Skip to main content

How to permanently disable Microsoft Defender Antivirus on Windows 10

How to disable Microsoft Defender Antivirus using third-party solution

If you plan to disable the antivirus to install another anti-malware software, this process isn't necessary since installing another security software will disable Microsoft Defender Antivirus automatically.

To disable Microsoft Defender Antivirus using third-party protection, use these steps:

  1. Open the antivirus download page.Quick note: We will be installing Bitdefender, but the instructions will be similar to any other software. Of course, it is always recommended to check the software documentation for more specific details.
  2. Click the Download button to save the installer on the computer.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Double-click the file to launch the installation.
  2. Check the option to agree to the licensing terms (if applicable).
  3. Click the Install button.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

After you complete the steps, Windows 10 will detect the installation and automatically disable Microsoft Defender Antivirus on the computer.

Check current security provider

To check the default antivirus has been disabled, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Windows Security and click the top result to open the app.
  3. Click on Settings at the bottom of the page.
  4. Under the "Security providers" section, click the Manage providers option.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Under the "Antivirus" section, Microsoft Defender Antivirus should appear permanently disabled.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Although there are multiple methods to disable the default antivirus on Windows 10, we do not recommend using a computer without anti-malware protection. However, there might still be some situations where disabling the security feature could make sense.

If you are in the market for an alternative to Microsoft Defender Antivirus, you should consider these options:

More Windows resources

For more helpful articles, coverage, and answers to common questions about Windows 10 and Windows 11, visit the following resources:

Mauro Huculak is technical writer for WindowsCentral.com. His primary focus is to write comprehensive how-tos to help users get the most out of Windows 10 and its many related technologies. He has an IT background with professional certifications from Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTIA, and he's a recognized member of the Microsoft MVP community.

121 Comments
  • Windows Defender is the best ❤
  • Not on its own though. It lacks a lot of security features that can protect from virus's/spyware/malware etc before they can even reach the computer :p (I'm not saying its a bad program though, just lacks in some places. But the antivirus (etc) definitions are good)
  • People need to change their opinion about Windows Defender. It has improved a lot in Windows 10 especially RS1.
  • I don't think its that people hate it, it's more just other programs offer more features. Maybe MS will add said features in RS2. If so, it will probably change people's minds on it
  • Features that slow computers down and eat resources like chrome.
  • Depends on the program. I use Avast on my laptop (which doesn't have the best resource capacity) and my computer runs very fast. However some program's like McAfee, Norton (in my case) etc. Do eat a good amount of resources. (If we're comparing it to Chrome, Chrome eats up a lot of resources, while some of the AV's I've used like Avast barely makes a dent). So really it depends on which program you look at
  • I used to use Avast but gave it up as a bad joke,such a resource hog. I'm more than happy with Windows defender, maybe not the be all and end all but performs well and is resource friendly.
    I run a monthly sweep with MalWare-Bytes and never have an issue.
  • Well I've already said I don't have issues with WD. I just don't use it as my primary AV :p Malwarebytes is also great, but it's unfortunately, definitely a resource hog
  • Malware didn't used to be that way until it became more mainstream, they then began adopting a lot of the features of the popular programs that make resource heavy.
  • Yeah. Just keep it updated
  • Yeah. Just keep it updated
  • @n m, malwarebytes is not infallible either. Hitman pro picked a malware that it missed. Happened once in a blue moon.
  • I didn't post this comment, yet it had my name and picture. Had windows central been breached?
  • @OMG55 it's an old article, updated and reposted hence containing comments from 2 years ago.
  • I use only Defender. I don't care about features as long as I don't get infected and knock on wood over the past 5 years Defender has done the job with no issues. When I had Norton I did get infected.
  • Those features are so overrated. Windows Defender does what it does effortlessly. I never have had to install 3rd party antivirus or internet security software for more than 8 yrs. Windows Defender forever!
  • Those features are so overrated. Windows Defender does what it does effortlessly. I never have had to install 3rd party antivirus or internet security software for more than 8 yrs. Windows Defender forever!
  • Raytiger, you do realise you are replying to a comment left two years ago? 😉
  • I did not see that until now. 😶
  • Yeah, resource hogs and surf tracking software for target adds, etc. I'll stick with built in windows defender.
  • Maybe, but it is still like allowing a fox to guard hens.
    i still prefer to use a third party security suite.
  • Works fine for me now for over 3 years. No viruses, malware, etc. Of course I'm a safe informed surfer too. Anything should be a combination of the user and anti-virus.
  • Like the fox guarding the hen house.  
  • Idiot Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • It is only because you know I am right. After the dirty deeds Ms have done over the last year or so, I find it even harder to trust MS.   
  • Go trust Android Central/iMore
  • I do not trust Android either, but at least I know what I signed up for when I got my phone and I do not do anything that important on my phone.  
  • Totally the wrong analogy in my opinion. The fox wants to break the hen house. I don't see why MS wants to do the same... Maybe I'm missing something!?
  • I have been using it for years in conjunction with Malware bytes. Perfectly happy.
  • This ^
    Perfect combination.
  • This is a really good combo.
  • It is, unless you have old, not too efficient laptop with 4GB of RAM. In my case, disabling Windows Defender and its Antimalware Executable proces, which was devouring my memory most of the time, has shortened up Android Studio startup time from one minute to like 15-20 seconds.
  • Windows Defender and windows firewall work great as long as you are smart about what you click on on the web. For those users that click on everything and don't know the difference between an official website and a fake one then those people need third party virus protection. I suggest Avira its light, clean, and offers good protection.
  • Yeah you may be right. But I don't think I need one. I update Windows Defender regularly. Also Windows Defender Guard is coming to Edge which means safe browsing on the safest browser(But I think only for Windows 10 Enterprise)
  • Are there really programs on the normal user level that protect against stupidity though? I realize they might catch most stuff, but some of the more sophisticated ones have to slip through if you are clicking on everything on the net.
  • Your statement is only partially correct. Nowadays you can get viruses, malware and ransomware even visiting legitimate websites when they get hacked (e.g. "drive by malware"); so even if you are conscientious about what you visit, you could still be hit. Personally I just use Windows Defender, but I do most of my internet browsing with IE + sandboxie. As long as you run sandboxie, you can even intentionally run viruses and they will be contained. You pay once, so no subscription fee, and it doesn't use much system resources since it's not active in the background. It's not compatible with Edge though.
  • Yea I want to amend my position on this over the last two years (and with indepth demos from MS) I will definitely say Windows Defender is all you need. MS has really swung for the fences with this product and with the power of their cloud behind it I would say hands down it's the best AV out there no matter what type of user you are.
  • I never understood why people on social media constantly make fun of windows defender, to me its the best antivirus\firewall out there, others slow down or even feeeze the computers, and its from the same maker as the OS!!! I love it
  • Same.
  • I have been using only wd on my laptop nd install programs from trusted publishers only and no issues till date. Loving it. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Yes. Many don't know about Windows Defender abilities. I suggest my friends to use only Windows Defender on their Windows 10 PCs.
  • They need something showy like plastic coated with nickel
  • Agreed!
  • I agree but it can get annoying for "expert" users-an AV is not really necessary, unless its a laptop you carry everywhere and let people interact with it in some way
  • I used to feel this way, but I don't believe is true anymore. Even legitimate websites can transmit viruses if their side isn't protected well.
  • thats why filtering web content is a common practice today, even legitimate websites as you say have little control over it, its an unfortunate situation that leaves users with no other option
  • Windows Defender is always using 100% disk for me and so I have it permanently disabled. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • It scans periodically the hard drive, it's perfectly normal. Do you have a slow and old mechanical hard drive? If yes, I suggest to upgrade to SSD.
  • I started using Windows defender since it came out, I never have any issue with it.
  • I use SEP 12.1 which takes the place of Defender.
  • Yes since Windows 7 (Microsoft essentials) till today only msft protection for my PC and its sufficient for me. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I accept Defender only as an additional safety instrument. In most tests and comparisons you find it at the end of the field so I use another programme. You can be super-smart, full of common sense but that doesn't mean you will never press a bad link or get an infected usb-stick.  I absolutely cannot understand how people can call it "the best". Is there any proof like the tests I mentioned who all tell the opposite?
  • I pair Defender with an ad block like adfender. Works like a charm so far!
  • I would like to turn off defender summary notifications when it does not need my attention. Microsoft forces us to even here sound even when it does not need my attention.
  • I have been using Windows defender for a couple years in place of Norton, and still haven't had any virus.
  • Yep, combined with Malwarebytes free as an on demand scanner and CCleaner is all you need if you are cautious. 
  • THIS ^ ^
  • I don't know if I only just started to notice it, or if the 1607 updated changed the behavior but Windows Defender appears to have a pretty big performance impact when I am working with file operations that involve thousands of files or at least hundreds of files on a magnetic hard drive. When I temporarily disable it, the operations happen a lot faster but before 1607 I didn't notice this. Has it started scanning more thoroughly? 
  • Depends on the type of scan you select. In my use it has always yielded power to any app or program that I am currently working with.
  • I fail to understand the reason for this article. Installing another AV will disable the real time scanning on Defender. This is an irresponsible article given people may just disable it without any other protection in place. Why not give some smart information in the article first?
  • So you didn't read the article?
  • Don't you know that Windows Defender can turn off automatically when it noticed any other AVs running? And don't you know that Windows Defender can even also scan at the midnight periodically to ensure that your computer can get the most?
  • After proper AV installed Defender will keep nagging if not disabled for good. That's new behavior in W10.
  • Actually it's quite the opposite. It automatically disable itself.
  • It will disable but then keep reminding being disabled. Not sure if AU changed that behavior.
  • I have Norton's installed and running with no issues for years, but after this last Win update, WD started working and has caused a real impact on browsing.  Turned it off and browser issue went away.
  • Why would you want to do that, unless you like paying annually for antivirus renewal which is really not that better than defender?!
  • No porn or torrents so defender has been fine for me and my household on three or four machines. Every once in a while I load Malwarebytes to see if I'm missing anything and we are always good to go. Don't do shady crap and be smart in what you click on.
  • DO NOT DO THIS unless you know what you are doing and why. Windows defender shuts off automatically when another anti whatever program installs anyway.
  • If only there was a stupidity protector
  • Why would anyone do that though?
  • The best free, the most light weighted and unobtrusive anti-virus on the planet. Credit where it is due, MS security team has done phenomenal job with this.
  • yes. UNLESS IT USES 100% OF YOUR DISK UNTIL 15 MIN AFTER STARTUP
  • Must be a bug with your system as mine doesn't do that
  • I have always used Windows defender & its superb for me. No viruses' at all. I update it every day. That's the important bit. Got a desktop ,laptop & a tablet.
  • Same
  • Actually for a standalone kiosk, why not just leave Windows Defender running? If the kiosk is already powerful enough to run Windows 10, I think it is unlikely leaving Windows Defender on will impact performance that much. 
  • I thought the example a little odd myself (and I have worked on kiosk applications). If Windows Defender is causing a noticeable performance hit for the kiosk, there is something seriously wrong with the machine.
  • Since I used Windows 8, I always enable windows Defender, and no more use AntiVirus, and so far until I use windows 10 I never have any will to disable it, its maybe not the best, but so far my Surface and my PC are in Clean and Good Condition with no virus and malware detected
  • Who the hell would want to turn off Windows Defender ?
  • Because Windows Defender is a piece of **** of anitvirus i always do it in any computer where i install Windows 10, i like to use my computer without any kind of antivirus.
  • Only useful for WC team so they have a new article
  • As absolutely insane as it sounds, you're forced to close Windows Defender just to access Microsofts PC gaming server. I just built a new PC and the GPU I bought came with a free game. The game being Gears of War 4, a MS exclusive, and thus you have to go through their XBL servers every single time just to get past the start screen. They're a load of geniouses, to have their AV system block their own servers, but w/e. Now, the parts I bought also came with a year membership from of Kaspersky's, Malwarebytes and CCleaner. Hey, problem solved, right? No. Kaspersky's has the same issue. Why should I install a third AV program, just to access MS's own servers? Which brings me to another thing; As a gamer, who has played MMO's for years, disabling your AV programs while connected to a secure server is a zero risk endeavor. Doing so prevents it from throttling your connection and eating resources. Even on a high end PC, you'll notice the difference. The days of needing to ALT+Tab are long over, with smart phones, so a gamer is free to devote their gaming machine to... GAMING.
  • For the people who need to deactivate this useless anti malware (it only keep blocked / screw up with many of the programs that i need, thing that even the Kaspersky don't do) : In some cases it appears disguised as "Endpoint Protection" at Local Group Policy Editor, but the steps are the same as described above.
  • Thanks so much this really helped because it kept deleting my fuzzbunch programs, which i can now have some fun with ;)
  • Hello guys. Can anyone throw some light on whitelisting IP address and URL in Windows Defender Firewall in Windows 10 Enterprise N. Please provide the step by step insructions as I am not a Computer expert. Thanks guys <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Anil</p>
  • What better company to know Windows attacks than Microsoft itself? I love how lightweight it is and is easily updated in the background. Plus, it's free! I'll never use any other program ever again.
  • I use Defender as my antivirus and run regular malware checks with Malwarebytes
  • Wow...2yr old article
  • I have been an It professional for over 40 yrs and since Defender has been included with Windows I have used nothing else and neither have most of my clients. To date, none of them have ever had a major malware or virus infection. The rare cases that have occurred have been due to user negligence in opening email attachments that never should have been opened. I have seen more problems caused by over zealous 'Internet Security' suites than have ever gotten through the protection provided by Defender. Anyone who practices proper security and has been taught how to keep their system clean and safe needs nothing more than Defender on their system.
  • And why would i want to do this? Defender and common sense are best protection you'll need
  • I continue to feel that Windows Central should not be producing guides for people who want to hack their systems in unsupported ways, particularly when it relates to security or privacy. It's borderline malpractice (if such a thing could exist for news sites). Windows Defender is automatically disabled if a supported third party AV solution is installed. That is the only circumstance in which this should occur.
  • I for one feel happy that WC provides these guides. We are not hacking the system, just opening up more features, to customize it to our needs and wants. These guides are a great help for this. Granted, with some internet searching you can find similar guides on the internet but I like them being here. Just my 2ct.
  • Since the days of Windows 8, then Windows 10, I have never seen the need for a third party solution. Windows Defender stays on by default. Have never had a virus or malware on my SP3 in the past 4 years.
  • First of all the claim that it turns itself off for even the listed third party virus packages is a complete falsehood. Every update it's the same battle between the good third party software and the poorly designed Windows package ensues slowing down the internet to almost dsl rates.
    Then it has to be done all over again to get back your normal internet speed.
    I get that they do not want us to use third party on this, but at least quit lying about it here.
  • Old article recycled so WC can add some advertising/affiliate links at the bottom
  • Have to start calling this place and it's sister sites Ad Central. The content has really been getting worse lately.
  • WC has more reruns than the networks do.
  • Most machines I came across that were trashed were protected by McAfee.
    Windows defender is great protection
    It would be foolish to disable it. You can tweak performance issues using exceptions if a real time scan is checking a file that slows things down
  • Windows defender is the best option in Windows 10, If its working well, For which you must have to activate your windows with a legal license code. Actually after activation, operating system connects with Microsoft official server to get all updates and automatically fix all bugs and crashes, But all you need is to activate your OS, For which I recommend to buy cheap product keys from WinRaz, Which is offering legit activation keys. I tried it myself that's why will recommend it for others.
  • Is this website antiMicrosoft?
  • Yet another 3 year old article, recycled for the 2nd time.
  • That is what I thought, checked the date and I am like I have heard this before years ago, look at the bright side, we responded to his click bait., so it worked
  • Third time now.
  • Why would you wan't to do that? So it can't stop you from sabotaging your own computer by deleberately introducing malware yourself?
  • because I want to remove that pajeet crаp that is slowing down my super expensive and fast PC. Because this street shittеrs ware doesn't work
  • Those are words of angry mob over his "super expensive"
    It's all good, you have rights. Wonder what you will say if and when your "super expensive and fast PC" get infected?
    If you are planning to use 3rd party solution, then what is your boggle?
  • Windows Defender AV is supposed to turn off its periodic scans of all files when another AV program is installed, but it does not do so and cannot be stopped. WHAT CAN I DO?
  • I really want to help you, but the site has coded it, not letting me post youtube's link. I have encountered similar situation, and would like to share it with you. However ... feel disappointed with this website :).
  • Use the include Windows software. Arguably one of the best on the market and free
  • I understand many of you keep saying "why disable Windows Defender". My intention is to have Windows Defender activated, but after YEARS, now I discover Windows Defender Real Time protection is the culprit that causes my Surface Pro 4 fan going crazy and neves stops! Surface is running hot for hours, all because Windows Defender! The only way I found to fix this problem is turning off WD.
  • Windows Defender for AV and Malwarebytes for Malware is a good combo. Especially, now that now Windows Defender meets "Endpoint Protection Status". And, I am a Certified IT Pro
  • PSA: This doesn't work anymore. Starting with Windows 10 20H2 update, Defender keeps on turning itself back on no matter what I do after a minor update. You have to manually disable it through a 3rd party software after each update, so typical of Microsoft. Never liked Windows Defender since the very beginning, flags a lot of my Non-English Files and Software as a Virus or Malware. The DRM shoving down people's throats is unbearable and absolutely abominable. Also, it has PROVEN to be completely useless against intentional hardware hijacking or malware attacks. Defender is the first thing I disable when I install Windows, even if it means installing a bunch of 3rd party software.
  • It's a fairly old article, I do wish Mauro would have updated it to state what has changed over time (if not, include the reason for the repost - as it's fairly obvious it's a repost from the old comments) and included the odd behaviour some like yourself have experienced.
  • The article should state at the top the consequences of following it. I.e. it will remove virus protection and make your PC a lot more likely to security attacks. If users install another AV then defender is automatically disabled. If users follow this guide, they have no protection. This should be not recommended for 99.9999% of users.
  • Totally agree - that caveat should have been added.
  • It was deliberated done so to drive traffic here.
    I bet most folks saw the article title and said to themselves; What on earth is this author thinking?
    If that addendum was written with the title, most folks who say he is pitching a different AV and most would likely say who cares.
    So, I called this deliberate click bait., what a shame
  • how bout stop regurgitating old articles. I swear AC, WC and iMore are the laziest (i can't use writers or journalists, that's being way too kind) "article posters" I have ever seen. if you can't write a New article or are too lazy to write a new article, please quit your job.
  • If you keep good practice when using your PC you don't need any antimalware. I've used my PC since Windows 8.1 with just the built in Windows firewall and never had a malware infection
  • Article title "How to permanently disable Microsoft Defender Antivirus on Windows 10" Last sentence from the same article "This is not a permanent solution" I hate click baits...