Windows Defender, also known as “Microsoft Defender Antivirus”, is a free built-in tool that comes with Windows 11 to protect your device from viruses and malware. It aims to enhance your online safety, monitor your computer’s performance and health, offers parental control features, and maintain network security.
In some cases, however, Windows Defender can block you from downloading important files (which it can falsely detect as viruses) or slow down your computer and interfere with your day-to-day tasks. Additionally, some users prefer to use a third-party antivirus software instead of Windows Defender.
This guide shows you four methods you can use to turn off Windows Defender on Windows 11.
Turn Off Windows Defender using Windows Security
You can use the following steps to turn off Windows Defender protections, such as real-time protection.
- On the Start Menu, search for “settings” and launch the Settings app. Alternatively, launch the Settings app using the keyboard shortcut Windows + I.
- In the Settings app, select Privacy & security in the left panel. Under the “Protection areas” section, select Virus & threat protection.
- Under “Virus & threat protection”, click Manage settings.
- You can now see all the listed below Windows Defender settings. Choose the one you want to turn off and click on the respective toggle.
a. Real-time protection
b. Cloud-delivered protection
c. Automatic sample submission
d. Tamper protection
- For instance, you might want to remove “Real-time protection.” If the toggle is colored, click on the toggle to turn it off. If the toggle is not colored, it means that Windows Defender’s real-time protection is already turned off.
- Once you’ve disabled Real-time protection, you can see the discolored toggle along with a warning message above the toggle. Please note that this method is temporary. Real-time protection will get turned on automatically after some time.
Turn Off Windows Defender Antivirus using Group Policy
You can use this method to disable Windows Defender by editing the group policy.
- Press Windows + R on your keyboard to launch the Run app. Type gpedit.msc. Click on OK.
- This will open the “Local Group Policy Editor.” Go to Computer Configuration and select Administrative Templates. Click on Windows Components. Next, find Microsoft Defender Antivirus and double-click on it.
- Go to Turn Off Microsoft Defender Antivirus and right-click on it. Next, select Edit.
- You’ll now see the “Turn Off Microsoft Defender Antivirus” dialog box. Choose Disabled and select OK. This will disable Microsoft Defender Antivirus, and your computer would not be able to scan for any malware or virus in your system. This is a temporary solution. When you reboot the system, this setting will be reset.
Turn Off Windows Defender Antivirus using Registry
You can also turn off Windows Defender by changing the DWORD value to 1 in the registry editor. Follow the steps below:
- Press Windows + R on your keyboard. When you see the Run dialog box, type “regedit” and click on OK.
- Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE and go to SOFTWARE. Next, click on Microsoft and go to Windows Defender.
- Find DisableAntiSpyware and double-click on it.
- You can now see the “EDIT DWORD (32-bit) Value” dialog box. Under the “Value data” field, type “1” then click on OK. Similarly, you could also change the values of “DisableAntiSpyware,” and “ServiceStartStates” to 1.
- Find DisableAntiVirus and double-click on it.
- Type “1” under the “Value data” field in the following dialog box. Click on OK to confirm.
Windows Defender should now be disabled.
Turn Off Windows Defender Antivirus using Autoruns for Windows
Autoruns for Windows is a tool used to turn off Windows Defender. Please note that this method requires you to download external software. This method permanently turns off your Windows Defender Antivirus.
- Go to this website. Click on Download Autoruns and Autorunsc.
- The file will automatically be downloaded once you click on the link. Extract the folder once it’s downloaded. You can do this by right-clicking on the folder and selecting Extract All.
Wait for the file to be extracted.
- Next, open the “Run” app using the keyboard shortcut Windows + R. Type “msconfig” and click on OK.
- This will open the “System Configuration” dialog box. Go to the Boot tab and check the Safe boot checkbox. Choose the Minimal option and click on OK.
- You might receive a confirmation prompt. Click on OK and restart your computer for the changes to be applied.
Next, go to the extracted folder, and search for Autoruns64.exe. Right-click and select Run as administrator.
- Go to the Services tab, click on “Options” in the taskbar and uncheck the Hide Windows Entries option.
You can now see all the software listed below.
- Find WinDefend in the list and uncheck the box next to it.
- Restart your computer once that’s done. The Windows Defender Antivirus will remain turned off.
Back in 1966 when I was born, technology as we know it today was drastically different. In my lifetime, I witnessed the word of computing change from the giant ENIAC machine, to the supercomputers of today.
Since a young age, I have been obsessed with technology, and it was only natural that I continued my career path to study computer science. I graduated from NYU Computer Science in 1990.
I went on to work for IBM as a software engineer where our team pioneered a what would later become IBM Cloud. From 2001, I worked as an IT recruiter for one of the top tech firms.