Microsoft has always found it challenging to solve the security problem in its operating system. Windows Defender, one of the utilities introduced on Windows to provide protection has evolved into a decent tool. But what happens when you decide that you no longer need its services? How do you get rid of it?
On Windows 10, Windows Defender is an antivirus or antimalware application that works to protect your PC against viruses, spyware, and other forms of malicious items. Nevertheless, the protection it offers (while modest enough) falls short in comparison to the range of comprehensive and first-class services provided by third-party antiviruses and antimalware solutions.
Can I disable Windows Defender in Windows 10?
Yes, you can disable it on your own but others apps can also do the job for you indirectly. For example, in theory, when you download and install a third-party security solution, your system disables Windows Defender automatically. At least, it is supposed to do so as far as we know.
It is easy to infer that such a setup is only necessary because Windows Defender probably becomes a redundant utility using up valuable system resources when there is a better program doing the same job.
In some scenarios, after you start running a third-party security program, your system might not disable Windows Defender due to reasons we are not familiar with yet. The onus then falls on you to do the job Windows failed to carry out.
Why disable Windows Defender?
We can think of other reasons users might decide to disable Windows Defender. For example, if you set up a computer that you will not ever connect to the Internet or use peripherals on, then you have a good reason to do away with all security solutions.
After all, if threats cannot get in, your system needs no protection. You are better off saving the system resources that would otherwise be used up by antiviruses, antimalware apps, and similar security programs.
There are also other instances where you might decide that you have had enough of Windows Defender’s persistent blockage of specific operations that are genuine and hold no threat. It all counts for something.
Well, if you have already made up your mind to disable Windows Defender, get on with it. After all, there is very little we can do to stop you. We should you warn of the risks associated with an unprotected device, but we figured out you already know about them.
We will examine the best methods of getting the job done, and we hope you go with the one that suits you.
How to disable Windows Defender on Windows 10 through the Security Center app temporarily
If you ended up on this page when you intended to find how to disable Windows Defender on a temporary basis, then you need not worry because we have the instructions you need (skip this procedure and move to the next method if you are here for a method with a permanent effect):
- First, you must open the Windows Defender Security Center. Click on its icon (in the form of a shield) that is usually visible on your taskbar. Move on to the next step if you opened the required program successfully.
If the Windows Defender icon is missing from the taskbar, press the Windows button on your keyboard or click on the Windows Start icon that is always visible on your desktop screen. Go through the All apps list and locate the Windows Defender Security Center app from the programs and options there. Click on it.
If you did not see the required app on the list, then you must input the following keywords into the text box present to do a quick search for them: Windows Defender Security Center
From the results list, click on the required app to launch it.
- At this point, we expect that you have the Windows Defender Security Center program window up and running. Click on the Virus and threat protection option which is one the items on the list on the left pane.
- Click on the Virus and threat protection settings link. On the next screen, you must toggle off the switch under the Real-time protection menu and its description. Switch off Cloud-based protection, too. Exit the windows you opened.
Barring the influence of external factors, if you followed the instructions we outlined and did everything correctly, then Windows should disable the Real-time protection functionality immediately. There is no need to restart your system. Now is the time for you to install the applications that Windows rejected or carry out the operations you struggled with due to the presence of the Real-time protection feature.
Note that your computer, in its current state, will continue to run scheduled scans but it will not go through the files you download or check programs you install.
However, if you restart your PC (which you undoubtedly will sometime in the future), then your system will re-enable Windows Defender or the feature you disabled earlier automatically. The changes brought about by the operation you executed are temporary ones after all. You will do well to be mindful of this fact.
How to disable Windows Defender on Windows 10 through Local Group Policy
If you have a system running the Pro, Enterprise, or Education edition of Windows 10, then you can make light work of Windows Defender and stop it through the Local Group Policy Editor program. Here are the instructions you need:
- Press and hold the Windows button on your keyboard, then tap the letter R key to launch the Run app. After the small program window shows up, you must input the following code and tap the Enter key or press the OK button to run it at once: msc
- After the Local Group Policy Editor program window comes up, starting from the left pane, you must navigate through the following items: Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Defender Antivirus.
- In your final destination, you will a see list of items comprising of folders and other files. Locate the policy titled “Turn off Windows Defender Antivirus”. Double-click on it. The Turn off Windows Defender Antivirus program window should come up now.
- Choose the radio button for Enable (Yes, Enable is what you must go with here and not Disable). Click on the Apply button at the bottom of the window. Click on the OK button to save the changes you just made.
- Exit all the program windows you opened and restart your PC to let the changes become effective
After your computer comes on and your operating system settles down, you might still see the shield icon in the area for notifications on your taskbar. Do not be bothered by this—the image you see is there on behalf of Windows Defender Security Center, and it has little to do with the Windows Defender Antivirus program you just disabled.
If you ever decide to re-enable Windows Defender in the future, then you must go through similar instructions once more (the steps above), but there is a little twist. You must choose the radio button for the Not configured option, save the changes you made, and restart your system to let them become active.
How to turn off Windows Defender on Windows 10 through operations in the System Registry
If your system is running the Home edition of Windows 10, then you cannot access the Local Group Policy Editor Program, which we used in the previous method. You can, however, do some editing work on your registry to get the same result (Windows Defender Antivirus being disabled).
- We recommend that you make a comprehensive backup of the contents of your registry and place it in a safe place (an external storage device).
- The mistakes you make while working on your registry could prove very costly. They could cause irreversible damage to your Windows installation, and even a single error could prevent your system from booting up properly. The registry is a critical system component after all.
- Alternatively, you could make a backup image or create a restore point. These things matter—some users might find themselves unable to reverse the procedure they are about to carry out.
Go through these steps once you are ready:
- You must first open the Run app by pressing (and holding) the Windows button on your keyboard, then tapping the letter R key. Input the following code into the text field available on the small program window and hit the Enter key or press the OK button there to force its execution: regedit
A small window or dialog box from User Account Control might come up to request confirmation for your action. Click on the Yes button there to confirm and move on.
- After the Registry Editor program window shows up, from the left pane, you must navigate through the following items: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Policies \Microsoft \ Windows Defender
(The new Registry Editor program on Windows 10 supports the copy and paste function so you can copy the path above and paste it in the text field available to get to your final destination in no time).
- You should see the DisableAntiSpyware DWORD. Double-click on it. The Edit DWORD (XX-bit) Value program window should come up. In the text field for Value data, you must delete whatever is there and replace it with 1. Click on the OK button to continue.
(If you did not see the DisableAntiSpyware DWORD, then you must create it by following these instructions: right-click on the Windows Defender folder or key (in your final destination), then select New from the short menu list.
A new DWORD (32-bit) Value should appear now. Double-click on it to edit it. Replace whatever is in the text field for Value name with “DisableAntiSpyware” without the quotes. Also, you must change its value from 0 to 1. Click on the OK button to confirm and save the changes you just executed).
- It is time you exited all the program windows you opened and restarted your system to let the alterations come into effect. Windows will apply the new settings and you will see that the Windows Defender Antivirus program has been disabled.
If you later change your mind or the need to use Windows Defender arises in the future, you must re-enable it by carrying out a procedure similar to the one you just executed. Though, there is one crucial thing you must do differently here.
When you get to the final folder destination after navigating through the required items, you must delete the DisableAntiSpyware DWORD you see there by right-clicking on it and selecting Delete from the short menu list. As usual, you must restart your system to let the reversal become effective.
Since we showed you different effective methods of disabling the Windows Defender Antivirus program or its essential features, we would like to assume that you were successful in getting the job done. Although we helped you in restricting the activities of a security application, we do not advise that you leave your system without any form of protection.
For this vital reason and others, we recommend that you download and install Auslogics Anti-Malware. This superb program does an excellent job of providing that extra layer of protection against viruses and malware to keep you safe.
Even if you already have an antivirus running, you can still improve your security setup by adding the recommended program. After all, a new security app would come in handy in cases where your main protection program misses something. Therefore, you surely would not want to pass on it as in the fight against threats, every extra hand counts—you need all the help you can get.