netbook virus definition out of date

my vodafone netbook has stopped automatically updating for viruses and has a small red cross on the symbol that highlights 'automatic updates:malfunction' . i have gone to the control panel and tried clicking automatic updates, but it doesnt work. i have also tried  to run f-secure's online scanner and it just says unknown error. dont know what else to do! can anyone talk me through (in very simple terms) how i can fix this?

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