Microsoft has been shipping Windows Defender (rebranded to Windows Security) in Windows PCs for quite a while now. Ever since its inception, the software has evolved to become a definitive suite for basic virus protection on Windows machines. However, users with low-end hardware might find that Windows Defender takes a chunk of their limited system resources. Whether you are trying to reduce system workload, speed up Windows 11, or simply want to get rid of Microsoft’s security solution, here’s how you can disable Windows Defender in Windows 11.
Disable Windows Defender in Windows 11 (2022)
There are three methods to disable Windows Defender (Windows Security) in Windows 11. While the easiest way is through the Windows Settings, it is a temporary measure, and Microsoft will automatically enable Windows Security after a reboot. If you wish to permanently disable the Windows Security program, check the instructions involving Group Policy Editor and Registry Editor. With that out of the way, let’s get to the instructions.
Disable Microsoft Defender from Windows 11 Settings (Temporary)
1. Open the Settings app using the Windows 11 keyboard shortcut “Win+I” and switch to the “Privacy & security” tab from the left sidebar. Under the “Security” section, click on “Windows Security”.
2. Up next, click on “Open Windows Security”. Your Windows 11 PC will open the Windows Security app in a dedicated window.
3. You will now see Windows Security’s home screen. Here, click on the “Virus & threat protection” option.
4. Under the “Virus & threat protection settings” section, click on “Manage settings” to reconfigure Windows Defender on Windows 11.
5. Now, disable the “Real-time protection” toggle and other toggles on this page to temporarily disable Windows Defender on your Windows 11 PC.
Disable Microsoft Defender via Group Policy Editor on Windows 11 (Permanent)
As mentioned above, after a reboot, Microsoft will automatically re-enable Windows Defender when you use the Windows 11 Settings app to disable it. However, you can use Group Policy Editor to make a permanent change that persists even after reboot. In case you are using Windows 11 Home, check our linked guide to get Group Policy Editor on Windows 11 Home.
1. Before starting, you should disable “Tamper Protection” from the Windows Security app. You can follow the steps outlined above to reach this toggle. To recall, you will find this toggle under Windows Security -> Virus & threat protection ->Manage settings.
2. Having disabled tamper protection, open a Run window using the keyboard shortcut “Win+R” and type “gpedit.msc” to open the Group Policy Editor.
3. Navigate to the following path and double-click on “Turn off Microsoft Defender Antivirus” in the right pane.
Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Microsoft Defender Antivirus
4. From the next pop-up window, select “Enabled” and click “OK” to apply the changes. Once done, restart your Windows 11 PC. Windows Defender will no longer run after the system restart. To re-enable Defender through Group Policy Editor, you should choose “Disabled” and hit “OK”.
Disable Microsoft Defender using Registry Editor on Windows 11 (Permanent)
Another way of disabling Windows Defender is through the Registry Editor. Follow the steps below to get rid of Windows Defender on your Windows 11 machine.
1. Press the Windows key once, type “Registry Editor”, and choose “Run as administrator” to open the program with elevated privileges.
2. Navigate to the following path, right-click Windows Defender in the left sidebar, and choose New -> DWORD (32-bit) Value. You should name it “DisableAntiSpyware”.
3. Double-click “DisableAntiSpyware” and set its value data to “1”. Once you are done, press OK.
4. Similarly, you should create new DWORD values for the following items in their respective locations.
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender] "DisableAntiSpyware" dword:1 "DisableRealtimeMonitoring" dword:1 "DisableAntiVirus" dword:1 "DisableSpecialRunningModes" dword:1 "DisableRoutinelyTakingAction" dword:1 "ServiceKeepAlive" dword:0 [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender\Real-Time Protection] "DisableBehaviorMonitoring" dword:1 "DisableOnAccessProtection"dword:1 "DisableScanOnRealtimeEnable" dword:1 "DisableRealtimeMonitoring" dword:1 [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender\Signature Updates] "ForceUpdateFromMU"dword:0 [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender\Spynet] "DisableBlockAtFirstSeen" dword:1
5. In case you are wondering how you can create new folders within Registry editor, all you have to do is right-click the parent “Windows Defender” directory and choose New -> Key.
6. You can then name the key based on the path given above. For example, if you have named the folder “Real-Time Protection”, you should create the following DWORD values – “DisableBehaviorMonitoring”, “DisableOnAccessProtection”, “DisableScanOnRealtimeEnable”, and “DisableRealtimeMonitoring” within this folder. Alternatively, you can use these readymade REG files from the folks at Winaero.
Re-enable Microsoft Defender on Your Windows 11 PC
If you are interested in learning how to re-enable Microsoft Defender on your Windows 11 computer, here’s how you can do it:
1. Open the Settings app using the Windows 11 keyboard shortcut “Win+I” and click on the “Privacy & security” tab from the left sidebar. Now, select “Windows Security” under the “Security” section.
2. When the Windows Security page appears, click the “Open Windows Security” button. The Windows Security app will now open in a dedicated window.
3. You will now see Windows Security’s home screen. Here, click on the “Virus & threat protection” section.
4. Under the “Virus & threat protection settings” section, click on “Manage settings” to re-enable Windows Defender on Windows 11.
5. Now, enable the “Real-time protection” toggle alongside other toggles on this page to get Windows Defender’s protection back on your Windows 11 PC.
Third-party Tool to Enable/ Disable Windows Defender
If you don’t want to go through all these steps to manage Microsoft Windows Defender every time, there exists a utility called Defender Control that lets you enable or disable Defender with a single click. Here’s how to get started:
1. Download Defender Control from Sordum’s website by clicking the “Download” button. You will need a password to extract the package, and the password is “sordum” without quotes.
2. Open the “virus & threat protection settings” page in Windows Security, scroll down to the bottom, and click on the “Add or remove exclusions” option to add Defender Control as an exclusion. This step is required so that Windows Security doesn’t report the program as false positive.
3. From the next page, click the “Add an exclusion” button and add the path of Defender Control’s installation folder. Once you have done that, run Defender Control from its folder without false positive alerts.
4. Here’s what Defender Control looks like. As you can see, you get a one-click solution to enable or disable Windows Defender on Windows 11 with this application. Meanwhile, you could also check out DefenderUI (visit website) for granular controls.
Remove Microsoft Windows Defender from Windows 11
So that’s how you can remove Windows Defender from Windows 11 for good. We won’t recommend you disable Windows Defender unless you have alternate antivirus software or malware removal tool for Windows 11. In case you don’t have one, you can go through our linked guide and pick one that suits your needs. While you’re at it, you could also consider debloating Windows 11 to improve performance.