How to disable Windows Defender on Windows 10 (Temporarily and Permanently)

If you’re looking for a way to disable Windows Defender AntiVirus, we walk you through how to do it in this guide. There are options to turn it off temporarily and permanently, depending on your needs.

Windows Defender is a security software that helps protect your computer against pop-ups, slow performance, and security threats caused by spyware and other unwanted software.

In the event that you want to disable it, there are four ways presented below to doing so.

Please note that turning off Windows Defender without an alternative security software running will leave your PC open to possible security threats.

how to disable windows defender on Windows 10 / how to turn off windows defender
how to turn off windows defender

How to disable Windows Defender in Windows 10 Home

If you own a PC or laptop running Windows 10 Home, there is only one way to disable Windows Defender, and that is to install another antivirus. Once you install another antivirus softwarer, Defender is automatically disabled without you doing anything else. Apparently, Microsoft does not care what antivirus suite you use.

If you use another version of Windows 10, you will need to disable Windows Defender using one of the methods below.

How to disable Windows Defender using the Security Center app

Difficulty Level: Easy. Every PC user can do this comfortably. Keep in mind that disabling Windows Defender will open your computer to security threats..

If you are not a techie person, this is the easiest way to turn off Windows Defender. It is straightforward and direct. The following process only disables Windows Defender AntiVirus temporarily. The next time you restart your PC, Windows Defender will re-enable automatically.

How do I temporarily disable Windows Defender?

To proceed and disable Windows Defender temporarily, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Windows logo in the bottom-left corner of the screen. The Start menu will pop up.
  2. Click on the Gear icon to open your PC’s Security menu.
  3. Click Update & Security.
  4. Click on Windows Defender in the upper-left side of the window.
  5. Open Windows Defender Security Center.
  6. Click on Virus & threat protection.
  7. Click Virus & threat protection settings.
  8. Turn off the Real-time protection toggle switch.

That is it. Windows Defender is disabled temporarily. Note that it will be active once again the next time you restart your PC.

Windows 10 PC apps

How to disable Windows Defender using the Registry Editor

Difficulty Level: Fairly Difficult. This disables the software permanently but requires you having a knowledge of command line. Using the Registry Editor can harm or even brick your computer. You proceed with the steps below at your own risk. Preferably, make a backup of your PC at this point.

How do I permanently disable Windows Defender?

Here is how to disable disable Windows Defender permanently using the Registry Editor:

  1. Use the Windows key + R keyboard shortcut to open the Run command.
  2. Type regedit, and click OK to open the Registry.
  3. Browse the following path:HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows DefenderQuick Tip: You can now copy and paste the path in the new Registry’s address bar to quickly jump to the key destination.
  4. If you don’t see the DisableAntiSpyware DWORD, right-click the Windows Defender (folder) key, select New, and click on DWORD (32-bit) Value.
  5. Name the key DisableAntiSpyware and press Enter.
  6. Double-click the newly created DWORD and set the value from 0 to 1.
  7. Click OK.
  8. Restart your computer.

Windows Defender Antivirus is now disabled.

How to re-enable Windows Defender using the Registry Editor

If you ever want to re-enable the service at any time, follow these steps:

  • Go back to the Windows Defender folder in Registry Editor by following steps 1 to 4 above.
  • Click on the “Windows Defender” folder.
  • Open the “DisableAntiSpyware” value by double-clicking it.
  • Change the “Value data” from 1 to 0.
  • Click OK, then restart your computer.

 

Windows Defender logo

How to turn off Windows Defender using Local Group Policy

Difficulty Level: Fairly Difficult. This requires you having a knowledge of command line. Using the Registry Editor can harm or even brick your computer. You proceed with the steps below at your own risk. Preferably, make a backup of your PC at this point.

The following steps detail how to disable Windows Defender permanently for Windows 10 Pro, Enterprise, or Education users using the Local Group Policy Editor:

  1. Use the Windows key + R keyboard shortcut to open the Run command.
  2. Type gpedit.msc and click OK to open the Local Group Policy Editor.
  3. Browse the following path:Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Defender Antivirus
  4. On the right, double-click the Turn off Windows Defender Antivirus policy.
  5. Select the Enabled option to disable Windows Defender.
  6. Click Apply.
  7. Click OK.
  8. Restart your computer.

You have disabled Windows Defender Antivirus permanently.

How to re-enable Windows Defender using the Registry Editor

If you ever want to re-enable Defender at any time, follow these steps:

  • Go back to the Windows Defender folder in Registry Editor by following steps 1 to 4 above.
  • At step 5, select the Not Configured option.
  • Click OK.
  • Restart your computer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about Windows Defender.

Can you disable Windows Defender?

If you do not want to use Windows Defender, you do not have to. Fortunately, you can disable it easily.

Should I disable Windows Defender?

If you prefer to use another anti-virus software on your Windows PC, then you should disable Windows Defender. Note that if you disable it without installing and using another security software leaves your PC open to malware and other possible security breaches.

What happens if I disable Windows Defender?

Disabling Windows Defender leaves your PC at risk of security breaches. It is advisable that you install and run an alternative antivirus software if you want to disable Windows Defender.

Should I turn off Windows Defender if I have antivirus?

If you use Windows 10 Home and install another antivirus app, Windows Defender disables itself automatically. On other versions of Windows OS, you have to manually turn it off.

Is it possible to uninstall Windows Defender?

Unfortunately, you cannot uninstall Windows Defender from your Windows PC. You can only disable it, as already highlighted earlier in this article.

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3 comments

    1. @Kay_Smyles, You might need to disable it when you wish to test another antivirus. Windows Defender is free but not exactly the best out there.

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