How To Disable Windows Defender in Windows 10
How To Disable Windows Defender in Windows 10

This articles describes how to disable Windows Defender in Windows 10 and other operating systems.  Before you disable Windows Defender, it is important to know what it does.

Windows Defender is an endpoint protection application that installs with Windows 10.  Features include antivirus, anti-malware, Windows Firewall and more.  Because it comes bundled with the Windows 10 operating system, it is a very convenient and effective endpoint protection option.  Nothing to install or update, and easy to use.

There are times, however, when you might want to disable windows defender.  For example, this is particularly helpful when installing software that recommends shutting off virus protection.  It also comes in handy when installing certain third-party security applications that might not turn Windows Defender off automatically.

Disabling Windows Defender Via Group Policy

For those of us running Pro or Enterprise versions of Windows 10, you can use Group Policy to shut off Windows Defender permanently.Windows Defender Group Policy settings

  1. From the Windows Search Bar type gpedit.msc and hit Enter
  2. Navigate to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Defender Antivirus
  3. Double click the following key in the right panel: Turn off Windows Defender Antivirus
  4. Select Enable to disable Windows Defender Group Policy window for Windows Defender
  5. Click Apply
  6. Click OK

You will need to restart your computer for the changes to become active.

Please keep in mind that it is not a good idea to mess around with Windows Defender unless you know what you are doing. Turning off security applications is dangerous and could lead to data loss and down time.

Disabling Windows Defender Via Registry

Windows registry showing Windows Defender registry keyIf you are running Windows 10 Home Edition you can turn off Windows Defender via the Windows Registry.

Please keep in mind that editing the registry could lead to unfortunate results if you don’t know what they’re doing. Make sure you have taken appropriate measures to ensure the integrity of you data.


  1. From the Window Search Bar type ‘regedit’ and hit Enter
  2. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender
  3. Look for a key named DisableAntiSpyware. If it does not exist go to Step 4, otherwise go to Step 7
  4. Right click the Windows Defender folder in the right panel
  5. Select New and click DWORD (32-bit) value
  6. Name the new DWORD DisableAntiSpyware and press Enter
  7. Double click the DisableAntiSpyware DWORD and set its value to ‘1’
  8. Click OK

The changes will not be applied until after a reboot.

These changes can always be reversed by undoing the configurations described above.

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