Enable Disable Windows Defender

In Windows 10, Microsoft’s own virus protection, called Windows Defender, is enabled by default. Since the Windows 10 Creators Update it can come to problems, if you use the Microsoft virus scanner parallel or at the same time with other virus scanners. In this article we show you how to activate Windows Defender and how to deactivate Windows Defender.

What’s Defender?

Previously, the Microsoft virus scanner was presented under the name Microsoft AntiSpyware. This is security software from Microsoft to detect potentially unwanted software (mainly computer viruses, malware, spyware and other malware).

Disable Windows Defender / Enable Windows Defender

There are several ways to deactivate Defender or to activate Defender. Depending on the size of the network or the individual workstation, there are different ways to implement this.

  • 1 – in the Windows settings
  • 2 – via registry
  • 3 – per GPO / Group Directive

1 – in the Windows settings

To configure Microsoft Defender in the Windows settings, proceed as follows:

  • Open Windows settings with the key combination “Windows + i
  • Open the “Update and Security” button.
  • Open the menu item “Windows Defender
  • Turn off the “Real-time protection” and “Cloud-based protection” switches, or interpolate
    disable windows defender enable windows 10 settings

This is especially great for home users, as there are only a few simple steps.

2 – via registry

Windows Defender can also be deactivated / activated in the Windows Registry. To do that, we have to follow these steps:

  • open the mask with the key combination “Windows + r
  • “Enter and confirm “regedit
  • to the path
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREPoliciesMicrosoftWindows Defender
    If not available, then right-click on “Microsoft” -> “New -> “Create key”.
  • In the right window right click -> “New -> “DWORD” with the name “DisableAntiSpyware.
  • Open “DisableAntiSpyware” with double click and set the value to “1” (deactivate)
  • Open “DisableAntiSpyware” with double click and set the value to “0” (activate)
    windows defender registry

Configuring Defenders in the registry is recommended for small to medium businesses.

3 – by GPO or Group guideline

In larger environments it makes sense to disable or enable Defender via Group Policy. This is the simplest variant for an administrator:

  • create a new group policy in Active Directory
  • Navigate to the following path
    Computer ConfigurationAdministrative TemplatesWindows ComponentsWindows Defender AntivirusReal-Time Protection
    Double-click the policy “Disable real-time protection” and set it to “Enabled
  • Navigate to another path
    Computer ConfigurationAdministrative TemplatesWindows ComponentsWindows Defender Antivirus
    Here you can still configure the policy / GPO “Disable Windows Defender Antivirus

windows defender group directive gpo

With these instructions you should be able to deactivate and activate Microsoft Defender. 🙂

Christian Gebhardt