How to disable Windows Defender in Windows 10/8/7

Microsoft has integrated Windows Defender, the anti-malware software, in Windows 10/8/7/Vista, and while it is easy to turn off or disable Windows Defender, it is not possible to uninstall Windows Defender.

If you install any other 3rd-party antivirus software, it will automatically disable itself. If the 3rd-party antivirus stops functioning for some reason, it will automatically activate itself. This is good. Nevertheless, if you feel the need to disable it completely, you may do so via its Settings, Registry, GPEDIT as well as disable its Services.

Disable Windows Defender in Windows 10

You can disable or turn off Windows Defender via:

  1. Windows Defender UI
  2. Windows Defender Security Center UI
  3. Group Policy
  4. Windows Services Manager
  5. Registry Editor
  6. PowerShell
  7. Command line.

Let us see how to do it.

1] Using Windows Defender Security Center

Windows 10 users have to do this. Open Settings > Update & Security > Windows Defender.

disable-windows-defender-windows-10

Here make sure Real-time protection and Cloud-based Protection is turned off.

In Windows 10 v1607 and later you will have to open Windows Defender Security Center > Virus & Threat Protection > Virus & Threat Protection settings and toggle the switch against Real-time protection.

2] Using Windows Defender Settings UI

To disable Windows Defender in Windows 8, Windows 7 and Windows Vista, open Windows Defender > Tools > Options.

uninstall-disable-windows-defender

Now uncheck Use Real Time Protection checkbox and also Use Windows Defender under Administrative Options check box. Click on Save.

There is one more thing all Windows users can do.

3] Disable Windows Defender Service using Service Manager

Type services.msc in taskbar search bar and hit Enter to open Services Manager. Change the startup type of the Windows Defender Service from Automatic to Disabled. Also, disable the WdNisSvc or Windows Defender Network Inspection Service.

4] Using Registry Editor

Run regedit and navigate to the following key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender

Set the value of DWORD called DisableAntiSpyware to 1 to disable Windows Defender.

5] Using Group Policy Editor

If your Windows has Group Policy Editor, Run gpedit.msc and navigate to and Enable the following setting:

Local Computer Policy > Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Defender > Turn off Windows Defender.

If you enable this policy setting, Windows Defender does not run, and computers are not scanned for malware or other potentially unwanted software. If you disable or do not configure this policy setting, by default Windows Defender runs and computers are scanned for malware and other potentially unwanted software.

Reboot your computer.

6] Using PowerShell command

Use the following Powershell command to disable Windows Defender:

Set-MpPreference -DisableRealtimeMonitoring $true

To re-enable it:

Set-MpPreference -DisableRealtimeMonitoring $false

7] Using Command line

To disable it in an elevated CMD use:

sc config WinDefend start= disabled
sc stop WinDefend

To re-enable it use:

sc config WinDefend start= auto
sc start WinDefend

TIP: Defender Control is a freeware that lets you disable Windows Defender permanently on Windows 10.

Uninstall Windows Defender

Though I have not tried this personally, there is one way being recommended on the internet. It is said to have worked, for some. This was known to work in Windows XP – but not in Windows 7 and later. Create a system restore point and the Run the following from an elevated command prompt:

msiexec /uninstall windowsdefender.msi /quiet /log uninstall.log

I must add that I do not advise trying to uninstall Windows Defender, as uninstalling/deleting Windows Defender in Windows is known to cause other irritants later on since it is well-integrated with the OS.

Ported from WVC

In Windows 10/8, Windows Defender is far improved and now includes complete anti-malware protection.

See this post if you want to know how to start Windows Defender manually and this one if Windows Defender will not turn off even when 3rd party AntiVirus is installed.

Posted by on , in Category Windows with Tags
Anand Khanse is the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.

14 Comments

  1. SteveDitkosQuestion

    I cannot believe what I just read. You show us how to uninstall or disable WD ( MSE ) at the beginning of the article but say “while it is easy to disable Windows Defender, it is not really possible to uninstall Windows Defender” then you show a possible command that may uninstall it anyway, and near the end you state “I must add that I do not advise trying to uninstall Windows Defender,
    as uninstalling / deleting Windows Defender in Windows is known to
    cause other irritants later on, since it is well-integrated with the OS.”

    Make up your mind. 1st you state it can’t be uninstalled, then you show a way it can, then you advise not to do it.

    Are you nuts to even publish this article? Without a doubt many novices will screw up their pc’s and their SECURITY by disabling or uninstalling WD/MSE before reading your disclaimer.

    I’m sadly disappointed in THE WINDOWS CLUB for putting this out there.

  2. I would have gladly answered you, but I will not, in view of the name calling you have indulged in. I could reciprocate, but that’s not my style. I do not allow harsh/name-calling/uncivil comments. I will delete you comment in a day. If you repost your comment in a civilized manner, I will allow it and answer. The sole reason I am not deleting it directly is because I want you to know why I deleted it.

    Incidentally, this method of uninstalling Defender has been officially documented in a Microsoft article.

  3. SteveDitkosQuestion

    There is no “name calling” in my post. If you consider my statement “are you nuts” name calling, there’s nothing I can do about how you took that.

    I still consider The Windows Club in high regard, but in this instance this article will probably cause more harm than good for the novices who will try this.

  4. Jin Guo

    You are really doing no good here. Anand clearly stated that there is a way to remove the windows defender while he was reluctant to let people really do it.

    If you want to provide “no harm” solutions, go ahead, otherwise, read and try to understand.

  5. MmeMoxie

    Anand – Does this issue seem to be more in Windows 10? I know that I have not had any problems with disabling Windows Defender, with Win XP or Win 7. I do admit that I have a good, solid well known AV Internet Security program, Avast!.

    The 2 times, I have upgraded to Windows 10, I found for me it was hard to get some things done, especially, trying to setup Security and other areas in Control Panel. This is one reason why I went back to Win 7 Pro 64 Bit.

    By the way, good for you Anand – That person needed to be put down a peg or two, in my opinion. I happen to be a fan of yours. I have found that you explain well and are more than willing to help someone, if, they don’t understand. Attacking your person is never acceptable, be it me, you or anybody.

  6. A very small fraction of Windows users seem to be facing this issue. And the reason could be that Defender is not recognizing their AV or maybe the user tweaked some Policy setting of Defender. And yes, some people have faced issues upgrading to Windows 10, although my upgrade on all my PCs went smoothly. Sorry to see that you faced issues. Maybe you could try again after a couple of months. 🙂
    And thank you for the kind words, MmeMoxie.

  7. Windows10isgarbage

    Beside the fact the article is full of contradictions , this doesn’t work.
    Nothing work to get rid of this malware that is Win defender sucking my disk usage (always 100).
    Tried all, but it’s now obvious those incompetent greed programmers in chrage at win 10 have no idea.
    I’m really tired of this garbage running on my pc.
    I’m gonna back to W7 or linux

  8. Win10IsASpyware

    It’s always a minority, it’s always an unlucky upgrade. Never admit this OS is a piece of crap wich no one wanted and also a spyware sending user data to God know who.

  9. Jose

    Even though I set real time protection to off, it automatically turns on and I’m all wtf. What do I do?

  10. Jeannie

    Hello Anand, I ran The widows problem & optimize system performance it found a lot wrong including not able to enable windows defender. The window club didn’t mention that this tool must had registry key.I have to pay for something windows cant seem to get these bugs and configuration problems etc. I downgraded to windows 7 because of all the issues with windows 10. This is Nutz I am not paying anymore money to windows. With all my hours and time spent with Microsoft etc. I will buy and Apple laptop before I spend anymore money& my Time. I have and Apple pro and love it , never ever had problem with Mac products. I had and windows products for over 20 years. This is depressing me with all my hours spent with these Microsoft problems. I am sorry if I sound harsh but this is to much.If you please could help me fix all the problems I have form this scan I click on. I don’t have anymore funds layoff from work. Sorry for any misplelling , I cant use my mouse for some reason and hate using internal mouse. Thank u Jeannie

  11. Sorry to hear about your problem; but you can ask for and get a refund for the software.

  12. kamran

    hello i need a network forensic tools for my research . can you help

  13. kamran

    i need your contact .

  14. Lisa Robertson Sorrels

    I cannot do the regedit in win 10

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