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How to disable Windows Defender tray icon in Windows 10 Anniversary Update

Windows 10 Anniversary Update brought yet another change to Windows 10's UI. Windows Defender got a tray icon, which is visible out of the box and indicates the status of the built-in protection. If you are not happy to see it, here is a way to get rid of it and restore the behavior Windows 10 had with the July 2015 release and in version 1511.

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As of this writing, the actual version of Windows 10 Anniversary Update is build 14342. In that version, Windows Defender's tray icon looks like this:
Windows 10 defender tray icon enabled

Microsoft implemented a new helper tool, which draws the icon. It is located here:

C:\Program Files\Windows Defender\MSASCuiL.exe

This file runs at startup when you sign in to your Windows 10 account and so the icon appears in the tray. To get rid of the icon, you can remove MSASCuiL.exe from startup. This operation has no side effect and will disable the tray icon completely.

Disable Windows Defender tray icon in Windows 10 Anniversary Update

To remove MSASCuiL.exe from startup, we will use the methods described in the article How to add or remove startup apps in Windows 10.

  1. Open Task Manager.
  2. Switch to the tab named Startup.
    Tip: You can open the Startup tab of Task Manager directly in Windows 10 by running the following command:
    taskmgr /0 /startup

    See how to create a shortcut to manage Startup apps in Windows 10.

  3. Find the line named "Windows Defender User Interface" as shown below:Windows 10 task manager startupRight click it and select "Disable" in the context menu:Windows 10 disable defender tray icon

Once this is done, you need to sign out from your Windows account and log in back. This will remove the Windows Defender tray icon in Windows 10 Anniversary Update.Windows 10 defender tray icon disabled To restore it back later, you can just enable the Windows Defender User Interface item on the Startup tab in Task Manager.

Tip: If you restored the Classic Task Manager in Windows 10 according to this article, then you will also need to restore classic msconfig. Thereafter, you can launch C:\Windows\System32\msconfig1.exe and use its Startup tab instead to disable Windows Defender's tray icon.

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.

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