Privacy and Security Enable or Disable Microsoft Defender Antivirus in Windows 11


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Microsoft Defender Antivirus is an antivirus software that is included in Windows 11 and can help protect your device from viruses, malware, and other threats.

This tutorial will show you how to enable or disable Microsoft Defender Antivirus in Windows 11.


You must be signed in as an administrator to enable or disable Microsoft Defender Antivirus.

If a third party antivirus product is installed, registered, and working correctly, Microsoft Defender Antivirus will automatically disable itself. The Windows Security app will change the Virus & threat protection section to show status about the AV product, and provide a link to the product's configuration options.

If you disable Microsoft Defender Antivirus, you will not be able to turn on Periodic Scanning.


It is required to turn off Tamper Protection before being able to disable Microsoft Defender Antivirus.



Contents

  • Option One: Enable or Disable Microsoft Defender Antivirus in Local Group Policy Editor
  • Option Two: Enable or Disable Microsoft Defender Antivirus using REG file


EXAMPLE: Microsoft Defender Antivirus disabled

Microsoft_Defender_Antivirus_disabled-1.png
Microsoft_Defender_Antivirus_disabled-2.png

Scan_with_Microsoft_Defender_enabled.png
Scan_with_Microsoft_Defender_diabled.png





Option One

Enable or Disable Microsoft Defender Antivirus in Local Group Policy Editor


The Local Group Policy Editor is only available in the Windows 11 Pro, Enterprise, and Education editions.

All editions can use Option Two for the same policy.


1 Open the Local Group Policy Editor (gpedit.msc).

2 Navigate to the policy location below in the left pane of the Local Group Policy Editor. (see screenshot below)

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

Microsoft_Defender_Antivirus_gpedit-1.png

3 In the right pane of Microsoft Defender Antivirus in the Local Group Policy Editor, double click/tap on the Turn off Microsoft Defender Antivirus policy to edit it. (see screenshot above)

4 Do step 5 (enable) or step 6 (disable) below for what you would like to do.


5 Enable Microsoft Defender Antivirus

This is the default setting.


A) Select (dot) Not Configured. (see screenshot below)​

B) Click/tap on OK, and go to step 7 below.​

Microsoft_Defender_Antivirus_gpedit-2.png

6 Disable Microsoft Defender Antivirus

A) Select (dot) Enabled. (see screenshot below)​

B) Click/tap on OK, and go to step 7 below.​

Microsoft_Defender_Antivirus_gpedit-3.png

7 Close the Local Group Policy Editor.

8 Restart the computer to fully apply.

9 If you enabled Microsoft Defender Antivirus, you may also want to turn on Tamper Protection again.




Option Two

Enable or Disable Microsoft Defender Antivirus using REG file


1 Do step 2 (enable) or step 3 (disable) below for what you would like to do.

2 Enable Microsoft Defender Antivirus

This is the default setting.


A) Click/tap on the Download button below to download the file below, and go to step 4 below.​

Enable_Microsoft_Defender_Antivirus.reg


(Contents of REG file for reference)
Code:
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender]
"DisableAntiSpyware"=-

3 Disable Microsoft Defender Antivirus

A) Click/tap on the Download button below to download the file below, and go to step 4 below.​

Disable_Microsoft_Defender_Antivirus.reg


(Contents of REG file for reference)
Code:
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender]
"DisableAntiSpyware"=dword:00000001

4 Save the .reg file to your desktop.

5 Double click/tap on the downloaded .reg file to merge it.

6 When prompted, click/tap on Run, Yes (UAC), Yes, and OK to approve the merge.

7 Restart the computer to fully apply.

8 You can now delete the downloaded .reg file if you like.

9 If you enabled Microsoft Defender Antivirus, you may also want to turn on Tamper Protection again.


That's it,
Shawn Brink


 

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Last edited:

unifex

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Great tutorial, as always! I have one question though - for a long time now I've been using ESET Internet Security which comes with both the antivirus and firewall. Once this is installed, Windows Defender "lays low" - it's not disabled, but it also appears to do nothing - there are no pop-ups, notifications, etc., but the Windows Defender Firewall service is running. I assume that disabling Defender per this tutorial will also turn off that service. Is there any downside to that? Is this service necessary when a third-party firewall is being used?
 

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Brink

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Great tutorial, as always! I have one question though - for a long time now I've been using ESET Internet Security which comes with both the antivirus and firewall. Once this is installed, Windows Defender "lays low" - it's not disabled, but it also appears to do nothing - there are no pop-ups, notifications, etc., but the Windows Defender Firewall service is running. I assume that disabling Defender per this tutorial will also turn off that service. Is there any downside to that? Is this service necessary when a third-party firewall is being used?

Hello mate, :)

This will not affect Windows Defender Firewall. Only Microsoft Defender Antivirus. I wouldn't recommend to disable Windows Defender Firewall. The extra security is good to have, and will not hurt anything.
 

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unifex

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My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 10
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    CPU
    i5-10600K
    Motherboard
    Asus Rog Strix Z490-A Gaming
    Memory
    16 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    GeForce GTX 1650
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Samsung U32J59x 32" 4K
    Screen Resolution
    3840x2160
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