Windows Defender is the default antivirus in Windows 10. Over the years, Windows Defender has been improved a lot and it is on par, if not more, with third-party antivirus software. Add to that, not only Windows Defender works silently in the background using fewer system resources but also has advanced features like tamper protection and built-in Windows Defender sandbox to protect itself.
That being said, there will be times when Windows defender might be a little bit aggressive. This aggressive behavior will show false positives and might even block programs and files from running. In those situations, you can disable Windows Defender. Let me show you how.
Note: Windows Defender will automatically disable itself when you install third-party antivirus software. If you are looking to install third-party antivirus software like AVG, Avast, etc.., there is no need for you to disable it manually.
Disable Windows Defender Temporarily
If Windows Defender is blocking some program or showing false positives for a file, you can temporarily stop Windows Defender. This is particularly good because Windows Defender will automatically resume its work in the background when you turn it on or after restarting the system.
1. Temporarily disabling Windows Defender is pretty simple. First, open the start menu, search for "Windows Security" and open it.
2. Once the Windows Security app has been opened, click on the Virus & Threat Protection option.
3. Now, click on the Manage Settings link appearing under Virus & Threat Protection Settings section.
4. On the right panel, toggle the switches under the following sections to the Off position.
- Real-time protection
- Cloud-delivered protection
- Automatic sample submission
- Tamper protection
6. Once you do that, Windows Defender is disabled. You can now work with the files or programs without worrying about Windows Defender blocking it.
When you are done, you can easily enable Windows Defender back by toggling the switches to the On position. If you don't manually enable Windows Defender, it will enable itself when you reboot the system.
How to Permanently Disable Windows Defender via Group Policy
If Windows Defender is causing problems and you would like to disable Windows Defender permanently, you can do that using the Group Policy settings. All you have to do is enable a single policy and you are done. If you want to, you can backup group policy settings before changing them.
1. To open the Group Policy Editor, press Win + R, type
gpedit.msc and click on the Ok button. You can also search for the same in the start menu.
2. In the Group Policy Editor, you will see a bunch of folders on the left panel. Go to the following folder.
Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Defender Antivirus
3. Once you are in the Windows Defender Antivirus folder, find and double-click on the Turn off Windows Defender Antivirus policy appearing on the right panel.
4. The above action will open the policy properties window. Select the Enabled option and click on the Apply and Ok buttons to save changes.
5. Reboot Windows system.
After rebooting, Windows defender is turned off completely. Even after disabling Windows Defender, you might still see the shield icon in the taskbar. That's due it being a system icon and related to Windows Security app rather than Windows Defender.
To enable Windows Defender back again, simply select Not Configured in the policy settings window and restart the system.
How to Turn Off Windows Defender Permanently By Editing Registry
Windows 10 Home users won't have access to the Group Policy Editor. If that's the case, you can modify registry keys to disable Windows Defender. Let me show you how. Before proceeding, backup registry.
1. Open the Registry Editor by searching for regedit in the start menu. You can also use the regedit Run command.
2. In the registry editor, copy the below path, paste it in the address bar and press the Enter button. This action will take you to the folder we are looking for.
3. On the right panel, right-click and select New -> DWORD (32-bit) Value option. Name the new value as DisableAntiSpyware.
4. After creating the value, double-click on it and change the value data from 0 to 1 and click on the Ok button.
5. Reboot Windows and Windows Defender will be disabled.
If you ever want to, you can revert the change by deleting the newly created value or changing the value data back to 0.
That is it.