Windows 11 update install failures are reportedly happening again – and it’s breaking the built-in antivirus

Windows 11 has reportedly run into problems with its latest cumulative update, with the upgrade failing to install for some folks, and breaking Microsoft Defender in other cases.

Windows Latest has rounded up the latest batch of complaints regarding a cumulative update for Windows 11, in this case KB5029263, which is the mandatory upgrade for August.

As mentioned, some users are reporting installation failures with KB5029263, and the other annoyance here is that the failed update keeps offering itself over and over, constantly lurking as a red dot (update pending warning) on the taskbar (system tray).

Readers of Windows Latest have complained directly to the tech site about this, and there are affected Windows 11 users venting on Microsoft’s Feedback Hub.

On the Feedback Hub there are also scattered complaints of some more serious gremlins in the works with this August update. That includes the update getting stuck before it completes (and getting stuck again on subsequent installation attempts), and also File Explorer failing to work (meaning you can’t explore folders on the desktop).

KB5029263 is apparently also messing with Microsoft Defender, Windows 11’s built-in security app – which now ranks pretty highly among the best free antivirus – in some cases. Some users are seeing the following error when opening the app: ‘Unable to log into Microsoft Defender.’

Analysis: Defender fix is inbound, apparently

On the last point, Windows Latest reckons that this error could be the result of a clash between the security fixes in the August update, and a separate new update for Microsoft Defender.

While Microsoft hasn’t officially acknowledged any of the above problems, including the apparent cases of Defender coming off the rails, Windows Latest claims it talked to a support engineer at the company. That Microsoft employee confirmed the issue and said it will be fixed by an update soon. (An update to either Defender, or one applied to the OS via Windows Update, but one way or another, a cure is seemingly in the pipeline).

The mentioned installation failures are nothing new, and it seems to be depressingly commonplace these days that some Windows 11 PCs will fail to successfully run the update process. This may be a small minority affected, but it’s a frustrating situation to be caught in – as you are, of course, left without all the latest security fixes. Those are important to say the least.

The other vital element provided by KB5029263, at least for those who have been affected by the issue, is the fix for a bug causing huge slowdowns with some SSDs (or at least this cures the majority of cases, it seems). You might own one of the fastest, best SSDs out there, but with its performance levels cut in half (potentially), it won’t look so clever. And if you can’t install the August patch to (hopefully) smooth over the issue, that’s going to be pretty irritating.

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Norton antivirus features comparison: what you get with Norton plans

Norton has a range of products from basic antivirus to full-featured internet security suites, offering plenty of options for buyers to ensure they can get the right package for their needs.

But with so many plans available, you'll want to make sure that the Norton subscription you sign up for has the exact features you require.

Below we’ve laid out the features available across Norton’s different subscription plans. Unsurprisingly, as you go up the range, you get more features – but the other bonus is that the amount (and type) of devices supported increases with them.

Norton AntiVirus Plus only covers 1 PC (Windows or Mac), and Norton 360 Standard covers 1 device, too (but it can be a PC, mobile phone or tablet). When you step up to Norton 360 Deluxe, support for up to 5 devices (PCs or phones) is provided, and finally Norton 360 Premium extends that coverage to 10 devices.

So bear this in mind as you peruse the following breakdown of Norton’s various features that informs you exactly which suites have what, with a neat summary to cap things off at the end.

Antivirus and ransomware protection

Available on Norton AntiVirus Plus, 360 Standard, 360 Deluxe, 360 Premium

These are the core defenses for your devices. Norton’s antivirus engine prevents malware from infecting the system (with real-time protection, and on-demand scanning when needed), plus there are additional ransomware countermeasures to help fend off any of these particularly nasty attacks. Every single Norton product offers these fundamental pillars of protection, as you’d expect.

Norton Firewall Settings

(Image credit: Norton)


Available on Norton AntiVirus Plus, 360 Standard, 360 Deluxe, 360 Premium

Norton’s firewall is also a core protective element present throughout all the firm’s products, which gives you beefier defenses than the built-in Windows firewall (and Macs are also covered).

It’s a cleverly implemented smart firewall that gives you plenty of detail about what it’s doing, and how it works. For example, it won’t just pop-up a message saying that such and such an app is trying to connect to the internet, do you want to let it? Rather, Norton’s firewall will explain nuances like whether the app has many downloads or is very new (and therefore possibly fake and just concocted to deliver malware), and security aspects like if the app is digitally signed. Basically, you’re armed with a lot more info to guide any decision-making.

Password Manager

Available on Norton AntiVirus Plus, 360 Standard, 360 Deluxe, 360 Premium

You’re likely familiar with the humble password manager, but for the uninitiated, it’s a tidy little tool that takes care of all password duties, generating and automatically remembering secure passwords for all your various online accounts. If you have trouble trying to make up passwords which are secure enough, yet still memorable – or you write them down, which obviously isn’t a good idea security-wise – then this can take all that hassle off your hands.

Norton stores passwords in the cloud in encrypted form, and the password manager also assists with other time-saving features like an auto-form fill which allows you to fill in online forms with just a click of the mouse.

Norton Cloud Backup

(Image credit: Norton)

PC Cloud Backup

Available on Norton AntiVirus Plus, 360 Standard, 360 Deluxe, 360 Premium

Norton’s Cloud Backup is an online cloud storage locker which holds copies of the crucial files on your PC. Like any backup solution, this provides a way of recovering files if you suffer some kind of disaster like a ransomware attack that locks away all your data (which you shouldn’t, not with Norton on guard anyway, but you could also run into something like a drive failure).

PC Cloud Backup automatically can run backups periodically so you don’t have to remember, and it’s dead easy to use. This is a very valuable extra available with all Norton products, although there are a couple of caveats. Firstly, it’s only for Windows PCs, and secondly, with Norton AntiVirus Plus you don’t get much space (2GB). Norton 360 Standard provides 10GB, but it’s only with the top two tiers that you get a good chunk of storage, namely 50GB with Deluxe and 75GB with Premium.

Secure VPN

Available on Norton 360 Standard, 360 Deluxe, 360 Premium

A VPN provides extra security beyond antivirus and firewall protection, encrypting your internet traffic and ensuring that no one (including your ISP) can snoop on it (see our full explainer for a thorough explanation of how a VPN works). A VPN can be particularly useful to provide additional protection when you’re on potentially unsecure public Wi-Fi hotspots (such as when in a café, for example).

Norton includes the Secure VPN service with its security suites (but not AntiVirus Plus), with unlimited data so it can cover you the whole time you’re online, improving your anonymity as well as security, as well as potentially allowing you to access streaming services in countries abroad that you wouldn’t otherwise get.


Available on Norton 360 Standard, 360 Deluxe, 360 Premium

This is Norton’s webcam protection which defends against malware that can try to take control of the camera to take sneaky pictures – or even video – of you.

This feature basically watches for untrusted programs trying to access the webcam, and flags them up so you can block them (or not). And don’t worry, it intelligently deals with obvious cases such as apps like Zoom, automatically granting them access to the camera instead of bothering you with any prompts.

Parental Control

Available on Norton 360 Deluxe, 360 Premium

The Parental Control module present in Norton’s higher-end suites provides a raft of functions to help ensure that your kids stay safe online. It boasts an in-depth system of controls with not just web content filtering, but the ability to monitor where they browse, or what videos they watch. Norton even goes as far as GPS tracking for phones, so you can see where your kids are in the real world, not just online.

This is a powerful feature, but like the Cloud Backup facility, it only works with Windows PCs and not Macs (though of course the mobile device monitoring works with phones, both Android and iOS).

Children gathered around a tablet while parents are distracted in background

(Image credit: Norton)

School Time

Available on Norton 360 Deluxe, 360 Premium

This is a relatively new addition which was bolted on to the Parental Control module in October 2020, after the education of kids was disrupted by the pandemic and lockdowns, and remote learning came into play. When School Time is switched on, your child is allowed to access certain websites – those needed for their education and classes – while other sites that could distract them from schoolwork are blocked.

This feature can be turned on or off as needed, or scheduled to run during school hours.

Dark Web Monitoring

Available on Norton 360 Deluxe, 360 Premium

As you’re doubtless aware, when data breaches happen (all too often, sadly), huge slabs of information on users can be stolen, including personal details, passwords and so forth. This kind of data can often be dumped or sold on the dark web, where criminals may find all sorts of nefarious uses for it, such as breaking into your account, or identity theft.

With this monitoring feature, Norton keeps a close eye on the dark web for any signs of your email address appearing – and if it finds anything, you’ll be immediately alerted, allowing you to take any necessary remedial action. Note that this feature is only supported in certain regions, namely: Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, plus the UK and US.

Norton running on a PC, laptop and phone

(Image credit: Future)

Norton features at a glance

Available on Norton AntiVirus Plus: Antivirus and ransomware protection, Firewall, Password Manager, PC Cloud Backup. Supports 1 PC.

Available on Norton 360 Standard: All of the above plus Norton Secure VPN, SafeCam. Supports 1 PC or phone/tablet.

Available on Norton 360 Deluxe: All of the above plus Parental Control, School Time, Dark Web Monitoring. Additional support for up to 5 devices.

Available on Norton 360 Premium: All of the above plus extended support for up to 10 devices.

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Bitdefender is ending its free antivirus

Keeping your computer protected against the latest threats and viruses can be difficult especially as we now spend even more time online but with the right antivirus software, you can browse the web safely and securely.

While Bitdefender has a number of paid antivirus solutions to help users protect their PCs, the company also offers a free product called Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition. However, in an email sent to its customers seen by TechRadar Pro, the company has revealed that it will soon end support for its free antivirus.

In the email, Bitdefender explained that immense changes in the security industry have upended many of its plans for product development and unfortunately, Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition is a casualty of these changes.

Beginning on January 1 of 2022, Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition will officially be discontinued and will no longer be available for use.

Time for an upgrade

Although Bitdefender is discontinuing its free antivirus, the company says that it will continue to offer tech support for the product until June 30 of next year. This will give its customers more than enough time to install an alternative antivirus solution to keep their devices protected.

For those that want to continue using Bitdefender's silent “set-in-and-forget-it” style of antivirus protection, the company is running a promotion where it will upgrade the subscriptions of its free users to Bitdefender Total Security

Normally a one year subscription to the software costs £69.99 but Bitdefender will provide Free Edition users with a 5 device / 1 year subscription for just £8.98. However, this offer is only available to Free Edition users and will expire on December 31 of this year, so if you want to keep using Bitdefender to protect your PC, now is the time to claim it.

Alternatively, Microsoft Defender is another free antivirus software solution that comes built-in with every Windows PC though it doesn't include nearly as many features as Bitdefender Total Security like a VPN and mobile apps for Android and iOS.

We've also highlighted the best antivirus, best malware removal software and best endpoint protection software

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