Windows Defender Security is a great built-in antivirus program for Windows 10, however disabling this can be difficult. This guide will walk you through the steps to permanently disable Windows Defender on your system.


Windows Defender is a great antivirus solution, that provides effective defence against viruses, ransomware, and malware in general. This automatically is enabled across all Windows 10 machines to provide 24/7 protection.

This is perfect for most users, however there are a number of scenarios in which you may wish to permanently disable (or re-enable) Windows Defender. For Home users, your machine may be an isolated machine that never connects to the internet, or a specific task is being blocked by Windows Defender. For Enterprise users, disabling the built in AV protection will make most sense when enabling a multi-user AV tool that conflicts with Defender.

Note: We always recommend that you use antivirus software on your system. Even non-Internet connected machines can fall victim to malware via USB and flash drive infections.

The easiest way to disable Windows Defender is to simply install a third party antivirus protection, which in most cases will automatically disable the built in protections. This is the best solution for the majority of users, as we it’s important for any internet connected machine to have protection. If you’re looking to use an alternative AV tool, check out AV-Test's top recommendations here:

The best Windows antivirus software for home users

Use Local Group Policy to Disable Windows Defender

If you’re an enterprise or professional user, then using the Local Group Policy Editor may be the simplest option to disable this.

Note: Local Group Policy Editor is only available in Windows 10 Pro, Enterprise and Education editions. If you’re a Home user, please use the Registry option below.

Open the Local Group Policy Editor:
  1. Press Windows key + R to open the Run command window.
  2. Enter gpedit.msc and click OK. This will open up the Local Group Policy Editor.


Navigate to the Policy Component

  1. Using the left pane of the Editor, navigate to the following location:

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

2. Double Click on the Turn off Windows Defender Antivirus policy

3. Select the Enabled option to disable Windows Defender

Note: Make sure to hit Enabled, as counter-intuitively this enables the “Disable Windows Defender” policy.

4. Click Apply and OK, and the policy will now be enabled.

Once you’ve finished, you’ll need to restart your computer for the changes to take effect. If you’d like to reverse the process, simply repeat steps 1-4 and select Disabled to disable the policy.

Disable Windows Defender Using the Registry

Windows 10 Home users will need to follow a slightly different set of steps to disable Windows Defender. This will require you to edit the Registry to permanently make the change.

Warning: Please ensure you have a full backup of your PC before proceeding. Editing the Registry is risky, and can cause damage to your machine if done incorrectly.

Once you’ve made a full backup of your machine, follow the steps below to get started:
  1. Press Windows Key + R to open the Run command window.
  2. Enter regedit, and then click OK to open the Registry.

  1. Use the left hand pane to navigate to the following location:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender

Note: You can copy/paste this into the address bar for quick navigation.

  1. Right click on Windows Defender > New > DWORD (32-bit) Value

  1. Name the new DWORD Value DisableAntiSpyware and press Enter
  2. Double click the new DWORD Value (DisableAntiSpyware) and change the value from 0 to 1.

  1. Select OK to complete the process.

Once steps 1-7 have been completed, you will need to restart your machine for the changes to take effect.

If you wish to re-enable Windows Defender, you can simply follow the same steps, but this time change the value in the DWORD (DisableAntiSpyware) from 1 to 0.

That’s It!

That’s It! If you’ve made it to the end of the guide you’ll have successfully disabled Windows Defender on Windows 10.

As mentioned at the beginning, we strongly recommend to only carry this out if you have a replacement antivirus software ready to go, or the machine will not be connected to the internet.

If you have any questions, or are having other problems with your machine, feel free to post in our Windows 10 forum for free expert tech support from one of our volunteer experts.

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