Windows 10 uses Windows Defender built-in as the default antivirus software if you don’t have third-party anti-virus software installed like McAfee Free Antivirus and Avast Antivirus for Windows 10.
Windows Defender turns off automatically when you install a third-party antivirus program. However, when Windows Defender is the default antivirus program, Windows 10 doesn’t let you turn off Windows Defender for obvious security reasons.
In short, Windows 10 doesn’t allow you to remove or disable the Windows Defender program easily.
There is a setting in the Windows Defender section of the Settings app to Turn off Windows Defender real-time protection. Still, the start is that Windows Defender will automatically activate itself after a short time if it doesn’t detect the programs. Another antivirus program on your Windows 10 computer.
Suppose you want to run Windows 10 by disabling Windows Defender and not installing a third-party antivirus program. In that case, you can use Group Policy or Windows Registry to disable the Windows Defender program in Windows 10.
Complete the instructions below to disable Windows Defender in Windows 10.
Note: We have not tried this method on Windows 10 Home edition and cannot tell if it works on Home edition. The method works on Windows 10 Pro.
Method 1: Turn off Windows Defender Antivirus with Windows Security
Before modifying your system configuration, if you are looking to perform a specific task, you do not need to permanently turn off Windows Defender Antivirus.
To turn off security temporarily on your device, use the following steps:
Step 1. Open Start.
Step 2. Search for Windows Security and click on the top result to open the experience.
Step 3. Click Virus & threat protection.
Step 4. In the “Virus & threat protection settings” section, click the Manage settings option.
Step 5. Turn off the ” Real-time protection ” toggle switch.
When you complete these steps, the antivirus disables real-time protection that allows you to install an application or perform a specific task that was previously impossible because of security.
If you want to re-enable real-time protection, restart your computer or use the same instructions, but in step # 5 make sure the setting is turned on.
While this is not a permanent solution, it is the best option for disabling the Windows 10 antivirus program to perform specific tasks.
Method 2: Enable / Disable Windows Defender with Group Policy
This method applies to the Pro edition of Windows 10. If you are using Home edition, please refer to the instructions in Method 2.
Step 1: Open Start, type gpedit.msc in the search box.
Then press Enter to open Local Group Policy Editor. If you see the User Account Control prompt, please click the Yes button to continue.
Step 2: In the Group Policy Editor, navigate to:
Computer Configuration> Administrative Templates> Windows Components> Windows Defender Antivirus.
Step 3: On the right side, look for the policy called Turn off Windows Defender Antivirus. Double-click Turn off Windows Defender Antivirus to open its properties.
Step 5: Select Enabled and then click the Apply button.
Method 3: Enable / Disable Windows Defender Antivirus by Registry
Important: We recommend that you create a system restore point before manually editing the Registry.
Step 1: Open Registry Editor by typing Regedit.exe in the Start or taskbar search box and pressing the Enter key.
If and when you see the User Account Control prompt, click the Yes button to start Registry Editor.
Step 2: Navigate to the following key in Registry Editor:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE SOFTWARE Policies Microsoft Windows Defender
Step 3: On the right side, right-click on an empty area, click New, click on DWORD (32-bit) Value, and name it DisableAntiSpyware.
Step 4: Double click on DisableAntiSpyware and change its value data to 1 to Disable Windows Defender.
Restore the value data to “ 0 ” to re-enable Windows Defender.