Windows Defender (now called Microsoft Defender and Windows Security), just like any antivirus, automatically quarantines threats it finds on your computer. Quarantined threats are isolated from your system and cannot harm your computer. While they are harmless, if you want, you can manually delete quarantined items in Windows Defender. Additionally, you can also configure Windows Defender using Group Policy to automatically remove quarantined items after a number of days. This is helpful to clean up the protection history and make sure you or others don’t accidentally restore a harmful file from quarantine. So, without further ado, let’s dive in and get started.
Delete Quarantined Items in Windows Defender
First, press the Windows logo key on your keyboard to open the Start menu. Type “Windows Security” in the Start menu and click on the top result to open Windows Defender. If you see two entries in the Start menu, open either one. It doesn’t matter. You can also open it from “Settings” > “Privacy & Security” > “Windows Security” > “Open Windows Security”.
Click on the “Protection History” option on the sidebar of the Windows Security app. Next, click on the “Filters” dropdown menu on the right panel and choose the “Quarantined items” option. This will show all the threats quarantined by Windows Defender.
Click on the quarantined item you want to delete. Click “Yes” in the UAC prompt. Next, press the “Action” dropdown menu and choose the “Remove” option. When prompted, click “Yes” in the UAC prompt.
Selecting the remove option instantly removes the selected item from the Windows Defender quarantine. If there are more items to remove, follow the same steps. As of now, you cannot bulk delete. Once done, close the Windows Security app by clicking on the “X” icon on the title bar.
Configure Windows Defender to Automatically Remove Quarantined Items
You can also configure Windows Defender using Group Policy to automatically delete quarantine items. Here’s how to do it.
Type “Edit Group Policy” in the Start menu and click on the top result to open the Group Policy Editor. You can also use the “gpedit.msc” run command (press Windows key + R to open the Run window).
Once opened, go to the “Computer Configuration” > “Administrative Templates” > “Windows Components” > “Microsoft Defender Antivirus” > “Quarantine” folder in the Group Policy Editor. Right-click on the “Configure removal of items from Quarantine folder” policy and choose “Edit.”
Enable the policy by selecting the “Enabled” radio option. After that, you have to select the number of days Windows Defender has to wait before clearing the quarantine items. Type “30” in the field under “Options.” That means, Windows Defender will automatically remove quarantined items once every 30 days. The count starts from the day you enabled the policy. If you want, you can change the interval to your liking. For example, you can change it to 45 days to give more headroom. Save the changes by clicking on the “Apply” and “OK” buttons.
Finally, close all the open windows and restart your computer by clicking on the “Power” icon > “Restart” option in the start menu. Restarting will apply the policy changes.
Note: If are unable to restart but want to apply the group policy changes to Windows, open Command Prompt as admin and run the
gpupdate \force command. This will force update the policy settings for all Windows components.
That’s it. I hope this small tutorial helped you. If you are stuck or need help, send an email or comment below, and I will try to help as much as possible.
More Windows Defender and security tutorials:
- How to limit Windows Defender CPU usage
- How to disable Windows Defender notifications
- How to run an offline scan using Windows Defender
- How to set scan schedule using Windows Defender
- How to scan a specific file or folder using Windows Defender
- How to exclude a file or folder from Windows Defender scan