Here is how to permanently disable Defender in Windows 11. Microsoft Defender is an antivirus solution that comes bundled with the OS. It is enabled by default, and remains active until the user installs a third-party security app.
The app was previously known as "Windows Defender", but Microsoft renamed it in recent releases of Windows 10 and Windows 11. Defender runs in the background and provides a number of protection levels, including real-time app activity monitoring, network file checker, anti-tamper protection for its own engine, and more. It also responsible for running periodic scans of the critical areas of the operating system.
Microsoft Defender is a signature based anti-virus software that checks files against a database of well-known patterns. This allows it to provide basic protection for user data.
Some users would like to permanently disable Microsoft Defender. The reasons for that may vary. Some aren't happy with its high resource usage. Others name its low efficiency. Finally, in very specific cases, an installed third-party security solution may be improperly detected, causing Defender to remain up and running with even more resource consumption.
The only problem here is that Microsoft doesn't allow you to permanently disable Defender from its settings. Once you disable it using the appropriate option, it quickly returns to the enabled state after a short period of time. The situation is even worse, as you can't see exactly when it will be automatically re-enabled. So, let's see how to turn it off permanently.
Disable Microsoft Defender in Windows 11
To permanently disable Defender in Windows 11, do the following.
- Download the following REG files in the ZIP archive.
- Extract them to any folder of your choice, e.g. right onto the Desktop.
- Now, click the Windows Security icon in the system tray.
- Select Virus & Threat protection in the window that opens.
- Now, under Virus & threat protection settings, click on the Manage Settings option.
- On the next page, disable the Tamper Protection option.
- Finally, double-click the file "Disable Defender.reg" you have downloaded.
- Restart Windows 11.
You are done. Microsoft Defender is now permanently turned off. The undo file is "Enable Defender.reg", which is also included in the ZIP archive.
The reviewed method works in all editions and versions of Windows 11. It sets a Group Policy option in the Registry that tells the operating system to stop using the built-in security solution.
If you have Windows 11 Pro, Education, or Enterprise edition, then you can go with gpedit.msc - the Local Group Policy Editor app. It will allow you to configure Defender using a special GUI option.
Disable Defender with the Local Group Policy Editor
- Press the Win + R shortcut to bring up the Run dialog and type
gpedit.msc. Hit Enter to launch it.
- Head over the Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Microsoft Defender Antivirus folder on the left.
- On the right, find and double-click the Turn off Microsoft Defender Antivirus policy and set it to Enabled.
- Click the Apply and OK buttons to apply the change.
- Finally, restart Windows 11.
Done! Similar to the method reviewed earlier in this post, Defender will be permanently disabled.
Finally, an alternative to Group Policy is Winaero Tweaker. It includes an option to permanently stop the Defender app.
Using Winaero Tweaker
- Download the app from here, install and run it.
- Open the Windows Security app and disable the Tamper Protection option.
- Now, return to Winaero Tweaker and go to Windows Defender > Disable Defender option in the left pane.
- On the right, simply check the eponymous option.
- Restart Windows when prompted.
This will disable Microsoft Defender.
Finally, for the sake of completeness, let's see how to temporarily disable Defender in Windows 11.
Temporarily disable Defender in Windows 11
- Open Windows Search by clicking on its taskbar icon or pressing Win + S.
- Type "Windows Security" and launch the found app.
- Select Virus & Threat protection.
- On the next page, go down to Virus & threat protection settings section and click Manage settings.
- On the next page, turn off the Real-time protection toggle option.
You are done. Again, keep in mind that this option simply pauses the Defender app. In a short period of time, Microsoft Defender will be re-enabled by the operating system.
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This doesn’t work anymore! It just resets itself and unchecks the Disable button in Tweaker after a reboot and some time. This needs to be fixed!
Doesn’t work. A popup says I need an app to launch this feature, the query on the app store finds nothing.
Sorry, what doesn’t work? Where/when you see that popup?