Windows Defender Fix For Windows 10: Enable Network Scanning

A really simple fix for the Windows Defender alert that states items were skipped during a scan has been discovered and it involves just enabling network scanning.

Over the weekend, we reported that for the past few weeks Windows 10 users were receiving alerts stating that items were skipped when they performed scans using Windows Defender.

These alerts stated that “Windows Defender Antivirus scan skipped an item due to an exclusion or network scanning settings” but did not provide any further information as to what was causing it.


Günter Born who first reported about this issue has now discovered a fix that just entails enabling the scanning of network files.

Strangely, Microsoft states in their documentation that scanning network files is not recommended, but leaving scanning disabled will continue to display these alerts.

“Indicates whether to scan for network files. If you specify a value of $False or do not specify a value, Windows Defender scans network files. If you specify a value of $True, Windows Defender does not scan network files. We do not recommend that you scan network files,” Microsoft documentation states.

To enable network scanning, simply open a PowerShell (Admin) window and enter the following command:

Set-MpPreference –DisableScanningNetworkFiles 0

You can confirm that the changes have been made, by using the Get-MpPreference command before and after the above command as shown below.

Before and after the Set-MpPreference command
Before and after the Set-MpPreference command

For network scanning to be enabled, the DisableScanningNetworkFiles must be set to False.

So what happened?

It seems that in the older Windows Defender engines network scanning was enabled by default.

In an older Windows 10 VM from right before the March Patch Tuesday updates, using the Get-MpPreference clearly shows that network scanning is enabled in the older engines.

Older Windows Defender engines
Older Windows Defender engines

After waiting a little while for the engines to update, you can see that the Windows Defender preferences show that network scanning has now been disabled by a newer engine.

Newer Windows Defender engines
Newer Windows Defender engines

It is not known why Microsoft decided to make this change, but the alerts appear to just indicate that network scanning was skipped.

If these alerts are bothering you, you can fix it by enabling network scanning as described above.


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