How to Permanently Disable Windows Defender in Windows 10

When using Windows 10 you’ll notice that it comes with its own antivirus called Windows Defender. It comes as part of Windows itself and runs automatically without you needing to intervene too much. For some, however, Windows Defender is more of a hassle than a help. As such, they’ll want to disable Windows Defender in peace.

As you’ll discover in this article, disabling Windows Defender in Windows 10 isn’t as easy as it should be. Regardless, making sure Defender goes down and stays down isn’t very tricky at all.

It may seem a little confusing that turning off Windows Defender permanently is trickier than it should be. After all, there’s an option within Windows 10 to disable Defender. You can access it by going to “Settings, Update & Security,” then Windows Defender.

defender-permanent-disable-option

However, if you read the description of the setting, you’ll spot the problem. Windows Defender will only stay inactive for a short period of time. When it detects that it’s been off for too long, it will automatically turn itself back on again. This means if you want Windows Defender to stay disabled, you’ll have to keep toggling this option off every time Windows resets it. What a hassle!

Fortunately, there is a way to make it so Windows Defender doesn’t re-enable itself. It’s not very obvious as to how to do it, but once you learn the basics, you’ll be able to turn it on and off without much issue. Just make sure you do not browse the Web without a functioning antivirus active! Make sure you have something installed beforehand to make up for Windows Defender being turned off.

There are two ways you can disable Windows Defender. The first is via the registry, and the second is through the Local Group Policy window. Typically, the Local Group Policy way is a little easier to perform, but you can only use it on Pro, Enterprise, and Education editions of Window 10.

If you don’t use any of the above editions, or you’re not sure which one you’re using, don’t worry! All versions of Windows 10 can turn off Windows Defender using the registry method. Just follow the steps below, and you should have your problem fixed in no time.

First, open the Run command by pressing the “Windows Key + R.” In the box that appears type regedit and click OK.

defender-permanent-disable-run-registry

Note: do make a backup of your registry before you make any changes.

The system registry will open up. On the left navigate to the following folder: “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE -> SOFTWARE -> Policies -> Microsoft -> Windows Defender.” You may see a folder after Windows Defender called “Policy Manager.” Don’t click on that folder; instead, keep the Windows Defender one highlighted like the following image.

defender-permanent-disable-folder

On the right side of the window you might see a file called “DisableAntiSpyware.” If you do, that’s great! If not, we’re going to have to make our own. To do this, right-click the in empty space on the right side of the window, go to “New,” then “DWORD (32-bit) Value.”

defender-permanent-disable-dword

Windows will create an untitled DWORD file which isn’t much use to us as is. Right-click the file and click Rename, then call it “DisableAntiSpyware.” Make sure you enter the name perfectly!

Right-click the “DisableAntiSpyware” file and click “Modify…”

defender-permanent-disable-modify

To enable the policy that disables Windows Defender, set the value data to “1” and click OK. This tells the computer that the policy that was just created should be enabled, and Windows will disable Defender for you. If you ever want to bring Windows Defender back, just come back to this file and change the value to “0.” This disables the policy and allows Windows Defender to work again.

defender-permanent-disable-set

The next time you try to load Windows Defender, you’ll see the following error message saying it’s been turned off.

defender-permanent-disable-confirmation

To start, press the “Windows key + R” to load the Run box, then type gpedit.msc into the box and press OK.

defender-permanent-disable-run-group

If you attempt to run it in a different edition such as Home, you’ll get the following error

defender-permanent-disable-error

This means you cannot use this method to disable Windows Defender. In this case you’ll want to use the registry method above instead which works for every edition.

When the Local Group Policy window loads, check under the “Computer Configuration” section for the “Administrative Templates” folder. Open it, then open “Windows Components -> Windows Defender.” On the right you should see a file called “Turn off Windows Defender.”

defender-permanent-disable-policy

Double-click it and click “Enabled” on the left. This then turns on the “Turn off Windows Defender” policy which disables Windows Defender. If you change your mind in the future, you can come back here and select “Disabled” instead.

defender-permanent-disable-enable

For some, Windows Defender can be more of a hindrance than a help. Even worse, the version that comes with Windows 10 can’t be permanently disabled. By following one of the two methods above you can enjoy your computer without having to constantly keep disabling Windows Defender.

Do you use Windows Defender as your main antivirus? Or do you opt for something else? Let us know below in the comments.

8 comments

  1. The question is (4me was): Do I really want that and why?
    IMHO I do not rate the usefulness and effectiveness of AV-Scanners (a.k.a ICanOnlyFindWhatIKnow) very high.
    What I do know is that they really dig deep in the OS, eat up considerable amounts of resource, turn off some security features like ASLR, create MIT-like constructs to deep inspect mails and browser traffic etc. Otherwise they wouldn’t be able to do what they claim to.
    Just from the initial situation it’s AV-software vs the operating system.

    Defender might not be the best AV software, but MS does know much more about Windows than all AV-vendors together.
    Furthermore I do rate an intact (-> not patched by 3rd party) OS, most recent updates and second opinion AV (–> McAfee Stinger, Malwarebytes, Spybot S&D, etc.) much more secure and effective than a 3rd-party AV prog

    regards
    torsten

    *** no backup – no pity ***

  2. Thanks very helpful for someone who has a hard time. Now tell me why my windows 10 on dell fairly new and canon printer cannot connect wfi with each other.
    Thank u

  3. I use Norton or McAfee instead of Windows Defender. I assume these normally paid apps are a little better than a freebie provided by Microsoft (which is still better than nothing, and perhaps less intrusive than other free anti-virus programs like AVG).

    Since I assume these paid apps to be better, according to PC World and others, I’d rather use them.

    Another reason is that my Internet provider (Spectrum) provides a FREE McAfee Security Suite, so if a better anti-virus, anti-malware program is available FREE, why not use them? Turns out my neighbor who is on AT&T U-verse can get a similar FREE McAfee suite.

    In the past I always used Norton, at least in the last few years when they stopped being bloatware, but if I can get McAfee free, then that is the path I am taking.

  4. Hi,

    All worked fine when I disabled Windows Defender in W-10.
    However after the W-10 fall update the world changed, exploit protection has been added.
    Now this part of the Defender stays alive and prevent some programs to execute.
    Among them is my genealogy program “Legacy 8.0”!
    Is there a way to disable this part of Defender also?

    Regards,
    Dirk

  5. Hi
    After i did all that WHY when u go into Services in windows 10. 3 windows defenders R still running WHY. u can stop the service in win7 WHY not win10. i think it still working any Help would be great. Thank You Have a nice day.
    Paul Koochie

  6. On most pages where a registry hack is prescribed, the author takes the extra step of providing a .reg file to make the hack installable with just a doubleclick.

  7. Will permanently disables it makes my pc usable? i did once tried turned off real time protect then after a minute my

    pc just starting to not responding and i cant click anything (i decided to force shutdown since task manager also won’t do)

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