Disable or enable Windows Defender in Windows 10

Windows Defender is the default antivirus app shipped with Windows 10. Earlier versions of Windows like Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7 and Vista also had it but it was less efficient previously as it only scanned spyware and adware. In Windows 8 and Windows 10, Defender is based on the Microsoft Security Essentials app which offers better protection by adding full blown protection against all kinds of malware. However, despite Microsoft's claims that it offers full protection, studies have found that third party antivirus apps still offer better protection. If you prefer to use a third party anti malware app, you might want to disable Windows Defender. Here is how you can disable it.

Option one

You can use Winaero Tweaker to disable Windows Defender:

You can download it here: Download Winaero Tweaker.

Using Winaero Tweaker, you can keep Defender disabled until you click the option "Enable Windows Defender". I recommend you to disable it this way, it is safe and reliable.

Option two

Windows Defender can be temporary turned off via its preferences. To access it, you need to open the user interface of Windows Defender. To open it quickly, press Win + R on the keyboard (see the ultimate list of Win key shortcuts) and type the following in the Run box:

%ProgramFiles%\Windows Defender\MSASCui.exe

Windows 10 run defender UI Windows 10 Defender

Run it and click on the Settings button.

Windows 10 Defender Settings buttonThe Settings app will be opened:
Windows 10 Disable Windows Defender

Toggle the "Real-time protection" option to Off. This will disable Windows Defender in Windows 10.

Windows 10 Defender SettingsIf you will open Windows Defender once again, it look as follows:

Windows 10 turn off Windows Defender

After some time, it will re-enable itself. So, if you want to disable Windows Defender, use Option #1 or Option #3.

Option three

You can disable Windows Defender with  Group Policy. Import the following registry tweak:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender]
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender\Real-Time Protection]

You need to reboot your PC.

Download ready-to-use registry files from here:

Download "Disable Windows Defender" registry tweak

The undo file is included.

That's it. Please leave a comment about which method you tried and which worked for you. Thanks in advance.


49 thoughts on “Disable or enable Windows Defender in Windows 10

  1. Phil

    wow thank you!

  2. Jose_49

    Can I add:

    It’s also possible by searching it on Start.

    Just open start and type “Defender” and the app will appear.

  3. randy trachsel

    just wanted to say thanks for an awesome os and all the available help from ms

    1. Simone Lazzari

      Lol, people don’t seem to know what’s sarcasm and how it works (sigh).

  4. Oomek

    Unfortunately after swithing it off Windows Defender Service is still running in the background eating my VM’s resources.

  5. Ryan

    I agree with Oomek … this does not stop the service nor the operation. The MsMpEng.exe is still consuming all the disk IO.

  6. ElPee

    Windows 10 re-enables Defender….

  7. Jay

    The only way to truly disable defender is to install another 3rd party anti-virus, doing so Windows will detect the program and automatically disable defender, if you remove the 3rd party program windows will then re-enable defender.

    1. Jay

      One other thing, here is a list of (supposedly) compatible antivirus apps for Windows 10. I have tested some of them myself and have found AVG to be a bit cumbersome for some reason, although I was partial to it on Win7. Panda cloud is probably my pick of the list based on its performance in independent tests and extremely light weight, however I could not get it to install on Win10 due to “compatibility issues”. I have settled with BitDefender as it seems to be the easiest on my systems resources and it too scores quite well on those independent tests, it also has a no frills interface which some people like. Personally I only use it because Windows forces me to in order to turn off Defender. But, here’s that list:

      Bitdefender Antivirus Free 2014
      AVG Free Antivirus
      Avira Free Antivirus 2015
      360 Total Security
      AVG 2015 Internet Security
      McAfee Total Protection
      McAfee All Access Security
      ESET Endpoint Security
      Panda Cloud Antivirus

      I tested these on a fresh install, and today I installed the latest build of WIn10 “build 10122” and have not yet tried these on this build so things may have changed with that list. Hope this helps.

    2. BG

      I have installed Avira (Freeware) .
      But Photos app is still hogging my CPU…

  8. WndSks

    You can disable it with group policy…

    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      Great. Will try and add it to the article.
      Btw I am big fan of your blog :)

      1. WndSks


        [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender]

        [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender\Real-Time Protection]

        Defender will show a warning on login unless you disable its run entry. Please file feeback about this idiotic behavior…

        1. Bob

          Did not work on windows 10…

          1. MrM

            You must enter the keys manually in Windows 10. .REG import does not appear to work.

  9. Igor

    Windows 10 Insider Preview hogs CPU.
    So I have deleted backgroundTaskHost.exe from the Windows\System32 folder. Also I installed Avira instead of built-in Defender. Everything is fine now! :-D

  10. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

    I added two alternative ways which will allow to disable Windows Defender completely and prevent Windows 10 from re-enabling it.
    Waiting for your feedback guys

  11. John Plavins

    About turning Defender of if you have Ymaicsoft Windows 10 and Windows 8 manger when you open menu list right side go down to Misc.Utilities open window opens Windows Utilites v1.1 in the windows there is icon called Group Policies open right side list of Software
    Windows Settings
    Administrative Templates open scroll down to Windows Defender left side applet (Turn of Windows Defender) open not configured
    Disabled make you hit enable and hit apply and OK
    close all and restart, you do not have to go into Registration at all. Or Administrative Templates installed on Windows 8.1 or windows 7 or XP?

  12. draks

    In the latest build you can only temporarily disable Windows Defender. Here’s how to permanently disable it:
    1. Run gpedit.msc
    2. Navigate to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Defender
    3. Double click on “Turn off Windows Defender”
    4. Select “Enabled” > Apply > OK
    5. Close Group Policy Editor
    Beware, you are now unprotected.

  13. Michael Arguin

    Thanks its work with my win 10 pro edition, no more defender

  14. mendis

    wow thankyou verymuch

  15. Regular User

    Thanks a lot, Sergey.

    The https://mega.nz/#!rVVCQZAK!XF-sdyGrKsubgcixLt5AUT8x-oPzY41KAGC3z6QV4IQ link works well.

  16. Benji

    I cannot run windows defender : i always get a x800700005 error

  17. Ehtisham

    Good descriptive article and it helps me to turn on my Defender in Windows 10, actually i installed Avast Antivirus on my Laptop but after few days i am not satisfied and than i wanted to revert back to Defender but when i try to activate again, it gives me some error, but today i read this article and it solves my problem.

    Thank you.

  18. Hiwa

    Always after rebooting or turning off and on, windows enables windows defender. How can I get rid of it?

    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      Try Winaero Tweaker or group policy method/registry tweak.

  19. ABC

    Thank god something like this exists. Defender was for some reason using so much cpu. Thank you for this

  20. Yohannes

    i was trying to run it on windows 10 and disabling the windows defender got it working for me.

  21. Windows defender antivirus

    Is not windows defender disabled automatically when you install 3rd party antivirus?

  22. Armond

    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender]
    I believe it is enough and no need to add other values. Thanks for the article.

    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      Thanks for the valuable comment.

  23. X70

    Hello I am not very familiar with the registry entries.
    In the current register I can see this path [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender]
    But I cannot find the “DisableAntiSpyware” key. Actually I cannot see any key in that folder
    Do I have to actually create the key by myself?
    Finally I run a find command in the registry and I did find a “DisableAntiSpyware” key but I don’t know if it’s the one mentioned here, because it is not under the policies path, rather under the following one:
    I’m using Win10 Home edition.

    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      You need to create the DisableAntiSpyware key yourself.
      If you would like to avoid the manual Registry editing, use Winaero Tweaker.

      It works in all Windows editions and versions.

  24. tomk

    New Win Defender Security Center runs auto, could not see way to turn off (control by remote command?). Do use alternate security program. Registry values show DisableAntispyware and DisableRealTimeProtection are on (dword values set to 1). Any thoughts on disabling new WD Security Center runs? Your instructions for clearing the annoying taskbar icon still seem to be effective, but wonder if the icon and status notify will return on next Win 10 update.

  25. Windows Defender

    I can’t look for DisableAntiSpyware registry key

    HKey_Local_Machine\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender

    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      if you have no such key, then just create it

  26. Sandeep

    Informative Article!

    Windows defender can automatically disabled itself as we can say silent mode as well when other third party antivirus program installed on that same computer!

  27. Abdo

    In option 2 , When it opens the settings app I don’t find the real time protection option .
    Please help !

  28. Alexandr111990

    Hello! Tell me please, which recommendation is correct?

    Here’s the article: http: //remontka.pro/windows …
    recommend disabling the following:

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Policies \ Microsoft \ Windows Defender]
    “DisableAntiSpyware” = dword: 00000001
    “AllowFastServiceStartup” = dword: 00000000
    “ServiceKeepAlive” = dword: 00000000

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Policies \ Microsoft \ Windows Defender \ Real-Time Protection]
    “DisableIOAVProtection” = dword: 00000001
    “DisableRealtimeMonitoring” = dword: 00000001

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Policies \ Microsoft \ Windows Defender \ Spynet]
    “DisableBlockAtFirstSeen” = dword: 00000001
    “LocalSettingOverrideSpynetReporting” = dword: 00000000
    “SubmitSamplesConsent” = dword: 00000002

    Already 8 values!

    You are offering:

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Policies \ Microsoft \ Windows Defender]
    “DisableAntiSpyware” = dword: 00000001
    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Policies \ Microsoft \ Windows Defender \ Real-Time Protection]
    “DisableBehaviorMonitoring” = dword: 00000001
    “DisableOnAccessProtection” = dword: 00000001
    “DisableScanOnRealtimeEnable” = dword: 00000001

    Only 4!

    At you all correctly converges as at developers of program Windows Tweaker (just at them it turns off Defender Windows your described way)
    Here’s a link to their article: https: //winaero.com/blog/di …

    I also disabled it myself with the help of the program Win Updates Disabler (it also disconnects what you and the Windows Tweaker) so you and the Windows Tweaker article have a fresh and therefore the ways to disconnect have long been worked out, 3 similarities of your +2 other developers against the unknown that for 8 values ​​is disabled by the recommendation of remontka.pro

    So that’s more correct than yours or remontka.pro and why you only have 3 and they already have 8
    What they in addition except DisableAntiSpyware disconnect ???
    Tell me please and explain to all in detail Please!

    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      To disable the Defender app, 4 values are enough. Those extra values disable FEATURES of the (already disabled) engine, which is just pointless.

  29. nicole phillips

    I have been having so many problems with Windows Defender, sadly I tried these steps and they didn’t work me. My hard drive failed so I had to get a new one , went to install Windows 10 Pro , worked great now when I try to download anything “chrome , firefox , steam etc ” it says “Windows Defenders has blocked this app” I have everything turned off for Windows Defender still no luck. I have tried restarting my computer as well. Microsoft Tech Support tried to help last night and it was a nightmare they where not any help. I just want to download steam

  30. Nick

    What’s a “group policy”, what’s a “registry tweak” and how do you “import” stuff in it?
    Might have been helpful information to include because I’ve downloaded the .reg thingies and I have f*ck-all clue what to do with them.

  31. Windows Defender Support

    Windows defender can automatically be disabled itself as we can say silent mode as well when other third-party antivirus program installed on that same computer!

  32. Jonathan

    Not working from the app,

    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      Must be due to Tamper Protection enabled. Working on a fix.

  33. jamesfell

    Quick steps to turn off antivirus/Windows Defender in windows 10,
    I.Click Start and search for gpedit.msc.
    II.Click and open the Local Group Policy Editor.
    III.Access Computer Configuration>Administrative Templates>Windows Components>Windows Defender Antivirus
    IV.Double-click the Turn off Windows Defender Antivirus policy.
    V.In the same window, select Enabled to disable the Defender.
    VI.Select Apply>OK and restart your computer

    1. Moceno

      gpedit.msc is NOT present on home versions of Windows, that is, in most Windows installations in the world. Forget giving such advices, please.

  34. Alexey

    Hello Sergey. Tell me how to open the Defender settings on the “Virus & threat protection” page from PowerShell, just like you did in your utility?
    I spent many days on this and I can’t do it. It is necessary to do it because of the new protection.


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