Recent versions of Windows 10 come with an app called Windows Security. The application, formerly known as "Windows Defender Security Center", has been renamed to Windows Security. It is intended to help the user control his security and privacy settings in a clear and useful way. The app has a tray icon, which is visible out of the box. If you are not happy to see it, here is number of ways to hide it.
You can launch Windows Security from the Start menu or with a special shortcut. Alternatively, you can access it using its tray icon. As of this writing, it looks as follows:
Tip: You can use this tool to repair Windows problems and improve performance of the OS.
There is a helper tool which draws the icon. It is located here:
"C:\Program Files\Windows Defender\MSASCuiL.exe"
Update: Starting in Windows 10 version 1809, the helper tool has got renamed. Now it is
This file runs at startup when you sign in to your Windows 10 account and so the icon appears in the tray. To get rid of the icon, you can remove the helper tool from startup. This operation has no side effect and will disable the tray icon completely.
To remove MSASCuiL.exe/SecurityHealthSystray.exe from startup, we will use the methods described in the article How to add or remove startup apps in Windows 10.
To disable Windows Security tray icon, do the following.
- Open Task Manager.
- Switch to the tab named Startup.
Tip: You can open the Startup tab of Task Manager directly in Windows 10 by running the following command:
taskmgr /0 /startup
- Find the line named "Windows Defender notification icon" as shown below:
- Right click it and select "Disable" in the context menu: Tip: in the screenshot above, you can see an additional "Command line" column which is not visible by default. To enable it, see the article Get more details about Startup in Windows Task Manager.
Group Policy Option
Starting in Windows 10 version 1809 (Redstone 5), there is a special Group Policy option which allows hiding the tray icon of Windows Security. If you are running Windows 10 Pro, Enterprise, or Education edition, you can use the Local Group Policy Editor app to configure the option with a GUI, as follows.
- Press Win + R keys together on your keyboard and type:
- Group Policy Editor will open. Go to Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates _> Windows Components -> Windows Security -> Systray. Enable the policy option Hide Windows Security Systray as shown below.
- Reboot your computer.
If you are running Windows 10 Home or other edition of the OS which doesn't include Local Group Policy Editor, you can apply a Registry tweak.
- Open Registry Editor.
- Go to the following Registry key:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender Security Center\Systray
If you do not have such a key, then just create it.
- Here, create a new 32-bit DWORD value HideSystray. Note: Even if you are running 64-bit Windows, you still need to use a 32-bit DWORD as the value type.
Set it to 1 to disable the tray icon.
- To make the changes done by the Registry tweak take effect, you need to restart Windows 10.
Later, you can delete the HideSystray value to make the icon visible.
- Add Windows Defender to the Control Panel in Windows 10
- How to Enable Windows Defender Application Guard in Windows 10
- Disable Windows Defender in Windows 10
- How To Add Exclusions for Windows Defender in Windows 10
- How To Disable Windows Defender Security Center
Thanks to deskmodder.de for the tweak option.