Enable Microsoft Defender Antivirus Updates over Metered Connections

How to Enable or Disable Microsoft Defender Antivirus Updates over Metered Connections

Microsoft Defender (formerly Windows Defender) Antivirus uses security intelligence definitions to detect threats. Windows 10 automatically downloads the most recent intelligence available through Windows Update. When on a metered connection, Defender doesn't check for its signature updates to save your bandwidth. Here's how to change this behavior.


When a connection is set as metered, it prevents most of the updates from being downloaded and installed. It's obvious that the device can become vulnerable to malware over time. Also, the OS won't receive performance and feature enhancements.

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. Microsoft is renaming the app Microsoft Defender.

Microsoft Defender ATP Banner

Recent Windows 10 version come with is a new app called Windows Security. The application, formerly known as "Windows Defender Dashboard" and "Windows Defender Security Center", has been created to help the user control his security and privacy settings in a clear and useful way. It includes all the settings related to Windows Defender. The Security Center app is reviewed in the post Windows Defender Security Center in Windows 10 Creators Update.

Defender Signature Updates

Microsoft continually updates security intelligence in antimalware products to cover the latest threats and to constantly tweak detection logic, enhancing the ability of Windows Defender Antivirus and other Microsoft antimalware solutions to accurately identify threats. This security intelligence works directly with cloud-based protection to deliver fast and powerful AI-enhanced, next-generation protection.

Defender signature updates are tied to the built-in Windows Update feature. When you have it disabled, paused with Focus Assist, or you are on a metered connection, Microsoft Defender won't receive signature updates, too. In this case, you can use a number of methods to manually update Defender signatures:

However, starting in Windows 10 build 20175, Microsoft implemented a new Group policy that allows enabling updates for Microsoft Defender without extra hacks. Here's how.

To Enable Microsoft Defender Antivirus Updates over Metered Connections,

  1. Open PowerShell as Administrator. Tip: You can add "Open PowerShell As Administrator" context menu.
  2. Type or copy-paste the following command: Set-MpPreference -MeteredConnectionUpdates 1.Enable Microsoft Defender Antivirus Signature Updates Over Metered Connections
  3. The feature is now enabled. To disable Defender signature updates over metered connections (restore defaults), use the command Set-MpPreference -MeteredConnectionUpdates 0.Disable Microsoft Defender Antivirus Signature Updates Over Metered Connections
  4. Now you can close the PowerShell console.

You are done!

Enable or Disable Microsoft Defender Antivirus Updates over Metered Connections in Group Policy

  1. Open the Local Group Policy editor app, or launch it for all users except Administrator, or for a specif user.
  2. Navigate to Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Microsoft Defender Antivirus\Security Intelligence Updates the left.Defender Antivirus Security Intelligence Updates In Group Policy
  3. On the right, find the policy setting Allows Microsoft Defender to update and communicate over a metered connection.
  4. Double-click on it and set the policy to Enabled.Enable Defender Antivirus Security Intelligence Updates Over Metered Connections In Group Policy
  5. Setting the policy to Disabled or Not configured will disable the Defender Antivirus updates over metered connections.

Finally, you can apply a Registry tweak. The Local Group Policy Editor app is only available in  Windows 10 Pro, Enterprise, or Education editions, so the Registry tweak method is what Windows 10 Home users can use.

Enable Microsoft Defender Antivirus Updates over Metered Connections with Registry Tweak

  1. Open Registry Editor.
  2. Go to the following Registry key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender\Signature Updates. See how to jump to the desired Registry key with one click.
  3. If you do not have such a key, then just create it.
  4. Here, create a new 32-bit DWORD value MeteredConnectionUpdates. Note: Even if you are running 64-bit Windows, you still need to use a 32-bit DWORD as the value type.
  5. Set its value data to 1 to enable Microsoft Defender Antivirus Updates over metered connections.Enable Microsoft Defender Antivirus Signature Updates Over Metered Connections In Registry
  6. Restart Windows 10 to apply the change.

You are done. Set MeteredConnectionUpdates to 0 or delete this value to restore defaults (disable Microsoft Defender Antivirus updates over metered connections).

To save your time, you can download the following ready-to-use Registry files. The undo tweak is included:

Download Registry Files

Tip: If you find no use for Windows Security and want to get rid of it, you may find the following articles useful:

Finally, you may want to disable the Microsoft Defender antivirus app.

Related articles:

Also, check out these posts:

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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.

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