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

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

Turn off the Windows Defender following the below steps:

  1. Go to Start menu search bar, type in 'windows security,' and select the Best match.
  2. Select Virus & threat > Manage settings.
  3. Toggle off the switch under Real-time protection
  4. Click on Yes on the prompt, and the Microsoft Defender will be turned off for you.

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

Fundamentally, there are two ways to go about disabling the Microsoft Defender on your PC; you can either do it temporarily or permanently— and we’ve covered both of these methods here.

Let’s get going then.

Why turn off Microsoft Defender?

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

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

Here are a few reasons to turn off the Defender:

  1. If you'd like to install any third-party antivirus, say, Kaspersky or Avast, then keeping Windows Defender turned on will not work in your favor. Often, the antivirus will itself send you a pop-up, asking you to turn off Defender, failing which you won't get any normal functionality from the new software.
  2. Microsoft Defender is infamous for blocking apps that it considers to be unsafe; turning off the Defender can help in such cases. If you absolutely need to run an app that Defender has issues with, and you're sure it's safe, you may want to turn off Defender.
  3. If you're already using a professional antivirus, it doesn't make sense to keep Microsoft Defender along, as it will only cause unnecessary bugs and frivolously eat up your PC resources.

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

Before you go ahead and disable the app, however, it's essential to remember that you must install an alternate antivirus beforehand. Doing otherwise will only be a recipe for disaster, leaving your PC vulnerable to outside threats.

Thankfully, for a popular operating system like Windows, there's no dearth of antivirus solutions, be it Kaspersky, AVG, Norton, etc. Pick an antivirus, install it, and only then you should be thinking anything remotely like turning off the Defender.

How to disable Windows Defender in Windows 10 or Windows 11

Although you can turn off the Defender 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 that effortlessly, so follow the steps below for that:

  1. To get started, go to the Start menu search bar, type in ‘windows security,’ and select the Best match.
  2. Click on Virus & threat protection.
  3. From there, click on Manage settings under Virus & threat protection settings.
  4. Toggle off the switch under Real-time protection.
  5. Click on Yes on the prompt, and the Microsoft Defender will be turned off for you.

virus and threat protection

virus and threat protection settings

turning off the real time protection

This will turn off the Windows Defender from your PC for a set period of time.

How to turn off Windows Defender permanently

But if you’re looking for a one-time solution, then the above method might not cut it. For that, you need 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 configuration of your operating systems.

Interestingly, it can also be utilized for turning off the Windows Defender permanently, by modifying the registry settings associated with Defender. Here’s how:

Firstly, we have to disable the ‘Tamper Protection’ from the Security protection app, which is a feature in Microsoft Defender that prevents users or malware from tweaking your Windows Defender settings.

After you’ve disabled it, open the Registry Editor by pressing Windows key + R to open the Run dialog box, type in ‘regedit.msc’, and hit Enter.

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

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender

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

If there’s no DWORD file in your case, then right-click on the ‘Windows Defender’ folder on the left navigational panel, select ‘New’ and then click on ‘DWORD (32-bit) Value’.

editing windows registry


From there, rename the new entry to ‘DisableAntiSpyware’.

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

To enable the protection, just delete the  ‘DisableAntiSpyware’ registry key, or set the Value data back to 0 again.

All about turning off Windows Defender

And these were top methods that you can implement for turning off the Windows Defender on your PC. To reiterate what we've said above, the Windows Defender is a useful tool that helps you keep off intrusive malware, but sometimes it can make your accessibility a little limited. In those cases, disabling the Defender might probably be the best solution for you.


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