How to Turn On or Off Microsoft Defender Antivirus in Windows 10  

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    How to Turn On or Off Microsoft Defender Antivirus in Windows 10

    How to Turn On or Off Microsoft Defender Antivirus in Windows 10

    Published by Category: Security System
    06 Jul 2020
    Designer Media Ltd

    How to Turn On or Off Microsoft Defender Antivirus in Windows 10


    Starting with Windows 10 version 2004, Windows Defender Antivirus as been renamed to Microsoft Defender Antivirus.

    Windows 10 includes Windows Security, which provides the latest antivirus protection. Your device will be actively protected from the moment you start Windows 10. Windows Security continually scans for malware (malicious software), viruses, and security threats. In addition to this real-time protection, updates are downloaded automatically to help keep your device safe and protect it from threats.

    Microsoft Defender Antivirus is the next-generation protection component of Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection (Microsoft Defender ATP). Next-generation protection brings together machine learning, big-data analysis, in-depth threat resistance research, and the Microsoft cloud infrastructure to protect devices in your enterprise organization. Next-generation protection services include the following:


    Microsoft Defender Antivirus helps protect your PC against malware (malicious software) like viruses, spyware, and other potentially unwanted software. Malware can infect your PC without your knowledge: it might install itself from an email message, when you connect to the Internet, or when you install certain apps using a USB flash drive, CD, DVD, or other removable media. Some malware can also be programmed to run at unexpected times, not only when it's installed.

    In Windows 10, you can turn off Microsoft Defender Antivirus real-time protection, but it will only be temporary. Windows will automatically turn real-time protection back on if it's off for a while.

    See also:

    This tutorial will show you how to completely turn on or off Microsoft Defender Antivirus for all users in Windows 10.

    You must be signed in as an administrator to be able to turn on or off Microsoft Defender Antivirus.


    When you install some 3rd party antivirus (AV) programs, they may automatically turn off Microsoft Defender Antivirus. In this case you may not be able to turn on Microsoft Defender Antivirus again until the 3rd party AV program has been disabled (turned off) or completely uninstalled.

    If you have a 3rd party AV program installed and disable Microsoft Defender Antivirus, this will also disable periodic scanning.

    If you have Windows 10 build 18305 or higher installed, you will need to turn off Tamper Protection to be able to disable Microsoft Defender Antivirus.



    Contents

    • Option One: To Turn On or Off Microsoft Defender Antivirus using Group Policy
    • Option Two: To Turn On or Off Microsoft Defender Antivirus using a REG file



    EXAMPLE: Microsoft Defender turned Off

    The Windows Security screenshots below are from the Virus & threat protection > Manage settings link under Virus & threat protection settings.


    How to Turn On or Off Microsoft Defender Antivirus in Windows 10-windows_defender_antivirus_disabled-1.jpg How to Turn On or Off Microsoft Defender Antivirus in Windows 10-microsoft_defender_antivirus_disabled_notification.png
    How to Turn On or Off Microsoft Defender Antivirus in Windows 10-windows_defender_antivirus_disabled-2.png How to Turn On or Off Microsoft Defender Antivirus in Windows 10-windows_defender_antivirus_disabled-3.png






    OPTION ONE

    To Turn On or Off Microsoft Defender Antivirus using Group Policy


    The Local Group Policy Editor is only available in the Windows 10 Pro, Enterprise, and Education editions.

    All editions can use Option Two below.


    1 If you are turning off Microsoft Defender Antivirus, then you will need to first turn off Windows Defender Antivirus Tamper Protection.

    2 Open the Local Group Policy Editor.

    3 In the left pane of Local Group Policy Editor, navigate to the location below depending on which version of Windows 10 you have installed. (see screenshot below)

    (Windows 10 version 1909 and lower)
    Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Windows Defender Antivirus

    OR

    (Windows 10 version 2004 and higher)
    Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Microsoft Defender Antivirus

    How to Turn On or Off Microsoft Defender Antivirus in Windows 10-windows_defender_gpedit-1.jpg

    4 In the right pane of Windows Defender Antivirus or Microsoft Defender Antivirus in Local Group Policy Editor, double click/tap on the Turn off Windows Defender Antivirus or Turn off Microsoft Defender Antivirus policy to edit it. (see screenshot above)

    5 Do step 5 (on) or step 6 (off) below for what you would like to do.


    6 To Turn On Microsoft Defender Antivirus

    A) Select (dot) Not Configured or Disabled, click/tap on OK, and go to step 7 below. (see screenshot below)

    Not Configured is the default setting.



    7 To Turn Off Microsoft Defender Antivirus

    A) Select (dot) Enabled, click/tap on OK, and go to step 7 below. (see screenshot below)

    How to Turn On or Off Microsoft Defender Antivirus in Windows 10-windows_defender_gpedit-2.png


    8 When finished, you can close the Local Group Policy Editor if you like.

    9 If you are turning on Microsoft Defender Antivirus, open Windows Security, click/tap on Restart now under Virus & threat protection, and click/tap on Turn on under Virus & threat protection to turn on Windows Defender Antivirus Tamper Protection. (screenshots below)

    How to Turn On or Off Microsoft Defender Antivirus in Windows 10-windows_defender_antivirus_restart_now.jpg How to Turn On or Off Microsoft Defender Antivirus in Windows 10-tamper_protection.png

    10 If you like, you may also want to hide or show the Windows Security notification icon.






    OPTION TWO

    To Turn On or Off Microsoft Defender Antivirus using a REG file


    The downloadable .reg files below will add and modify the DWORD value in the registry key below.

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender

    DisableAntiSpyware DWORD

    (delete) or 0 = On
    1 = Off


    1 If you are turning off Microsoft Defender Antivirus, then you will need to first turn off Microsoft Defender Antivirus Tamper Protection.

    2 Do step 3 (on) or step 4 (off) below for what you would like to do.


    3 To Turn On Microsoft Defender Antivirus

    This is the default setting.

    A) Click/tap on the Download button below to download the file below, and go to step 5 below.

    Turn_On_Windows_Defender_Antivirus.reg

    Download


    4 To Turn Off Microsoft Defender Antivirus

    A) Click/tap on the Download button below to download the file below, and go to step 5 below.

    Turn_Off_Windows_Defender_Antivirus.reg

    Download


    5 Save the .reg file to your desktop.

    6 Double click/tap on the downloaded .reg file to merge it.

    7 When prompted, click/tap on Run, Yes (UAC), Yes, and OK to approve the merge.

    8 If you are turning on Microsoft Defender Antivirus, open Windows Security, and click/tap on Turn on under Virus & threat protection to turn on Microsoft Defender Antivirus Tamper Protection. (see screenshot below)

    How to Turn On or Off Microsoft Defender Antivirus in Windows 10-tamper_protection.png

    9 If you like, you may also want to hide or show the Windows Security notification icon.

    10 If you like, you can now delete the downloaded .reg file.


    That's it,
    Shawn


    Related Tutorials



  1. robbie2745's Avatar
    Posts : 61
    Windows 10 Home
       #1

    Hi Shawn,
    I'm new here on 10 forums since the upgrade date but been on 8 forums for over a year. I am now using Win 10 and like it much. I tried the steps above to keep Win Defender on. but it's not working or not in the registry anywhere. What am I doing wrong or do I really need to do this step?
    Thanks!
    Robbie
      My Computer

  2. Brink's Avatar
    Posts : 49,780
    64-bit Windows 10 Pro for Workstations build 20161
    Thread Starter
       #2

    Hello Robbie, and welcome to Ten Forums.

    If you have any 3rd party AV program installed, that may often times disable Windows Defender. Do you know if you have one installed?
      My Computers

  3. robbie2745's Avatar
    Posts : 61
    Windows 10 Home
       #3

    Thanks for replying Shawn,
    I did have Norton Security on it but removed it after the 10 upgrade. I also used the Norton Removal Tool as well. Strictly using Windows Defender/Firewall now. I have notifications area set to show Defender in the lower right by the clock when logging in but it doesn't show after logging in unless I click on the Defender icon in the task bar to the right. Thanks for your help and explanations. -Robbie
      My Computer

  4. Brink's Avatar
    Posts : 49,780
    64-bit Windows 10 Pro for Workstations build 20161
    Thread Starter
       #4

    As long as you have Windows Defender turned on and real-time protection enabled, you're good to go. :)
      My Computers


  5. Posts : 3
    Windows 10
       #5

    Brink said:
    As long as you have Windows Defender turned on and real-time protection enabled, you're good to go. :)
    I also followed the steps ('Disabled' the Turn off Windows Defender) but it seems that Windows Defender doesn't seem to stay on. If I restart or turn on the laptop, the Windows Defender icon is no longer displayed on the system tray (I set this to always show) and I get a notification right above the system tray (coming from the bottom right side) within minutes after starting Windows that I need to turn on virus protection (or something similar as it shows for a split second with a sound alert) <- this also doesn't show up in Action Center and says no new notifications which annoys me as I want to see what exactly Windows wants.

    If I go to Update & Security -> Windows Defender -> it says Real-time protection is On but still nothing in the system tray. If I scroll down and click "Use Windows Defender" then it shows up in the system tray and stays there until the next restart. Is it really turned on if I get Windows notifications telling me to turn it on (or say I need virus protection)?
      My Computer

  6. Brink's Avatar
    Posts : 49,780
    64-bit Windows 10 Pro for Workstations build 20161
    Thread Starter
       #6

    The Windows Defender icon in the notification area is not a reliable method to tell if WD is running or not.

    Instead, if WD shows that it and real-time protection is turned on, then WD is running in the background. :)
      My Computers


  7. Posts : 3
    Windows 10
       #7

    Brink said:
    The Windows Defender icon in the notification area is not a reliable method to tell if WD is running or not.

    Instead, if WD shows that it and real-time protection is turned on, then WD is running in the background. :)
    Thanks for your help Brink, I was able to get a screen shot. I had the Windows Defender settings window open plus Security and Maintenance from Control Panel window open just before the notification showed up from the right side. It seems to suggest otherwise?

    How to Turn On or Off Microsoft Defender Antivirus in Windows 10-windows-defender.png

    EDIT: Just to be clear I caught this screenshot the 'moment' the bottom-right notification appeared. Once the notification disappears, it then refreshes Security and Maintenance and changes to saying Windows Defender is ON instead of OFF as shown. Sorry I didn't realize this sooner as I was looking for help quickly instead of being patient.
    Last edited by Initial D; 31 Jul 2015 at 14:22.
      My Computer

  8. Brink's Avatar
    Posts : 49,780
    64-bit Windows 10 Pro for Workstations build 20161
    Thread Starter
       #8

    Initial D,

    I was referring to that just because the WD icon doesn't show in the taskbar notification area, it doesn't mean that it's not running. That's all.

    Do you have a 3rd party AV program installed? If so, then you can click/tap on the "turn off messages about....." links to stop them.

    If you don't, what happens when you click on the "Turn on now" buttons?
      My Computers

  9. robbie2745's Avatar
    Posts : 61
    Windows 10 Home
       #9

    Thanks Shawn,
    I just came back online and noticed that another post was made. Initial D's post (#5) is exactly what was going through. However, I just checked my Control Panel>Security and Maintenance (post #7) and it all shows everything is OK/On as it should be. Other than that thanks for the help and info. You among others do a great job here on the forums and I keep forgetting to hit that 'reputation' button! Have a great weekend! :)
      My Computer


 

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