Enable or Disable Windows Defender in Windows 10 (Microsoft Defender)

How to Enable or Disable Windows Defender in Windows 10 (Microsoft Defender)

Microsoft Defender, also known as 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, or have any other reason for that, you may want to disable Windows Defender.

This post will show you how to disable Microsoft Windows Defender in Windows 10.

Windows 10 allows to only temporary disable Windows Defender with a special option in Windows Security. After some period of time, it will be re-enabled automatically. We'll look at various ways to disable the app, including both temporary and permanent disabling.

To Disable Windows Defender in Windows 10

  1. Disable the Tamper Protection feature. Otherwise you won't be able to permanently disable the app.
  2. Download the following ZIP archive: Download ZIP archive.
  3. Unblock the file.
  4. Extract its contents to any folder. You can place the files directly to the Desktop.
  5. Double click on the Disable Windows Defender in Windows 10.reg file to merge it.
  6. Restart Windows 10.

You are done.

The ZIP archive contains the undo file, called Restore Windows Defender in Windows 10.reg.  Use it to re-enable Defender later, and restart the OS after applying it.

How it works

The above registry files will modify the following Registry keys and values.

Under the key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender, they will set the following 32-bit DWORD values. Note: Even if you are running 64-bit Windows you must still create a 32-bit DWORD value.

Additionally, the Registry files contain the following values for the real-time protection options

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

Why to disable Tamper Protection

Tamper Protection is a setting from Microsoft Defender Antivirus, available in the Windows Security app, which when on, provides additional protections against changes to key security features, including limiting changes which are not made directly through the Windows Security app. This will prevent you from applying the above Registry tweak.

If you are not happy with Registry editing, you can use Winaero Tweaker.

Disable Microsoft Defender with Winaero Tweaker

  1. Download Winaero Tweaker.
  2. On the left, navigate to Windows Defender > Disable Windows Defender.
  3. The app is able to detect is the Tamper Protection is active, so you will be prompted to disable it first. By clicking the Open Defender Settings button you will open the Windows Security app. Disable the Tamper Protection there.Windows 10 Disable Defender In Winaero Tweaker
  4. Finally, turn on (check) the option named Disable Windows Defender.Winaero Tweaker 0.16.1 Disable Defender
  5. Restart Windows 10.

You can learn more about Winaero Tweaker here.

Using Winaero Tweaker, you can keep Defender disabled until you uncheck the option "Disable Windows Defender". This is a time saving option.

Finally, you can disable Microsoft Defender in its settings. However, this won't stay for long. Windows 10 will quickly re-enable it.

Temporarily Enable or Disable Microsoft Windows Defender

  1. Open the Windows Security app. You can launch Windows Security from the Start menu or with a special shortcut. Tip: The Start menu supports alphabet navigation.Windows 10 Open Windows Security
  2. In the user interface of the app, click on the icon Virus & Threat protection.Windows 10 Windows Security Virus And Threat Protection
  3. On the next page, click on the Manage settings link under the Virus and threat protection settings section.Windows 10 Windows Security Virus And Threat Protection Manage Settings
  4. On the next page, toggle the Real-time protection option to Off. This will temporarily disable Windows Defender in Windows 10.Windows 10 Temporaty Disable Windows Defender

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

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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

58 thoughts on “Enable or Disable Windows Defender in Windows 10 (Microsoft Defender)”

  1. Can I add:

    It’s also possible by searching it on Start.

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

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

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

  4. 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. 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.

      1. Thanks.

        [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…

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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?

  8. 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.

  9. Thanks a lot, Sergey.

    The!rVVCQZAK!XF-sdyGrKsubgcixLt5AUT8x-oPzY41KAGC3z6QV4IQ link works well.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. I can’t look for DisableAntiSpyware registry key

    HKey_Local_Machine\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender

  15. 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!

  16. Hello! Tell me please, which recommendation is correct?

    Here’s the article: http: // …
    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: // …

    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

    So that’s more correct than yours or 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. To disable the Defender app, 4 values are enough. Those extra values disable FEATURES of the (already disabled) engine, which is just pointless.

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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!

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

  21. 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.

  22. This tweak doesn’t work anymore – sad, because it used to work even on Home edition. Now we need the Pro versions, right?

    1. Hi.
      Before applying the tweak, you need to disable the Tamper Protection. This is important.
      Now use these values.
      HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender
      HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender\Real-Time Protection

      What about this?

  23. Third party AV solutions come with too many privacy concerns and the ‘free’ ones /rolleyes.

    If your not paying for the product, you are the product.

    PS @Sergey Tkachenko I’m seeing the new page layout for the first time, I like it.

  24. I noticed Windows changes registry keys back to the original. This can be prevented setting HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender key Owner and permissions to your current user allowing `Full Control` and removing all other current users/groups. This permissions change should be done replacing all child objects (sub-keys) permission entries.

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