Updated December 8, 2022.
So you want to turn off Microsoft Defender on your Windows 10 or Windows 11 PC? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with this guide.
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.
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 valuable option to many people. But before we jump into turning off the Defender, it’s important that we first make sure it’s really safe to do.
Here are a few reasons to turn off the Defender:
- If you’d like to install any third-party antivirus, say, Kaspersky or Avast, then keeping Microsoft 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.
- Microsoft Defender is infamous for blocking apps that it considers being 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.
- If you’re already using a professional antivirus, it doesn’t make sense to keep Microsoft Defender, as it may 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. Otherwise, it will be a recipe for disaster, leaving your PC vulnerable to outside threats.
Thankfully, for a popular operating system like Windows 10 or 11, 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 Microsoft Defender on 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. On Windows 11, you can do that effortlessly, so follow the steps below for that:
- To get started, go to the Start menu search bar, type in ‘windows security,’ and select the best match.
- Click on Virus & threat protection.
- From there, click on Manage settings under Virus & threat protection settings.
- Toggle off the switch under Real-time protection.
- Click on Yes on the prompt, and Microsoft Defender will be turned off for you.
How to turn off Microsoft Defender on Windows permanently
But if you’re looking for a one-time solution, then the above method might not cut it. For that, you will need to use the Registry Editor. The Registry Editor is a hierarchical database that records information like settings for software, user preferences, and even the configuration of your operating systems.
Interestingly, it can also be utilized for turning off Microsoft Defender permanently, by modifying the Windows Registry settings. 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 Microsoft Defender settings.
After you’ve disabled it, open the Registry Editor by pressing the 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:
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.
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 Microsoft (formerly Windows) Defender
And these were the top methods that you can implement for turning off Microsoft Defender on your PC. To reiterate what we’ve said above, Microsoft 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.