular was to answer the question regarding the Malwarebytes Installer Service not running.