How to Turn Off Windows Defender in Windows 10

Asa pre-installed anti-virus software, Windows Defender does an excellent job ofkeeping your PC safe from spyware, viruses, ransomware, and other threats.

Butthere are times when you’d want to temporarily or permanently disable thissoftware. For instance, specific tasks might be conflicting with the Defender,and you need to disable it to complete the action.

Nevertheless, permanently disabling Windows Defender can be challenging if you’re not using Windows 10 Pro. Let’s dive in.

Turning Off Windows Defender

There are two ways to temporarily turn off the Defender – via Windows Security and via Group Policy. The following sections cover both methods.

Windows Security

Step 1

Launch the Start menu, type Windows Security into the search bar, and click on the top result.

windows defender in windows 10

Make sure “Virus & threat protection” is selected, then click on “Manage settings” under “Virus & threat protection settings.”

Step 2

To turn off Windows Defender, click on the button under “Real-time protection” to toggle it off. The action enables you to install any software and make the needed system changes, which the anti-virus previously blocked.

how to turn off windows defender in windows

Of course, you can always re-enable the protection by taking the same steps.

Group Policy

Ifyou’re using Windows 10 Pro, Local Group Policy Editor allows you to turn offWindows Defender permanently.

To complete the action, you need to turn off Tamper Protection first. Available since May 2019, this feature safeguards your system from unauthorized changes. To stress, the Defender will turn back on after a restart if you don’t disable Tamper Protection.

Step 1

Navigate to Windows Security, select “Virus & threat protection,” and select “Manage settings” under “Virus & threat protection settings.”

Step 2

In the following window, go to Tamper Protection and click on the button to toggle it off. Now, you can access Group Policy to disable the native anti-virus altogether.

Step 3

Goback to the Start menu and look for gpedit.mscto locate Local Group Policy Editor. Then, you need to take the followingpath:

Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Defender Antivirus

Step 4

Double-click “Turn off Windows Defender Antivirus” to access more actions. Then, choose “Enabled” to turn off Windows Defender. This action might appear counter-intuitive, but the Help section informs you that it’s the right thing to do.

turn off windows defender on windows 10

Afterward, select Apply, then OK for the actions to take effect. You can now close the remaining windows and restart your PC.

Important Notes

Afterthat, the built-in anti-virus will remain off indefinitely, but you’ll still beable to see the shield icon in the taskbar. That’s not a surprise because theicon is associated with Windows Security.

To enable the anti-virus, retrace your steps as previously described. But now, you need to select “Not Configured” instead of “Enabled.” You also need to reactivate Tamper Protection and restart your PC for the changes to take effect.

Bonus Method

If you’re not running Windows 10 Pro, you might not be able to access the Local Group Policy Editor. However, you can use Windows Registry to remove Windows Defender permanently.

Step 1

Startby disabling Tamper Protection.

Keepin mind that there is a “TamperProtection Registry” key, and you can find it inthe following path:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\WindowsDefender\Features

You can easily control this key, but it’s quite tricky to modify it. That’s why it’s not advisable to try to turn off Tamper Protection using the key.

Step 2

Hitthe Start menu, type regedit, andaccess the first option that pops up. Thereon, navigation is as follows.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\WindowsDefender

Once there, right-click Windows Defender (it’s a folder), choose New, then select DWORD (32-bit) Value.

Step 3

Type DisableAntiSpyware under Value Name, and hit Enter. Then, select the Value Data box and change the value to 1. Click OK and restart your PC.

Things to Know

RemovingWindows Defender disables native anti-virus protection on your computer. Butit’s OK as long as you’re using some third-party solution.

Tore-enable the Defender from Windows Registry, repeat the steps from theprevious section. Then, locate the DisableAntiSpywre key, and delete it fromthe system.

Asof May 2020, Windows Defender is known as Windows Defender Antivirus. However,the changes in the name do not affect the actions or required steps to disableit.

After a significant software update, the Defender might turn back on. If so, repeat the steps from above to turn it off.

Safety First

DisablingWindows Defender entirely takes more than a few steps indeed. Albeit a bittedious, this action requires very little advanced knowledge of the system.

Whydo you want to disable Windows Defender? Did you notice your PC is slower withthe anti-virus software running in the background? Tell us more about yourexperience in the comments section below.

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