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Why does the Protection status icon change color and what does each color mean?

Your ESET product displays your current level of protection in the protection status area, located on the top right-hand corner of the main program window. The colors are:

What does each color mean?

Green - Maximum protection

The green Protection status icon with a white check mark indicates that your computer is fully protected. When your protection status is at maximum and no action is required, the icon will be displayed in the Windows notification area.

I don't see an icon in the Windows notification area—why not?

  • Web and email: If Antispam protection is disabled, it will be marked with a yellow "Security notification" status; however, your computer's protection status will not change because the Antispam module protects your email only.
  • Windows Updates available: You may see the(or in earlier versions) icon in your Windows notification area or the message "Operating System is not up to date" in the Home screen when updates to your operating system are available. Change the verbosity of these notifications or disable them completely.
  • If Parental control is not Active, it will be marked with a yellow "Inactive" status; however your computer's protection status will not change. 

Figure 1-1

Yellow- ESET Smart Security / ESET NOD32 Antivirus requires your attention

The yellow Protection status icon  indicates that your ESET product requires your attention. The yellow icon indicates that Web access protection or Email client protection is disabled, there is a problem updating the program (outdated virus signature database, cannot update, etc.) or your license is nearing its expiration date. Generally, you can restore the green Protection status icon by following the instruction in the alert box below the yellow Protection status icon.


  • License is expiring in 14 days: Your Protection status icon will turn yellow when your license has 14 days remaining or fewer before it expires. When it expires, your ESET product will be unable to update and your protection status will change to red. Renew your license.
  • A computer restart is recommended: Your Protection status icon will turn yellow when you update your ESET product to a newer version.
  • If you disable Email client protection or Web access protection, your Protection status icon will change to yellow. 
  • If you select Block all network traffic in the Network module, your Protection status icon will turn yellow because network services such as updates will be unavailable.
  • If Gamer mode is enabled, all scheduled tasks are paused and the Protection status icon will change to yellow.

Figure 1-2

Red - Maximum protection is not ensured

A red Protection status icon  displays when maximum protection is not ensured and your computer is vulnerable to threats. Generally, you will see an alert message explaining why maximum protection is not ensured and recommending actions to take. One or both of the Antivirus and antispyware or the Personal firewall modules may have red exclamation points next to them.


  • Product not activated: This problem will trigger a red warning and security notification next to the Computer item. You can activate your product by clicking Protection status icon Product activation.
  • Username and Password not entered correctly: If your Protection status icon turns red after you install ESET Smart Security or ESET NOD32 Antivirus, make sure your Username and Password are entered correctly.
  • If one of the critical protection modules is disabled, such as Real-time file system protection, the Protection status icon will turn red. How do I exclude certain files or folders from Real-time scanning?
  • License is expired: The Protection status icon will turn red after your license has expired. How do I renew my license?
  • ESET Personal firewall is disabled. You can enable it from the main program window by clicking Enable filtering mode.

Figure 1-3

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