Troubleshoot installation issues for Microsoft Defender for Endpoint on macOS

Applies to:

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Installation failed

For manual installation, the Summary page of the installation wizard says, "An error occurred during installation. The Installer encountered an error that caused the installation to fail. Contact the software publisher for assistance." For MDM deployments, it displays as a generic installation failure as well.

While we don't display an exact error to the end user, we keep a log file with installation progress in /Library/Logs/Microsoft/mdatp/install.log. Each installation session appends to this log file. You can use sed to output the last installation session only:

sed -n 'H; /^preinstall begin/h; ${g;p;}' /Library/Logs/Microsoft/mdatp/install.log
preinstall begin [2020-03-11 13:08:49 -0700] 804
correlation id=CB509765-70FC-4679-866D-8A14AD3F13CC
[ERROR] Downgrade from 100.88.54 to 100.87.80 is not permitted
preinstall end [2020-03-11 13:08:49 -0700] 804 => 1

In this example, the actual reason is prefixed with [ERROR]. The installation failed because a downgrade between these versions isn't supported.

MDATP install log missing or not updated

In rare cases, installation leaves no trace in MDATP's /Library/Logs/Microsoft/mdatp/install.log file. First, verify that an installation happened. Then analyze possible errors by querying macOS logs. It's helpful to do this in MDM deployments, when there's no client UI. We recommend that you use a narrow time window to run a query and filter by the logging process name, as there will be a huge amount of information.

grep '^2020-03-11 13:08' /var/log/install.log
log show --start '2020-03-11 13:00:00' --end '2020-03-11 13:08:50' --info --debug --source --predicate 'processImagePath CONTAINS[C] "install"' --style syslog


Do you want to learn more? Engage with the Microsoft Security community in our Tech Community: Microsoft Defender for Endpoint Tech Community.