Windows 10 Tutorial: Permanently Disable Windows Defender

Ready to take the extreme step? Microsoft has designed Windows Defender, the built-in antivirus in Windows 10, to be a solution that runs automatically, without the need of user intervention.

And it also plays nicely with other third-party antivirus programs.

For some, though, Windows Defender can be a bit of a hassle. Disabling the app is not as easy as it should be. And although Windows 10 comes with an option to turn it off, Windows Defender will only stay inactive for a short period of time.

When it detects that it has been off for too long, it will automatically turn itself back on again.

What a hassle!

So, if you have an alternate antivirus already installed, you can permanently disable Windows Defender via the registry. Do be sure to back up your registry first, before you make any changes. This can be done in the Registry Editor.

Anyway, press Win + R to bring up the Run dialog box, and type regedit to open up the Registry Editor.

On the left pane, navigate to the following section HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SOFTWARE > Policies > Microsoft > Windows Defender, and you will see a folder after Windows Defender called Policy Manager.

Don’t click on that folder!

Instead, keep the Windows Defender folder highlighted, and you may find a file that goes by the name of DisableAntiSpyware. If you do not see it, then you will have to make your own.

This can be done by right-clicking the empty space on the right side of the window, going to New and then choosing DWORD (32-bit) Value.

Rename the untitled DWORD file that Windows has created by right-clicking it and calling it DisableAntiSpyware. Now, right-click this file and click Modify, and in the box the pops up, enter 1 in the Value data field.

The next time you try to load Windows Defender, you will see the following error message:

And to turn the app back on, simply go back to the file in the Registry Editor and change the value to 0.

4 thoughts on “Windows 10 Tutorial: Permanently Disable Windows Defender”

  1. While Windows Defender is much better than what it used to be I still prefer getting another antivirus like Kaspersky because I know it’s better and getting improvements all the time.

    Reply
      • I prefer BitDefender. I’ve tried Kaspersky and while I can’t say it’s not good, I just didn’t feel it’s the best solution for me.

        Reply
  2. No matter what anti-virus you prefer, you really do not need to permanently disable it as it will automatically go to sleep if you install another anti-virus.

    Reply

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