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In Windows 10, Windows Defender Antivirus is a free and reliable antimalware function designed to protect your device and your data against unwanted viruses, ransomware, spyware and many other forms of malware and even hackers. Even so, although it is good enough for most users, there are situations in which you may not want to use the security function. Sometimes, you may want to disable it to perform certain tasks that Windows Defender may interfere with, or plan to install other antivirus applications. In this article, I will show you how to disable Windows Defender in Windows 10:

How to disable Windows Defender antivirus using Windows security

Before disabling the built-in security solution, if you plan to perform a specific task, you do not need to disable Windows Defender Antivirus permanently. You just need to turn it off temporarily.

To disable the default antivirus in Windows 10 temporarily, follow these steps:

  1. Open start
  2. Search for Windows Security and click on the top result to open the application.
  3. Click on Protection against viruses and threats.
  4. In the “Virus and threat protection settings” section, click on the Manage settings option.
  5. Turn off the “Real-time protection” toggle switch.

Once you complete the steps, the antivirus will disable real-time protection, which will allow you to install applications or make a specific change to the system that you could not make before because the security function was blocking the action.

Turn off Windows Defender using the registry

If you are looking for a more permanent solution for that annoying Windows Defender, use your registry. This will disable Windows Defender forever until you turn it back on manually.

Note: Walk lightly when digging through the log. An incorrect edition in the registry can cause irreversible damage to your system. Make a backup of your information before continuing on this path.

  1. Open the registry
  2. Open the Run command using the keyboard shortcut: Windows key + R. Type “Regedit” and click “OK.”
  3. A pop-up window may appear asking if you want to allow this application to make changes to your device. Click “Yes.”
  4. Explore the route below

Copy and paste the address path below into the search bar at the top of the window and press enter:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Policies \ Microsoft \ Windows Defender

  • Right-click on the Windows Defender folder, select ‘New’ from the drop-down menu and choose ‘DWORD Value (32 bits)’

Only do this if you don’t see DisableAntiSpyware in the folder. If you see it, you can skip stepping 5.

  • Name it DisableAntiSpyware and press Enter

A new item will appear in the folder, with the text highlighted. Delete the current text and type ‘DisableAntiSpyware’. Then press Enter. The item must now be saved in the folder.

  • Double-click DisableAntiSpyware and change ‘0’ to ‘1’

Double-click on the new DisableAntiSpyware item. A pop-up window will appear to edit the DWORD. In the ‘Value information’ field, enter ‘1.’ Click OK. ‘

  • Restart your device

Restart your Windows device to install the new editions. Your Windows Defender should now be permanently disabled.

Note: If you want to activate Windows Defender in the future, follow steps 1-2 and then right-click on ‘Remove AntiSpyware’ and select ‘Delete’. A warning will appear: click on ‘Yes’. Restart your computer. Windows Defender should now turn on again.

Disable Windows Defender in Windows 7 or 8

In Windows 7 and 8, you must completely disable Windows Defender when you want to run another antivirus application. You cannot simply disable real-time protection as you do in Windows 10. Again, Defender should be automatically disabled when you install a third-party application and re-enabled if you uninstall that application later. But it doesn’t hurt to make sure.

  • Open Windows Defender by pressing start, typing “defend” and then clicking “Windows Defender.”
  • Switch to the “Tools” page in the menu and then click on the “Options” link.
  • Switch to the “Administrator” tab in the left panel and then select the “Use this program” checkbox as desired. When finished, click on the “Save” button.
  • Windows Defender then confirms that you have disabled it. Amazing!

Author: Nick Jackson

Nick Jackson was born and raised up in Atlanta, is a well qualified technical writer with hands-on experience of technology-related topics as well as non-technical writing.