Windows Defender is a built-in antivirus and security software that protects your Windows device from malware and other threats. It is a reliable and effective antivirus program, but there may be times when you need to disable it temporarily. For example, you may need to disable Windows Defender to install a third-party antivirus program or to run a specific program that is being blocked by Windows Defender.

There are three ways to disable Windows Defender:

  • Through the Windows Security app
  • Through Group Policy
  • Through regedit

1. Disabling Windows Defender Through The Windows Security App

To disable Windows Defender through the Windows Security app, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Windows Security app.
  2. Click on Virus & threat protection.
  3. Under Virus & threat protection settings, click on Manage settings.
  4. Toggle the Real-time protection switch to Off.

2. Disabling Windows Defender Through Group Policy

To disable Windows Defender through Group Policy, follow these steps:

  1. Press Win+R to open the Run dialog box.
  2. Type gpedit.msc and press Enter.
  3. In the Group Policy Editor, navigate to the following path:

Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Microsoft Defender Antivirus

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  1. Double-click on the Turn off Microsoft Defender Antivirus policy.
  2. Select the Enabled option and click OK.
  3. Close the Group Policy Editor.

3. Disabling Windows Defender Through Regedit

To disable Windows Defender through Regedit, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Registry Editor. To do this, press Win+R to open the Run dialog box, type regedit, and press Enter.
  2. Navigate to the following path:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender
  1. If the Windows Defender key does not exist, right-click on the Microsoft key and select New > Key. Name the new key Windows Defender.
  2. Right-click on the Windows Defender key and select New > DWORD (32-bit) Value. Name the new value DisableAntiSpyware.
  3. Double-click on the DisableAntiSpyware value and change the Value data to 1.
  4. Click OK to save your changes.
  5. Close the Registry Editor.
  6. Restart your computer.
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Re-enabling Windows Defender

To re-enable Windows Defender, simply toggle the Real-time protection switch back to On in the Windows Security app, change the Turn off Microsoft Defender Antivirus policy setting back to Disabled in Group Policy, or change the Value data of the DisableAntiSpyware value back to in regedit.

Disabling Windows Defender can be useful in certain situations, but it is important to only disable it temporarily and to re-enable it as soon as possible. By following the steps above, you can easily disable and re-enable Windows Defender on your Windows device using either the Windows Security app, Group Policy, or regedit.