How to enable and disable Windows Defender

In Windows 7, Windows Defender is the name of a limited antispyware solution. Beginning with Windows 8 and continuing in Windows 10, Windows Defender is a full-featured security solution (and the successor to Microsoft Security Essentials) capable of detecting all sorts of malicious software. Because it supports the ELAM feature, it also prevents rootkits that try to infect third-party boot drivers. In Windows 10, Windows Defender also includes network behavior monitoring.

Windows Defender is designed to be unobtrusive, updating automatically and providing messages only when required to do so. It is intended primarily for use in unmanaged PCs. In enterprise settings, you’ll probably want to use an alternative antimalware solution. Microsoft’s System Center 2012 Endpoint Protection, which uses the same engine as Windows Defender and also includes support for ELAM, is designed for use with enterprise-management tools. A number of third-party solutions that meet those same criteria are also available.

 

How to turn on and off Windows Defender

There are three ways to Turn your Windows defender On or OFF

  • How to disable Windows Defender using Local Group Policy
  • How to disable Windows Defender using the Registry
  • How to disable Windows Defender using the Settings app

How to disable Windows Defender using local group policy

Use the Windows key + R keyboard shortcut to open the Run command

Type gpedit.msc and click OK to open the Local Group Policy Editor

Browse the following path

Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Defender

On the right, double-click Turn off Windows Defender

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How to disable Windows Defender using local group policy

Select Enabled to disable Windows Defender.

Click Apply.

Click OK.

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How to disable Windows Defender using local group policy

Once you complete the above steps, you will notice the Windows Defender shield icon will continue to run in the system tray. To get rid of the icon, simply restart your computer.

At any time, if you want to re-enable Windows Defender, you only need to follow the same steps, but this time, select the option Not configured. Then restart your computer to complete reverting the changes.

 

How to disable Windows Defender using the Registry

Use the Windows key + keyboard shortcut to open the Run command, type regedit, and click OK to open the registry.

Browse the following path:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender

If you don’t see DWORD DisableAntiSpyware, right-click on an empty space, select New, and click on DWORD (32-bit) Value.

Name the key DisableAntiSpyware.

Double-click the newly created key, and set the value from 0to 1.

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How to disable Windows Defender using the Registry

Restart your computer to complete the task.

At any time, if you want to re-enable Windows Defender, you only need to follow the same steps, but this time, change the value from 1 to 0. Then restart your computer to complete reverting the changes.

How to disable Windows Defender using the Settings app

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Update & security.
  3. Click on Windows Defender.
  4. Turn off the toggle switch for Real-time protection.
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How to turn On Windows Defender in windows 10 app setting

While Windows Defender doesn’t specify how long you can disable real-time protection, “temporary” usually means until the next time you reboot your computer.

It’s really important to note that we’re NOT saying that you shouldn’t use an antivirus on your computer, but there are always situations when you may need to disable Windows Defender from your machine permanently.

Also see

Deploying and managing Windows Store apps

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