How To Turn Off Windows Defender In Windows 10 Permanently

The Windows Defender is built-in antivirus software that was designed to protect your system from all kinds of threats or viruses that have intentions of stealing your information, infiltrating your privacy, deleting or corrupting important files, and rendering your computer useless or putting it in a vegetative state.

Being one of the best available antivirus programs, it notifies you about the activities that may risk your system to ransomware, spyware, rootkits, trojans, and other forms of malicious attacks.

Sometimes you will be pushed to a spot where you have to disable Windows Defender to get work done. This article will tell you how to turn off Windows Defender in Windows 10 computers.

Reasons to disable the Windows Defender Antivirus on your Windows 10 computer

Although Windows Defender is a great alternative for any antivirus program, it can easily frustrate users by restricting them from performing certain tasks. 

There are two main reasons that can force you to turn off Windows Defender on your Windows 10 PC:

Reason 1: The Microsoft Defender antivirus is preventing you from downloading or running certain programs

If you are trying to install certain third-party software or programs, the Windows Defender will not allow you to do so since it is programmed to treat every third-party program as a threat.

Even if the software you wish to install onto your system is safe and is also from a legitimate developer and a credible source, the Windows Defender will continue to delete the software from the system without you knowing that this has been taking place.

Eventually, you will be able to notice that this application or feature is missing only when you wish to use it and thereby look for it. 

Reason 2: The Microsoft Defender antivirus is using up a lot of resources

The Windows Defender may consume a lot of resources and over-occupy the processor while scanning files on your system. It might further affect your system’s performance if you are using a system with lower RAM. Hence, you must ensure that Windows Defender is turned off to take proper control over your system. 

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Can I Disable the Windows Defender?

Yes, it is possible for Windows users to disable Windows Defender. But you must not disable the Windows Defender unnecessarily as this marvelous feature provides you protection from possible threats that will harm your system.

If you are put in a situation where you have to disable this feature, make sure that your system has an antivirus program. It is very important that you understand that disabling the Windows Defender may leave your system prone to virus attacks and other malicious files. 

Methods to disable the Windows Defender in Windows 10 PCs

There are several methods that can be used to turn off Microsoft Defender. 

These are the interfaces that allow you to disable the Windows Defender through them:

  1. Windows Settings
  2. Registry 
  3. Group Policy
  4. Third-Party Antivirus

You must follow the steps associated with each method to ensure that your Microsoft Defender antivirus does not create problems in the future. All of these different methods require administrator access to disable this feature.

The different methods to disable Windows Defender in Windows 10 are elaborated below.

Method 1: Through Windows Settings or Windows Security 

The Windows Security page in the Windows settings can be used to disable the Windows Defender Antivirus, temporarily. 

In order to turn off Windows Defender through the Windows Settings, take a look at these simple steps:

  1. Tap the Windows key on your keyboard or click on the Start button (Windows icon) located at the bottom left corner of your screen to bring the start menu.
  2. Scroll down through the options and select Settings on the left side of the menu.
Settings option in Start Menu
  1. Next, click on the “Update and Security” option from among all the settings tiles.
The Update & Security tile in Windows Settings
  1. Now, select “Windows Security” from the left side panel to display the security settings of your computer.
The Windows Security page in Windows Settings
  1. Click on “Virus & threat protection” in the Protection areas section.
The Virus & Threat Protection settings in the Windows Settings
  1. On the next screen, click on the “Manage settings” option, under the Virus & threat protection settings. 

This will give you access to the Microsoft Defender antivirus’ settings. 

  1. Here, click on the toggle switch under the Real-time protection section to turn it off. 
  2. Tap “Yes” on the confirmation prompt dialog box and you will, then, see a message saying “Real-time protection is turned off”. This means that the Windows Defender has been turned off successfully. 

If you wish to enable it once again, you can enable the Windows Defender anytime you want by following the above-mentioned path and turning on the same switch.

Method 2: Through the Registry Editor

You can also disable Windows Defender using the Registry Editor interface, which is an archive of all the small features of the Windows OS, their registries, keys, and their allotted values. If you can find the Microsoft Defender Antivirus in this, you can change its value to turn it off. 

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These are your steps to turn off Windows Defender through the Registry Editor:

  1. Open Start menu on your computer by pushing the Windows key on your keyboard or clicking on the Start Button, present on the bottom left corner of your screen to open the start menu.
  2. Enter “regedit” and Open the Registry Editor application, which is your best search result.
The Registry Editor Run command
  1. Windows will ask you if you wish to access the Registry. Click on the “Yes” option in the little prompt dialog box.
  2. You will get access to different files, registries, keys, and their set values on the Registry Editor window. Once you are in, you will need to locate the Windows Defender antivirus’ registry location through this route:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SOFTWARE >  Policies > Microsoft > Windows Defender.

The Microsoft Defender or Windows Defender location in the Registry Editor
  1. Now, right-click on Windows Defender option to draw the context menu down
  2. Select “New”, followed by  “DWORD (32-bit) Value” from the list of options. 
Contexts menu route to create a DWORD (32-bit) key value
  1. A new file will be visible to you on the right side of the screen. You need to name the file “DisableAntiSpyware” and press the Enter key on your keyboard to save it.
The DisableAntiSpyware key in the Registry Editor
  1. Now, double-click on the icon to open the new file and then set the “Value data” as 1.

It is essential to restart your computer to keep the changes that you made and for the impact of this task on your computer to settle down & become accustomed to the computer configuration.

Method 3: Through Group Policy Editor

You may choose to permanently disable the Microsoft Windows Defender, using Group Policy Editor. There is no need to disable this feature, as it might put your computer and Windows Components at a risk

The steps involved in this method are elaborated below:

  1. Firstly, you need to open the Run dialogue box by tapping the Windows + R keys. Alternatively, you can search for Run in the search box and then, open the first search result.
  2. In the Open field, type “gpedit.msc” and hit the enter button.
The Group Policy Editor run command
  1. This will grant you access to the Local Computer Policy, where you must go through this route:

Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components

The Group Policy Editor main page

Then, locate the Windows Defender Antivirus from the list of the available system components.

  1. You will get different options on the right side of the screen. From this, Click on the “Turn off Windows Defender Antivirus” option.
  2. A new window will then appear on your screen. Here, You need to select the “Enable” option and then, click on the Apply button and finally press the Ok button at the bottom. 

This will disable Windows Defender in your Windows 10 system, temporarily. These settings will be permanently configured until you choose to change them. Reverse the above steps in the appropriate order to disable this feature on your computer, back again.

Installing a third-party Antivirus Program

Another option for disabling Windows Defender is installing another Antivirus on your system. You don’t need to manually turn off Windows Defender antivirus if you download third-party antivirus software. 

Main page of a third-party antivirus program

To verify that the Windows Defender Antivirus, has actually been disabled on your computer, follow these steps:

  1. Once your antivirus installation is complete, restart your computer to activate its utility.
  2. Then, search for Windows Security in the search box and open the top-most result.
The Microsoft Defender search result
  1. This will launch the Windows Security page from your System Settings. Click on the Settings button (gear icon) at the bottom-left part of the window.
The Virus & threat protection settings window in the Windows Security page
  1. You will be taken to a Settings page. Here, select the Manage Providers option in the Security providers section.
The Security Providers section with the Manage Providers link
  1. In the next window that follows, you should be able to see all the security-related applications that are available on your computer. There are also details about them, especially whether they are enabled or disabled.
The enabled and disabled antivirus programs in the Security Software settings

When you install a new Antivirus, then the Windows Defender will be forced to stop scanning your files as the position of your computer’s defender will be shifted over to the Antivirus software, which was installed.

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This antivirus will take over the responsibilities of the Microsoft Defender in Windows 10 and provide you more control over your device.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I completely disable Windows Defender?

You can disable Windows Defender by going to Settings > Update & Security > Virus & threat protection settings. Here, click on the “manage settings” option and then switch off Real-time protection. You have to keep in mind that, this action of disabling this feature can prove to be harmful to your system’s security.

Should I turn off Windows Defender if I have antivirus?

There is no absolute need to disable Windows Defender on your system if you have another Antivirus program. Your Windows 10 Operating System will automatically disable Windows Defender if extra antivirus software is detected.

What happens if I disable Windows Defender?

If you disable Windows Defender on your computer, you will gain considerable control over your system and the applications you install in it. Even if you are able to manage things according to your needs, your computer will be vulnerable to threats, viruses, and other malicious attacks that are targeted towards your system.

Do I have Windows Defender on my computer?

Every computer that is powered by the Windows 10 operating system comes with the Windows Defender. This is a built-in feature that offers protection to the computer from malware, viruses. You can disable this feature, if needed, but not delete them from your computer. 

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