Microsoft Defender is the default security software that comes with Windows 10 and 11. It helps protect your computer from viruses and malware in real-time. However, some people find that it slows down their system and choose to disable it. If you want to turn off Microsoft Defender, you can do so on any version of Windows, including 7, 8, 10, and 11. Here’s how to do it:

Temporarily deactivate Microsoft Defender

Temporary deactivation in Windows 10 or Windows 11 can simply be done via the Windows settings menu:

1. Access Windows settings by pressing the “Windows + I” or via the “Start menu” and the settings icon.

2. Then select the “Update and Security” option in the settings menu.

Windows 10 settings © clubic.com

3. Click on “Windows Security” in the column on the left.

Windows 10 settings © clubic.com

4. Once in the Windows security menu, select the “Virus and threat protection” option.

Defender Windows 10 © clubic.com

5. In the new window that opens, click on the “Manage settings” option located below “Virus and threat protection settings”.

Defender Windows 10 © clubic.com

6. Disable the “Real-time protection” option using the slider provided for this purpose.

Defender Windows 10 © clubic.com

Disable Microsoft Defender permanently

Under Windows 10 / 11

When installing another antivirus, Microsoft Defender is automatically and permanently interrupted and gives way to the new protection application. The method of adding a key in the registry editor no longer seems to be an effective solution to disable Defender permanently. However, there is a little trick to deactivate Defender thanks to the Ultimate Windows Tweaker software, a portable and free tool that allows you to deactivate Defender by force. We still advise to create a restore point:

  • Download and launch the Ultimate Windows Tweaker utility, it is portable and therefore does not require installation.
  • In the left bar, select the “Security & Privacy” option.

Ultimate Windows Tweake © clubic.com

  • Tick the “Disable Microsoft Defender” box then validate by clicking on “Apply Tweaks”.

Ultimate Windows Tweaker © clubic.com

It will be necessary to restart the PC to definitively apply the changes and deactivate Microsoft Defender. If you want to go back and reactivate Windows 10, you will have to relaunch Ultimate Windows Tweaker, return to the “Security & Privacy” tab then select the “Restore Defaults” option, confirm and restart your PC for Defender to work again.

For Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise

The Professional and Enterprise editions of Windows 10 integrate by default local group policy functions allowing administrators to manage several computers on the same network. This tool also allows you to permanently disable Defender:

1. Open the “Run menu” by performing the keyboard shortcut “Windows key + R”. Enter “gpedit.msc” and click “OK”.

Defender Windows 10 Pro © clubic.com

2. The local group policy editor then opens. In the tree on the left, select and expand the “Computer Configuration” folder, then the “Administrative Templates” folder, then “Windows Components” and finally double-click on “Microsoft Defender”.

Defender Windows 10 Pro © clubic.com

3. In the right part, double-click on the option “Disable Microsoft Defender”.

Defender Windows 10 Pro © clubic.com

4. In the window that opens, it is important to select “Activate” then validate by clicking on “OK”.

Defender Windows 10 Pro © clubic.com

Microsoft Defender antivirus will be automatically disabled on all computers on the network. A warning also informs that Defender protection is disabled by Group Policy.

Defender Windows 10 Pro © clubic.com

Under Windows 8

1. Go to the Windows 8 home page via the “Start” button then click on the “Search” function via the icon magnifying glass located in the upper right corner.

Windows 8 Defender © clubic.com

2. In the search field, start typing “Defender” and click on the “Microsoft Defender” option when it appears.

Windows 8 Defender © clubic.com

3. In the new window, select the “Settings” tab.

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4. In this tab, uncheck the box “Enable real-time protection” then confirm by clicking on “Save changes”.

Windows 8 Defender © clubic.com

5. Windows Defender will then be permanently deactivated. Just go back to the Microsoft Defender page and click on “Activate” to relaunch it immediately.

Windows 8 Defender © clubic.com

On Windows 7

Used by 23% of people on Windows according to the latest statistics from StatCounter in February 2020, Windows 7 is still installed on many personal and professional computers.

However, the operating system is no longer supported by Microsoft since January 14, 2020 and is now unavailable for download. Microsoft will continue to release signature updates to maintain Microsoft Defender’s built-in security solution. Here is how to deactivate it in Windows 7:

1. Open the “Start menu” via the icon located in the lower left corner then open the control panel.

Windows 7 Defender © clubic.com

2. Modify the display of options by clicking on “View by” and selecting the option “Small icons” or “Large icons” according to your convenience.

Windows 7 Defender © clubic.com

3. Then select the “Microsoft Defender” option.

Windows 7 Defender © clubic.com

4. In the new window that appears, select “Tools”.

Windows 7 Defender © clubic.com

5. Then click on “Options”.

Windows 7 Defender © clubic.com

6. In the left part, select “Real-time protection” then uncheck the option “Use real-time protection” and finally, validate by clicking on “Save to permanently disable Microsoft Defender.

Windows 7 Defender © clubic.com

Finally, note that it is possible to activate Windows Defender if it has been temporarily or permanently deactivated. To do this, we advise you to read the tutorial: How to activate Microsoft Defender on your computer?