How to enable and disable the Windows Security Center

Article:TECH100784  |  Created: 2004-01-06  |  Updated: 2005-01-25  |  Article URL
Article Type
Technical Solution


You have installed Microsoft® Windows® XP service pack 2 and would like to know how to enable or disable the Windows Security Center.


There are three methods that can be used to configure the Windows XP Security Center: Group Police, Symantec System Center, or MSI Commands.

Configuring the Security Center through Group Policy

If the computer system has been joined to a Windows domain
When Windows XP Service Pack 2 is installed in a domain environment, the Security Center feature is controlled by a Group Policy setting that is not enabled by default. Using a Group Policy setting, administrators can enable this feature for computers in a Windows domain.

The following information was taken from the Security Center section of the Microsoft document Changes to Functionality in Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2:
    "There is one Group Policy setting for the Security Center. This setting determines whether or not the Security Center user interface and alert system are enabled or unavailable for users whose computers are joined to a Windows domain. When this setting is not enabled, is set to Off or is not configured, the Security Center is not available on computers that are joined to a Windows domain. When the setting is set to On, the Security Center is enabled on all computers, whether or not they are members of a Windows domain. Note that it is not possible to disable the Security Center for users that are not members of a Windows domain with Group Policy.

    If an organization decides to use the Security Center on the computers in their organization, they must change the Group Policy setting to On. The first time a user logs on to a computer that has been updated with the Security Center as part of the Windows XP Service Pack 2 installation, Security Center opens in order to allow users to discover the new feature. It is recommended that you communicate this expected behavior to your users so that the experience does not cause unwarranted concern."

If the computer system is part of a workgroup and not part of a Windows domain
By default, the Security Center is enabled on all computer systems not joined to a domain. Computers belonging to a workgroup are cannot turn the Security Center "off".

If the Security Center is enabled, the following settings can be configured through the Security Center. You can also configure them by editing the following registry values, under the key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE \Microsoft\Security Center:
  • AntiVirusDisableNotify
  • FirewallDisableNotify
  • UpdatesDisableNotify

Each of these values can be set to either 0 (not disabled) or 1 (disabled). The default value is 0 (not disabled).

Configuring the Windows Security Center through Symantec System Center
You can use the Symantec System Center to configure the Windows Security Center settings. To configure this, right-click the object you want to configure, and click All Tasks > Symantec AntiVirus > Client Administrator Only Options. Under Windows Security Center, under Disable Windows Security, select one of the following:
  • Never
  • Once
  • Always
  • Restore if disabled

Note: The Windows Security Center options do not appear in the Symantec System Center unless you are using the latest build of the Symantec System Center. If you updated Symantec AntiVirus by means of a patch rather than a full build, the Symantec System Center is not updated. To get the latest build of Symantec AntiVirus, read the document How to obtain an update or an upgrade for your Symantec corporate product.

The Disable Windows Security option sets the following registry value on the affected clients and servers:

0 = no action
1 = disable once
2 = disable always
3 = restore if disabled

Configuring the Windows Security Center through MSI commands

If you are using MSI commands to install Symantec Client Security, you can use the WSCCONTROL MSI parameter to configure the Windows Security Center during installation. For instructions on using MSI commands, read the document How to create a customized distribution package for Symantec AntiVirus Corporate Edition 9.x

msiexec.exe WSCCONTROL=

0 = no action
1 = disable once
2 = disable always
3 = restore if disabled

Legacy ID


Article URL

Terms of use for this information are found in Legal Notices