How-To Permanently Disable Windows Defender

Here is how you can permanently disable Windows Defender on Windows

Windows Defender Antivirus is a service that comes included with Windows 10 all editions from the get-go. Its main use is to protect against spyware, malware, ransomware, viruses and many other threats. A new feature introduced with Windows 10 offers Real-Time Protection which monitors all activities and immediately quarantines any suspicious activity taking place, it disables itself automatically when it detects another antivirus software present on Windows.

Although it is not very common to disable your antivirus since it makes you vulnerable but there are many cases where there is a need to disable your antivirus software, for example, when installing a program which requires the antivirus service to be turned off or in some cases when the antivirus deletes a file reporting as a ‘false positive’.

There are several ways to disable the Antivirus permanently, Although caution is advised when editing the registry.

How to disable Windows Defender Permanently using Local Group Policy

For the users who are using Windows 10 Professional, Enterprise, or Education Editions, you can use the Local Group Policy Editor to disable Windows Defender Antivirus on your computer permanently using these steps:

  1. Use the Windows key + R keyboard shortcut or just search for Run on start to open the Run command.
  2. Type gpedit.msc then click OK or press Enter to open the Local Group Policy Editor.
  3. Browse to the following path:
    Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Defender Antivirus
  4. On the right side of the pane, right click Turn off Windows Defender Antivirus policy and select edit.
  5. Select the Enabled option to disable Windows Defender Antivirus. Enabling it will turn off the Windows Defender Antivirus.
  6. Click Apply.
  7. Click OK.

Once you’ve completed the above steps, restart your computer to apply the changes.

After a successful restart, you will notice that the system tray will still display the icon as before. This is because this icon is a part of Windows Defender Security Centre and not a part of the antivirus. So, this icon does not mean that antivirus is enabled or disabled.

If at any time you feel the need to enable the Windows Defender Antivirus again you can do so using the steps, but on step No. 5, make sure to select the Not Configured option instead of Enabled. Then reboot your device to see the applied changes.

How to disable Windows Defender Permanently using the Registry

If you are running Windows 10 Home Edition, you will not have access to the Windows Local Group Policy Editor so you will have to use another method. For this, you can modify the registry to permanently disable the default antivirus using the below steps.

Modifying the Registry is a highly dangerous task and if care is not taken then it can cause very serious damage to your Windows Installation which cannot be reversed. So, it is recommended to make a full backup of your Registry before proceeding any further.

  1. Use the Windows key + R keyboard shortcut or just search for Run on start to open the Run command.
  2. Type regedit, then click OK or press Enter to open the Registry.
  3. Browse the following path,
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender
    As an additive help, you can copy the above path to the address bar of your registry to directly navigate to the above path without having to navigate manually.
  4. Double Click DisableAntiSpyware DWORD on the right side of the pane and set the value from 0 to 1.
  5. If you don’t see the DisableAntiSpyware DWORD, right-click the Windows Defender (folder) key, select New, and click on DWORD (32-bit) Value.
  6. Name the key DisableAntiSpyware and press Enter.
  7. Double-click the newly created DWORD and set the value from 0 to 1.
  8. Click OK.

After completing the steps, restart your device to apply the settings, and then the Windows Defender Antivirus should be disabled.

If you no longer want to keep the Windows Defender Antivirus feature disabled, you can enable it again using the same steps, but on step No. 7, make sure to double-click the DisableAntiSpyware DWORD and select the value from 1 to 0.

Above are several ways to disable Windows Defender Antivirus on your computer permanently, but it is not recommended to turn off your Antivirus because it makes your Windows vulnerable to malware and other viruses. However, there are always scenarios when you may need to turn off this security feature on your computer.