How to Turn Off Windows Defender in Windows 11

How to Turn Off Windows Defender in Windows 11

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.

  1. On the Start Menu, search for “settings” and launch the Settings app. Alternatively, launch the Settings app using the keyboard shortcut Windows + I.

    Open Settings
    Open the Settings app.

  2. In the Settings app, select Privacy & security in the left panel. Under the “Protection areas” section, select Virus & threat protection.

    Click on Virus and threat protection
    Select Virus & threat protection under the Protection areas section.

  3. Under “Virus & threat protection”, click Manage settings.

    Click on Manage settings
    Choose Manage settings under Virus & threat protection.

  4. 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

    All Windows Defender Settings
    Choose the Windows Defender Setting you want to turn off.

  5. 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.

    Real-time protection toggle
    If the Real-time protection toggle is colored, click on it to turn Windows Defender off.

  6. 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.

    Toggle off Real-time protection
    You’ll see a warning message above the disabled toggle.

Turn Off Windows Defender Antivirus using Group Policy

You can use this method to disable Windows Defender by editing the group policy.

  1. Press Windows + R on your keyboard to launch the Run app. Type gpedit.msc. Click on OK.

    Run gpedit.msc
    Type gpedit.msc and click OK.

  2. 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.

    Double-click Microsoft Defender Antivirus
    Search Microsoft Defender Antivirus and double-click on it.

  3. Go to Turn Off Microsoft Defender Antivirus and right-click on it. Next, select Edit.

    Tap on Edit
    Tap Edit on Turn Off Microsoft Defender Antivirus.

  4. 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.

    Select Disabled and Click OK
    Select Disabled and tap on OK.

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:

  1. Press Windows + R on your keyboard. When you see the Run dialog box, type “regedit” and click on OK.

    Run regedit
    Type regedit and select OK.

  2. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE and go to SOFTWARE. Next, click on Microsoft and go to Windows Defender.

    Navigate to the Windows Defender file
    Navigate to the Windows Defender file.

  3. Find DisableAntiSpyware and double-click on it.

    Double-click on DisableAntiSpyware
    Find and double-click on DisableAntiSpware.

  4. 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.
    Fill 1 and Click on OK
    Fill 1 under Value data and select OK.
  5. Find DisableAntiVirus and double-click on it.

    Double click DisableAntiVirus
    Find and double-click on DisableAntiVirus.

  6. Type “1” under the “Value data” field in the following dialog box. Click on OK to confirm.
    Fill 1 and Click OK
    Fill 1 under Value data and click on OK.

    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.

  1. Go to this website. Click on Download Autoruns and Autorunsc.

    Download Autoruns and Autorunsc
    Go to the website to download Autoruns and Autorunsc.

  2. 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.
    Extract the zip file
    Extract the zip file after it’s downloaded.

    Wait for the file to be extracted.

    Wait for the extraction to be completed
    Wait for the extraction of the downloaded file.

  3. Next, open the “Run” app using the keyboard shortcut Windows + R. Type “msconfig” and click on OK.

    Run msconfig
    Open the Run command, type msconfig, and click OK.

  4. 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.

    Safe boot your computer
    Check the Safe boot checkbox under the Boot tab. Choose Minimal and select OK.

  5. 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.

    Click Run as administrator
    Select Run as administrator.

  6. Go to the Services tab, click on “Options” in the taskbar and uncheck the Hide Windows Entries option.
    Uncheck Hide Windows Entries
    Uncheck Hide Windows Entries under Options.

    You can now see all the software listed below.

    All files listed
    Listed software.

  7. Find WinDefend in the list and uncheck the box next to it.

    Find WinDefend
    Locate WinDefend and uncheck its checkbox.

  8. Restart your computer once that’s done. The Windows Defender Antivirus will remain turned off.

    Uncheck WinDefend
    Restart your computer after unchecking WinDefend.

Erik is a full-time product quality engineer at the IBM who has a passion for teaching others (and always learning) about technology. He has a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science and Engineering from Eindhoven University of Technology. Erik is the chief editor for Windows, Linux and coding tutorials.

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