How to Disable or Enable Microsoft Defender in Windows 10 – For quite some time, Microsoft has included Windows Defender (rebranded as Windows Security) on Windows PCs. Since its inception, the software has evolved to become the go-to solution for basic virus protection on Windows machines. Users with low-end hardware, on the other hand, may find that Windows Defender consumes a significant portion of their system resources. Here’s how to disable Windows Defender in Windows 10, whether you’re trying to reduce system workload, speed up Windows 10, or simply want to get rid of Microsoft’s security solution.

What exactly is Windows Defender?

Windows Defender (now known as Microsoft Defender Antivirus) is an anti-malware software that is always on and protects your computer from external threats. Microsoft created the antivirus to protect computers running the Windows 10 operating system from virus threats.

This antivirus program comes preinstalled on all versions of Windows 10. Windows Defender protects your computer in real-time against viruses, ransomware, rootkits, trojans, spyware, and other malicious attacks. The program is free to use, and Microsoft updates Windows 10 regularly.

Why would you disable Microsoft Defender?

Windows Defender, now known as Microsoft Defender, is a built-in antivirus program that protects your computer from malware attacks. However, as good as the security program is, the app is not without flaws.

In light of this, many people believe that disabling Microsoft Defender is a good idea. But, before we proceed with turning off the Defender, we must first determine whether it is truly safe for you to do so.

Here are a few reasons why you should disable the Defender:

  1. If you want to install a third-party antivirus, such as Kaspersky or Avast, keeping Windows Defender turned on will not help you. Often, the antivirus will send you a pop-up asking you to turn off Defender, failing which you will not be able to use the new software normally.
  2. Microsoft Defender is notorious for blocking apps that it deems unsafe; in such cases, turning off the Defender can help. If you need to run an app that Defender has issues with and you’re confident it’s safe, you should disable Defender.
  3. If you already have a professional antivirus, it makes no sense to keep Microsoft Defender running because it will cause unnecessary bugs and eat up your PC’s resources.

So, for the reasons stated above, disabling Defender is a viable option.

How to disable Windows Defender in Windows 10

Although you can disable the Defender permanently, in some cases you may just want to give it a shot and see how it goes. That is very easy to do in Windows 11, so follow the steps below:

  1. To begin, go to the Start menu search bar, type ‘windows security,’ and then click the Best match button.
  2. Select Virus & threat protection.
  3. Then, under Virus & threat protection settings, click on Manage settings.
  4. Toggle the Real-time protection switch off.
  5. If you answer Yes to the prompt, Microsoft Defender will be turned off for you.
How to Disable or Enable Microsoft Defender in Windows 10
How to turn off Windows Defender permanently

If you’re looking for a one-time fix, the above method might not suffice. You will need to use the Registry Editor for this. The Registry Editor, another free tool from Microsoft, is a hierarchical database that keeps track of all your operating system’s low-level settings. It saves information and settings for software, user preferences, and even operating system configuration.

Interestingly, it can also be used to permanently disable Windows Defender by modifying the registry settings associated with Defender. Here’s how it works:

How to Disable or Enable Microsoft Defender in Windows 10

1.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 Windows Defender settings.

2.After you’ve disabled it, open the Registry Editor by pressing Windows key + R to open the Run dialog box, type in ‘regedit.msc’, and hit Enter.

3.When the Registry Editor is launched, enter the following path in the address bar and hit Enter:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender

4.Start the ‘DisableAntiSpyware’ file, change the Value data to 1, and press Enter.

5.If there is no DWORD file in your case, right-click on the ‘Windows Defender’ folder on the left navigational panel, choose ‘New,’ and then select ‘DWORD (32-bit) Value.’

6.Then, rename the new entry ‘DisableAntiSpyware.’

7.Now, as before, open the newly created entry and set its value to 1. This will turn off Windows Defender. All that remains is to restart the computer to apply the changes.

Re-enable Microsoft Defender on Your Windows 10 PC

  1. Navigate to the Start menu search bar, type ‘windows security,’ and then click the Best match button.
  2. Select Virus & threat protection.
  3. Then, under Virus & threat protection settings, click on Manage settings.
  4. Toggle the Real-time protection switch on.
  5. Now, your Microsoft Defender will be enabled.

So that’s how you can permanently uninstall Windows Defender from Windows 10. We do not recommend disabling Windows Defender unless you have a backup antivirus or malware removal tool for Windows 10. If you don’t already have one, you can look through our linked guide to find one that meets your needs. While you’re at it, you might want to think about debloating Windows 10 to improve performance.