How To Disable Windows Defender Security Center

Windows 10 Creators Update version 1703 brought yet another change to Windows 10's UI. There is a new app called Windows Defender Security Center. It has been created to help the user control his security and privacy settings in a clear and useful way. Many users would like to disable it. Here is how.

Before you proceed, here is what you need to know. Don't be confused between Windows Defender and Windows Defender Security Center. Windows Defender is the built-in anti-virus software which provides real-time protection against threats. The Windows Defender Security Center app is just a dashboard which allows you to track your protection state. It can be used to configure various security options like SmartScreen. It shows an icon in the system tray. In most cases and for many users, it might be enough to disable Windows Defender and/or remove the Defender Security Center app's tray icon. If this is not enough for you, here is how you can disable it.

To Disable Windows Defender Security Center, do the following.

  1. Download the portable app ExecTI and unpack it to any folder you like: Download ExecTI.
  2. Unblock the downloaded file.
  3. Using ExecTI, run the "regedit.exe" app. See the screenshot below. This will open a new instance of the Registry editor app running with TrustedInstaller permissions, so it will allow you to modify the required Registry key.
  4. Go to the following Registry key:

  5. On the right, modify the 32-bit DWORD value named Start. Change its value data from 2 to 4.

    This will disable the service SecurityHealthService, which is used by the Windows Defender Security Center.
  6. Now, restart Windows 10.

Voila, you just disabled Windows Defender Security Center. The service will be disabled too.

Now, you can use the classic Windows Defender app instead of the the Security Center. See Get Classic Windows Defender in Windows 10 Creators Update.

To restore the app, execute the Registry editor from ExecTI again. Go to the key


and modify the Start value from 4 to 2. Restart your computer to re-enable the Windows Defender Security Center app.

That's it.

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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.

20 thoughts on “How To Disable Windows Defender Security Center”

  1. How uninstall this app? I remove all packages with Windows-Defender*, Sense etc name, but this app not delete :(

  2. Thanks for this tweak. I have disabled Windows Defender Security Center and I realize that Windows Defender is still running. How do I interface with with Windows Defender now? The icon is Systray is gone and there seems to be no way to interface with Windows Defender.

  3. Thanks Sergey, this registry tweak works fine for disabling the Windows Defender Security Center from starting up. However, the app still appears in the start menu. There’s another 2 apps I would also like to remove from showing up in the start menu. They are “Get Help” and “Mixed Reality Portal”. I’ll be checking back for more tweaks. Keep up the great work!

  4. On my PC SecurityHealthService key is owned but Administrators, not TrustedInstaller so no special privileges are required to modify the key. I believe the same shall be for others too.

  5. I had a problem with enabling the “Windows Defender Security Center” and pointing me to “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\SecurityHealthService\Start” has helped a lot – the value was missing completely, so after creating it with value 2 it has started working properly.
    Thank you very much guys.

  6. Hi Sergey,
    I’m confident in editing the registry and followed the path you described but on my pc, the value to change from is 0x00000003 (3) and not 0x00000002 (2) as in your example. Is that a problem? Can I safely ignore that the value on my pc is ‘3’ and change it to ‘4’?

  7. @Trev, the start value is actually normally “3”, not “2” …

    all the people saying “2” is because they changed it to 2 at sometime as they played around with the setting.

    the original setting was “3”, but 2 also means to start the service, so it works as well.

    “4” does disable, as stated. you will have no problems.

  8. this did not disable window defender at all, where it says to change the value from 2 to 4 mine was at 3 and changing it to 4 did nothing. It still starts up and is still running in the back ground

  9. I’m running 22000.856. Being able to retain full control over my own computer only ever moves in one direction, and that’s to the negative! Thanks MS for leading the charge in the age of grannyfication (with apologies to actual grannies).
    The solution on here, especially ExecTI which is the most wonderful 279kB of data I’ve seen in a long time, is … can’t choose the right word which is powerful enough so I’ll just go with a few …. superb, wonderful, amazing, brilliant, made-my-day, solved-a-nightmare-issue-I’ve-had-for-weeks, sooo good.
    In short – thank you.

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