How to Disable Microsoft Windows Defender and Whether You Should

Microsoft’s in-house anti-malware component, Windows Defender (formerly Microsoft Security Essentials), has come a long way. There was a time when people laughed at it, security experts paid little attention to it, and users cursed it. Everyone loves Windows Defender now. But if you still want to disable Microsoft Defender in Windows 10, we will show you how.

With the Windows 10 November Update, Microsoft has added Windows Defender Antivirus to Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection for enhanced built-in security in Windows 10 and later. However, the bigger question is, why would you want to turn off Windows Defender on a Windows 10 computer? Should you really do it?

Let’s start.

1. Turn off Windows Defender in Windows 10

You don’t need to disable Windows Defender completely just because you want to install an app or make some system changes. You can simply disable the real-time protection component in Windows Defender and continue with the task at hand. Press Windows key+I to open Settings and search for Virus & threat protection.

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Under Virus & threat protection settings, click Manage settings.

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You can now turn off real-time protection here.

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That way, you don’t have to completely disable and uninstall Windows Defender. If you still want to do it, keep reading.

2. Run Windows Defender with Antivirus

Microsoft showed a lot of character when it updated Windows Defender to work with other antivirus apps. This was not possible in previous versions of Windows, but is possible with Windows 10.

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Kaspersky is running on my computer, but my Windows Defender is also on. Only real-time protection does not work. This allows me to run periodic scans with Windows Defender and still use another antivirus app. I take the best of both worlds.

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3. Disable Windows Defender in Windows 10 with Group Policy Editor

If you’ve made up your mind and found a suitable replacement antivirus to protect your computer, let’s do it.

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Windows 10 Pro comes with Group Policy Editor which we will use to disable Windows Defender. But first you need to disable Tamper Protection. Windows Home users should proceed to the next point.

Go to Settings > Virus & threat protection > Manage settings and scroll a little to find the Tamper Protection option. Close.

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Call Group Policy Editor Open it in Windows Search and open it.

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Go to the detail of the path below.

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

Double-click on Turn off Windows Defender Antivirus folder in the far left pane to open it.

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Click on Enabled, hit Apply and OK to disable Windows Defender. Yes, enable and do not disable. This is because the file name clearly states Turn Off Windows Defender Antivirus.

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You may still see the Shield icon in the Taskbar, but that doesn’t mean Windows Defender is enabled. The same icon also represents the Windows Security application.

4. Disable Windows Defender with Registry Editor in Windows 10

This is for Windows Home users whose systems do not have GPE. Every Windows version comes with a Registry Editor. Search for the same in the start menu and open it.

How To Disable Windows Defender, But You Should

Disable Tamper Protection. See point 3 above for how to do it. Navigate to the registry path below. You can also copy and paste into the address field and hit Enter.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender

Right-click the Windows Defender folder in the left sidebar and select the DWORD (32-bit) value to create a new entry. Name it DisableAntiSpyware.

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Double click the newly created DWORD file and change the Hexadecimal Value data from 0 to 1.

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Save everything and restart your computer to complete the process.

Should You Disable Windows Defender?

Yes and no. This isn’t much of an answer, but let me explain.

Why Use Windows Defender?

Windows Defender has turned into a solid antivirus application. It not only protects you from viruses, but also from zero-day and ransomware attacks.

It will not allow critical changes to your system files and will help recover data if the ransomware attack is successful. As mentioned earlier, Defender now offers real-time protection and runs in the background, it’s pretty fast and works well with third-party antivirus apps. This brings me to the next point.

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Malware. That’s a whole different story, and you need Malwarebytes to fight malware no matter what antivirus you use. I recommend a combination of Defender and Malwarebytes (paid version) to provide the best possible protection on your Windows 10 computer.

Why Not Use Windows Defender?

Some advanced antivirus apps like Kaspersky come with additional features that are missing from traditional antivirus apps like Defender. Kaspersky comes with a VPN (at additional cost) to help protect you further by masking your identity and encrypting your internet connection.

It also offers a password manager to store important passwords. However, third-party password managers are far superior and more recommended. Then there are parental controls if you have kids at home. This will help protect your children from adult content such as porn, violence, abuse and much more.


Here is my idea. The AV Test gave Windows Defender full marks for protection and usability, but only slightly lower for performance. Windows Defender performs on par with some of the best antivirus apps on the market. It receives a 100% rating in December 2019, slightly better than the industry average.

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Whichever antivirus you use, you still need Malwarebytes. Paying for two makes no sense when Windows Defender is free. Even with antivirus products like Kaspersky, they already cost extra, considering additional features like password manager and VPN. I recommend Dashlane, which offers both for one price.

defend the innocent

You can turn off or disable Windows Defender, but you shouldn’t. Here is the short version for those who browse the article. Use Defender with Malwarebytes and you’re good. You need additional features, there are dedicated apps that are way better than the ones that come with the best antivirus apps.

Windows Defender has turned into a tough competitor, and the results show it’s getting better and better.

Next: Windows Defender Antivirus has arrived to replace Microsoft Security Essentials. However, it is more than a replacement and you should read the next post completely to find out why Windows Defender is important.

Moyens Staff
Moyens I/O Staff has motivated you, giving you tips on technology, personal development, lifestyle and strategies that will help you.