Windows Defender will not turn off even when 3rd party AntiVirus is installed

Unable to disable Windows Defender? If Windows Defender does not turn off even when you have installed 3rd party Antivirus or an Internet Security Suite, then this post may help you.

If you have another antivirus software installed, then Windows will turn off Windows Defender. But what if Windows Defender continues to run along with your security software? We have already covered how to manually disable Windows Defender. Now let us see what you can do if you find that Windows Defender just will not turn off.

I noticed this issue on my computer. I did restart my Windows 10 PC to see if this was an aberration. But no, the Defender icon was back, sitting right next to my antivirus software.

Windows Defender does not turn off

Windows Defender will not turn off

1] The first thing you want to do is open Control Panel > Security. Here you may see some message. My Windows was telling me that my Firewall was not active. But it was, I had checked it up. My security suite was fully functional.

windows security 2

I clicked on View firewall options and opted to Turn on Kaspersky Internet Suite. It did not help.

2] Next I opened Settings > Update & Security > Windows Defender. I saw that the Real-time protection was turned On. I moved the slider to the Off position, but it did not help. The Windows Defender icon would not go away.

Windows Defender will not turn off

On restart, I was back to square one.

While I did not try these following steps, you could.

3] Enter Clean Boot State and see if the problem persists. If it does not, then it means that some software is causing this to happen. Try to isolate it and then uninstall the offender.

4] Maybe your Windows Defender files have been corrupted. Run System File Checker and DISM and see if it helps.

5] If there is some Group Policy in force, then too this can happen. This is something you will have to check for yourself.

Just for your information, the Group Policy related registry keys are located at:

  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Policies\Microsoft
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Group Policy Objects
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies

It was then that I remembered that I had tweaked Windows Defender to offer protection against PUPs too. I reversed the tweak and restarted my Windows 10 computer. Bang! The Windows Defender icon had disappeared.

Now Read: How to remove Windows Defender icon in Windows 10.

See these posts if:

  1. Windows Security Center service does not start
  2. Windows Action Center identifies old security software as installed
  3. Windows Action Center does not detect installed Firewall / Antivirus
  4. Windows Defender is turned off or not working.
Posted by on , in Category Security with Tags
Anand Khanse is the Admin of, 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.


  1. I’m wondering if this is AV specific or due to the Threshold 2 update. I have Bitdefender Total Security 2016 and it’s all OK for me and has been on the many machines I’ve installed Windows 10 on. It’s strange as usually it gets switched off as soon as a replacement is installed, like the Windows firewall.

  2. I probably faced this issue because I had tweaked the PUP setting. This could probably happen if for some reason Windows Defender does not recognize the installed security software.

  3. Anti muzrats

    Bitdefender Total Security 2016 could not catch a std in a whorehouse, it’s that useless… get rid of it

  4. Yes, this is why Bitdefender has won the best AV for 3 years in a row.I can see how useless it is!

  5. AuthenticVIP

    This is AV specific. I run the latest version of Norton Internet Security with Backup (10User) on multiple Windows 10 desktops and it’s never been an issue. Windows Defender still updates definitions along with other Windows OS updates, but I think that is a good thing in case the third-party paid subscription runs out on the computer users less inclined to take notice.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

9 + 3 =