Windows 10 comes with the Windows Defender Antivirus antimalware feature to protect your computer and data from unwanted viruses, spyware, ransomware, and many other types of malware and hackers.

Although the built-in antimalware solution is enough for most users, there are some special situations where you may not want to use the security feature. For instance, when setting up a device that won't connect to the network; if you must perform a task, which may be getting blocked by the feature; or when you have to comply with your organization security policies.

The only problem is that you won't find an option to uninstall or disable Windows Defender Antivirus permanently, as a result of the feature being deeply integrated into Windows 10. However, you can disable the antivirus with a few workarounds using Group Policy and Registry, or temporarily using the Windows Security experience.

BitDefender

In this Windows 10 guide, we walk you through the steps to disable Windows Defender Antivirus permanently (or temporarily) on your device.

How to disable Windows Defender Antivirus using Windows Security

Before modifying your system configuration, if you're looking to perform a specific task, then you don't need to disable Windows Defender Antivirus permanently.

To disable the security feature temporarily on your device, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Windows Security and click the top result to open the experience.
  3. Click on Virus & threat protection.
  4. Under the "Virus & threat protection settings" section, click the Manage settings option.

  5. Turn off the "Real-time protection" toggle switch.

Once you complete these steps, the antivirus will disable the real-time protection allowing you to install apps, or perform a specific task, that you couldn't before because the security feature was blocking the action.

If you want to enable the real-time protection again, restart your computer, or use the same instructions, but on step No. 5, make sure to turn on the settings.

While this isn't a permanent solution, it's the best option to disable the Windows 10 antivirus to perform specific tasks.

How to disable Windows Defender Antivirus using Group Policy

On Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise, you can use the Local Group Policy Editor to disable Windows Defender Antivirus permanently using these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for gpedit.msc and click the top result to open the Local Group Policy Editor.
  3. Browse the following path:

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

  4. Double-click the Turn off Windows Defender Antivirus policy.

  5. Select the Enabled option to disable Windows Defender Antivirus.

  6. Click the Apply button.
  7. Click the OK button.
  8. Restart your device.

After you complete the steps, the default antivirus for Windows 10 will be permanently disabled on your device. However, you'll notice that the shield icon will remain in the taskbar, but this is expected because the icon is part of the Windows Security app, not from the antivirus.

If you change your mind, you can always re-enable Windows Defender Antivirus using the same instructions, but on step No. 5, make sure to select the Not Configured option, and restart your device to apply the changes.

BitDefender

How to disable Windows Defender Antivirus using Registry

Alternatively, if you don't have access to the Local Group Policy Editor, or you're running Windows 10 Home, you can still modify the Registry to disable Windows Defender Antivirus permanently.

Warning: This is a friendly reminder that editing the Registry is risky, and it can cause irreversible damage to your installation if you don't do it correctly. It's recommended to make a full backup of your PC before proceeding.

To disable Windows Defender Antivirus permanently modifying the Registry, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for regedit and click the top result to open the Registry Editor.
  3. Browse the following path:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender

    Quick tip: You can now copy and paste the path in the Registry's address bar to quickly jump to the key destination.

  4. Right-click the Windows Defender (folder) key, select New, and click on DWORD (32-bit) Value.

  5. Name the key DisableAntiSpyware and press Enter.
  6. Double-click the newly created DWORD and change the value from 0 to 1.

  7. Click the OK button.
  8. Restart your device.

Once you complete the steps, Windows Defender Antivirus will no longer protect your system against malware.

If you want to revert the changes, you can use the same instructions, but on step No. 6, right-click the DisableAntiSpyware key and select the Delete option.

Recommendation

While there are multiple methods that you can use to disable Windows Defender Antivirus on Windows 10, we don't recommend using a computer without anti-malware software.

However, you may come across some situations when disabling the feature could be the best action. If you're installing third-party anti-malware, you don't need to disable Windows Defender Antivirus, as it'll be disabled automatically during the installation process.

If you don't like Windows Defender Antivirus, you should consider these alternatives:

More Windows 10 resources

For more helpful articles, coverage, and answers to common questions about Windows 10, visit the following resources:

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Logitech MX Master Wireless Mouse ($72 at Amazon)

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