Windows Defender is an integrated antivirus tool that comes preinstalled in Microsoft Windows 10 and 8 (and 8.1 as well). It is activated by default and operates until you install and third-party antivirus or antimalware program (however, today not all antiviruses automatically disable Windows Defender upon installation). Windows Defender is not a bad tool to start with as it can protect your system from known viruses, Trojans, worms, and other malware. In case, you want to install another antivirus instead, you should know how to disable Windows Defender.

There are several methods to turn off Windows Defender in Windows 10 and Windows 8.1, and there are ways to activate it when it is needed. For example, when your integrated antivirus blocks the installation of new software or video games mistaking them for malware.

Turn off Windows Defender easily

Disable Windows Defender permanently via local group policy editor

This method will work only for Windows 10 Pro and Windows 10 Enterprise. If you are using Windows 10 Home Edition, then skip it to the next section of this article to learn how to turn off Windows Defender using the registry.

  • Press Win+R on your keyboard and write msc in the window that will appear.
  • It will open the menu of Local Group Policy Editor where you need to open «Computer Configuration» - «Administrative Templates» - «Windows Components» - «Windows Defender.»
Disable Windows Defender permanently via local group policy editor
  • Double-click on «Turn off Windows Defender» and set it to the «Enabled» state (it will disable the program).
Turn off Windows Defender
  • Do the same procedure for «Allow antimalware service to startup with normal priority» and «Allow antimalware service to remain running always.»
  • Go to the section called «Real-time protection,» double-click on the parameter «Turn off real-time protection» and set it to «Enabled.»
  • Open the settings «Scan all downloaded files and attachments» and set it to «Disabled.»
  • Go back to the Windows Defender menu and select the section named «MAPS.» There you will have to disable all settings except «Send file samples when further analysis is required.»
  • The «Send file samples when further analysis is required» should be set to «Enabled.» Plus, in the options box below (in the same window) you need to select «Never send.»
The «Send file samples when further analysis is required» should be set to «Enabled.»

After completing these steps, your Windows Defender will be permanently disabled and won’t be affecting any software on your computer. Moreover, it will never send file sample to Microsoft even after marking them as potentially unsafe.

How to disable Windows Defender Windows 10 using the Registry

Settings we changed in the local group policy editor in the previous paragraph of the article can also be altered in the Registry. The result will be the same, but you will have to perform other actions. Here is how to do this (note: if you are missing some directories mentioned here, you can create them by right-clicking the folder icon, which is going to be one level higher, and selecting the option you need in the context menu):

  • Press Win+R, type regedit in the window that will appear, press Enter.
  • Now, when you are in the Registry Editor, go to the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ SOFTWARE\ Policies\ Microsoft\ Windows Defender.
  • Right-click on the right side and select «New» - DWORD (32-bit) Value (even if you are running 64-bit version of Windows). Set its name to DisableAntiSpyware.
How to disable Windows Defender Windows 10 using the Registry
  • After doing so, double-click it and set its value data to 1.
  • In the same directory, you also need to create two additional entries AllowFastServiceStartup and ServiceKeepAlive. Their value data must be 0 (zero is the default value).
  • In the Windows Defender section select a subsection called Real-Time Protection (if it is missing, just create it). In that subsection, you will need to create two new entries named DisableIOAVProtection and DisableRealtimeMonitoring.
Create two additional entries AllowFastServiceStartup and ServiceKeepAlive
  • Double-click them after creating and set their value data to 1.
  • In the Windows Defender section create a new subsection Spynet and fill it with DWORD32 parameters: DisableBlockAtFirstSeen (value data 1), LocalSettingOverrideSpynetReporting  (value data 0), and SubmitSamplesConsent (value data 2). Doing so will disable cloud analysis and prevent blocking of unknown software.
LocalSettingOverrideSpynetReporting

Now you can close the Registry Editor knowing that the integrated antivirus is completely disabled.

Quickly disable Windows Defender in Windows and Windows 8.1

If you just need to turn off Windows Defender for a period without permanently disabling it, you can do it rather quickly. The actions you need to perform are a bit different in Windows 10 and Windows 8.1, so we will break them down individually here. However, you need to follow the same steps at the beginning of the procedure.

Go to the control panel: the easiest way to get there is to right-click on the Start button and select the menu you need. To find Windows Defender, switch the «View by» parameter to «Large Icons» and scroll the page down. A new window with Windows Defender settings will appear. If you are seeing a notification that says «PC status: Windows Defender is OFF,» it means that you have another antivirus program on your PC that operates instead of the integrated solution. Depending on what version of Windows you have, you will need to perform the following actions.

Quickly disable Windows Defender in Windows and Windows 8.1

Windows 10

The standard method to turn Windows 10 Defender off:

  • Press the Start button, go to Settings (gear icon), select the Update & Security menu, click on Windows Defender.
The standard method to turn Windows 10 Defender off
  • Disable real-time protection.

This will disable the protection of your computer for a limited period, approximately after 15 minutes, it will be restored automatically. If this method does not meet your needs, then you can turn off Windows Defender permanently using the Registry Editor or changing local group policy settings. Windows 10 Home users should remember that they cannot use the local group policy editor, which leaves them with just one option.

In order to disable Windows Defender using local group policy editor follow these simple steps:

  • Press Win+R and type msc in the window that will appear. Press OK or hit Enter.
  • Go to «Computer Configuration» - «Administrative Templates» - «Windows Components» - «Windows Defender.»
Disable Windows Defende
  • On the right side of the Windows Defender menu click on the line «Turn off Windows Defender.»
  • Set «Turn off Windows Defender» to Disabled.

Doing so allows you to disable Windows 10 Defender. It will be completely dead, and you will receive a notification when you will try to run it next time. Another alternative to this method is to alter some settings in the Registry Editor:

  • Open the Registry Editor by pressing Win+R and typing regedit.
  • Find a directory that has address HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ SOFTWARE\ Policies\ Microsoft\ Windows Defender.
  • Create a new DWORD parameter and name it DisableAntiSpyware (in case it is already there, just check its value data – see next step).
  • Open the newly created or existing DisableAntiSpyware parameter and set its value data to 1 (or if you want to activate it, change its value data to 0).
DisableAntiSpyware

It is done. From now on the integrated Microsoft’s antivirus won’t be disturbing you for no reason. The only exception – you might receive notifications from time to time saying that Windows Defender is disabled. The Windows Defender icon still will be visible in the tray until you reboot your computer. Those notifications can be disabled by clicking on one of them and selecting the appropriate settings.

Windows 8.1

In Windows 8.1 it is much easier to deactivate Windows Defender (in comparison with the previous method). All you have to do is just:

  • Go to Control Panel and find Windows Defender there.
  • Open the tab «Settings» and select the menu called «Administrator.» Turn off Windows Defender.
  • Save settings and close the window.

Immediately after saving settings, you will see a notification that will inform about disabled Windows Defender and that it is no longer monitors your system.

Disable Windows Defender from the command line or PowerShell

There is another way to turn off Windows 10 Defender (however, it allows disabling the program for a period, not permanently). This method involves using PowerShell. Run Windows PowerShell as administrator (you can do that by clicking Start button and finding PowerShell in the list of apps). If you are using Windows 8.1, Windows PowerShell can be found in the Windows System folder. In the PowerShell window that will appear you need to type a command:

Set-MpPreference -DisableRealtimeMonitoring $true

Disable Windows Defender from the command line or PowerShell

Real-time protection will be disabled right after you complete the trick.

How to activate Windows Defender when you need it?

When you open your control panel and select the Windows Defender menu, you may see a message that states that Windows Defender is not active and is not monitoring your computer. This happens in two situations:

  • Windows Defender is not active because you already have another antivirus on your computer. In this case, you don’t have to do anything – right after you uninstall the third-party antivirus, your Windows Defender protection will be activated automatically.
  • You have turned off Windows Defender earlier, possibly due to the fact it was blocking too much or preventing installation of other software. Now you can easily turn the service on.

In Windows 10, you can just click on the notification about the disabled program. From there the system will do the rest (if you didn’t use the Registry Editor or local group policy editor, of course). If you did, however, you will need to revert the changes).

How to activate Windows Defender when you need it?

For the Windows 8.1 Defender, you need to open your Action Center (by right-clicking the flag icon in the tray). You will probably see two important messages there that will ask you whether you want to «Turn on spyware protection» and «Turn on virus protection.» Another way to open Action Center is to go to the Control Panel and click on the System and Security menu. Once you are there, just click «Turn on now» and Windows Defender will be active again.