Turn Off Windows Defender in Windows 10

Windows Defender helps protect our PC against malware like viruses, spyware, and other potentially unwanted software. In Windows 10 we can turn off Windows Defender real-time protection, but it will only be temporary. Windows will automatically turn real-time protection back on if it’s off for a while. However, we can completely turn on or off Windows Defender for all users in Windows 10. We must be signed in as an administrator to be able to turn on or off Windows Defender.

When we install some 3rd party antivirus (AV) programs, they may automatically turn off Windows Defender. In this case we may not be able to turn on Windows Defender again until the 3rd party AV program has been disabled (turned off) or uninstalled.

One way to turn off Windows Defender is by using Group Policy. To open Group Policy enter gpedit.msc in Search, and press Enter. This file is originally located at C:\Windows\System32\gpedit.msc.

Search gpedit.msc
Search gpedit.msc

In the left pane of Local Group Policy Editor, navigate to the Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Defender.

Windows Defender Policies
Windows Defender Policies

Double click the Turn off Windows Defender policy to edit it. To disable Windows Defender, select the “Enabled” option, which will enable the “Turn off Windows Defender” policy.

Turn Off Windows Defender
Turn Off Windows Defender

To turn Windows Defender back on, select “Not Configured” or “Disabled” option. “Not Configured” is the default setting.

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