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
- Disable the Tamper Protection feature. Otherwise you won't be able to permanently disable the app.
- Download the following ZIP archive: Download ZIP archive.
- Unblock the file.
- Extract its contents to any folder. You can place the files directly to the Desktop.
- Double click on the
Disable Windows Defender in Windows 10.regfile to merge it.
- 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] "DisableBehaviorMonitoring"=dword:00000001 "DisableOnAccessProtection"=dword:00000001 "DisableScanOnRealtimeEnable"=dword:00000001
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
- Download Winaero Tweaker.
- On the left, navigate to Windows Defender > Disable Windows Defender.
- 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.
- Finally, turn on (check) the option named Disable Windows Defender.
- 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
- 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.
- In the user interface of the app, click on the icon Virus & Threat protection.
- On the next page, click on the Manage settings link under the Virus and threat protection settings section.
- On the next page, toggle the Real-time protection option to Off. This will temporarily disable Windows Defender in Windows 10.
That's it. Please leave a comment about which method you tried and which worked for you. Thanks in advance.