How to turn off Microsoft Defender in Windows 10 or Windows 11

So you want to turn off Microsoft Defender on your PC? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

Basically there are two ways to turn off Microsoft Defender on your PC; you can do this temporarily or permanently – and we’ve covered both of these methods here.

Let’s go then.

Why turn off Microsoft Defender?

Windows Defender, now renamed Microsoft Defender, is a built-in antivirus program designed to protect your PC against malware attacks. But as good as the security program is, the app is not without its drawbacks.

In light of this, disabling Microsoft Defender seems like a useful option for many people. But before we start turning off the Defender right away, it’s important that we first make sure if it’s really safe for you to do so.

Here are some reasons to turn off the Defender:

  1. If you want to install a third-party antivirus, for example Kaspersky or Avast, keeping Windows Defender on won’t work in your favor. Often times, the antivirus itself will send you a pop-up asking you to turn off Defender, otherwise you won’t get any normal functionality from the new software.
  2. Microsoft Defender is infamous for blocking applications it considers dangerous; turning off the Defender may help in such cases. If you absolutely must run an app that Defender is having issues with and you’re sure it’s safe, you can turn Defender off.
  3. If you are already using a professional antivirus, it does not make sense to keep Microsoft Defender, as it will only cause unnecessary bugs and frivolously consume your PC’s resources.

So those are some of the reasons above that make disabling Defender a useful proposition.

Before you go ahead and deactivate the app, however, it’s essential to remember that you need to install an alternative antivirus first. To do otherwise will only be a recipe for disaster, leaving your PC vulnerable to external threats.

Fortunately, for a popular operating system like Windows there is no shortage of antivirus solutions, be it Kaspersky, AVG, Norton, etc. Pick an antivirus, install it, and only then should you be thinking of something remotely, like turning off the Defender.

How to turn off Windows Defender in Windows 10 or Windows 11

While you can turn the Defender off permanently, in some cases you might just want to try it out for a while and see how it goes. In Windows 11, you can do this effortlessly, so follow the steps below for it:

  1. To get started, go to The Start menu search bar, type “windows security” and select the best match.
  2. Click on Protection against viruses and threats.
  3. From there click on Manage settings below Protection against viruses and threats settings.
  4. Turn off the switch under Real time protection.
  5. Click on Yes when prompted, and Microsoft Defender will be disabled for you.

Virus and Threat Protection Settings

Disable real-time protection

This will shut down Windows Defender from your PC for a set period of time.

How to permanently disable Windows Defender

But if you are looking for a one-size-fits-all solution, the above method might not be enough. For this you have to use the registry editor. Another free tool from Microsoft, the Registry Editor is a hierarchical database that keeps a record of all your low-level settings for your operating system. It records information and settings for software, user preferences, and even the configuration of your operating systems.

Interestingly, it can also be used to permanently disable Windows Defender, by changing the registry settings associated with Defender. Here’s how:

First, we need to turn off the Security Guard app’s “Tamper Protection” which is a feature of Microsoft Defender that prevents users or malware from changing your Windows Defender settings.

After disabling it, open Registry Editor by pressing Windows key + R to open the To run dialog box, type ‘regedit.msc’ and press Enter.

When Registry Editor is launched, enter the following path in the address bar and press Enter:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREPoliciesMicrosoftWindows Defender

Launch the ‘DisableAntiSpyware’ file, set it Value data to 1 and press Enter.

If there is no DWORD file in your case, right click on the “Windows Defender” folder in the left navigation pane, select “New” and then click on “DWORD Value (32 bit) “.

Editing the Windows Registry

From there, rename the new entry to “DisableAntiSpyware”.

Now open the newly created entry to set its value to 1 as shown above. This will disable your Windows Defender. To finalize the changes, all you need to do is do a quick restart.

To enable protection, simply delete the “DisableAntiSpyware” registry key or reset the data value to 0.

Everything about disabling Windows Defender

And these are the best methods that you can implement to turn off Windows Defender on your PC. To reiterate what we said above, Windows Defender is a useful tool that helps you avoid intrusive malware, but it can sometimes make your accessibility a bit limited. In these cases, disabling Defender could possibly be the best solution for you.

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Steven L. Nielsen