The recent update to Microsoft Defender has caused some Windows users to lose shortcuts to their programs.
The strange issue resulted in Windows icons and application shortcuts being removed from the taskbar and Start menu without any warning.
Windows 10 and Windows 11 users seem to have been affected, as antivirus software has been causing problems for customers all over the world.
Microsoft Defender ASR problem
Although only some shortcuts are affected, and not the actual apps, a lot of users are complaining about the timing of Error: Friday the 13th.
Many of them have taken to online threads like Reddit (Opens in a new tab) and the Microsoft Technical Society (Opens in a new tab) Complain.
One Reddit user explains that the Start menu has also been affected: “I can’t open Firefox with the windows key and type the name I have to go to in Program Files.”
Microsoft has released a statment (Opens in a new tab) which states: “Windows Security and Microsoft Defender for Endpoint customers may have experienced a series of false positive detections of the Attack Surface Reduction (ASR) rule ‘Block Win32 API calls from Office macros’ after updating to Security Intelligence Builds between 1.381.2134.0 and 1.381.2163.0.”
The author goes on to explain that the bug “primarily affects Windows Shortcut (.lnk) files”, and that users who haven’t enabled the “Block Win32 API calls from Office macros” rule should not be affected.
Another user was able to fix the problem, but found that some icons in the taskbar became invisible.
The company has released a workaround for it AntivirusHowever, many companies still report that their needs are not being met well. Some are complaining that the fix “doesn’t restore Microsoft Office shortcuts deployed per user”, while others have requested steps to deploy the fix through Intune.
With new comments being added every day, it’s clear that Microsoft needs to do more to fix the persistent Defender bug. TechRadar Pro Microsoft asked for clarification.