Microsoft has been shipping Windows Defender (renamed Windows Security) on Windows PCs for some time now. Since its inception, the software has developed into the definitive suite for basic virus protection on Windows machines. However, users with low-end hardware may find that Windows Defender is taking up some of their limited system resources. Whether you’re trying to reduce system workload, speed up Windows 11, or just want to get rid of Microsoft’s security solutions, here’s how you can disable Windows Defender in Windows 11.
Disable Windows Defender in Windows 11 (2022)
There are three methods for disabling Windows Defender in Windows 11. While the easiest way is through Windows Settings, this is a temporary measure, and Microsoft will automatically enable Windows Security upon reboot. If you want to permanently disable the Windows Security program, check out the instructions involving the Group Policy Editor and Registry Editor. With that said, let’s get to the hint.
Disable Microsoft Defender from Windows 11 Settings (Temporarily)
1. Open the Settings app using the Windows 11 keyboard shortcut “Win+I” and switch to “Privacy & security” tab from left sidebar. Under the “Security” section, click “Windows Security”.
2. Next, click “Open Windows Security”. Your Windows 11 PC will open the Windows Security application in a special window.
3. You will now see the Windows Security home screen. Here, click the “Virus & threat protection” option.
4. Under the “Virus & threat protection settings” section, click “Manage settings” to reconfigure Windows Defender on Windows 11.
5. Now, disable the “Real time protection” switch and other switches on this page to temporarily disable Windows Defender on your Windows 11 PC.
Disable Microsoft Defender via Group Policy Editor in Windows 11 (Permanently)
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 the Group Policy Editor to make permanent changes that persist even after a reboot. If you are using Windows 11 Home, check out our linked guide to get Group Policy Editor in Windows 11 Home.
1. Before starting, You have to disable “Tamper Protection” from Windows Security app. You can follow the steps outlined above to achieve this switch. To remember, you’ll find these switches below Windows Security -> Virus & threat protection -> Manage settings.
2. After disabling tamper protection, open a Run window using the keyboard shortcut “Win+R” and type “gpedit.msc” to open 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. After it finishes, restart your Windows 11 PC. Windows Defender will no longer run after a system restart. To re-enable Defender via the Group Policy Editor, you need to select “Disabled” and press “OK”.
Disable Microsoft Defender using Registry Editor in Windows 11 (Permanently)
Another way to disable 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 select “Run as administrator” to open a program with elevated privileges.
2. Navigate to the following path, right-click Windows Defender in the left sidebar, and choose New -> DWORD Value (32-bit). You should name it “DisableAntiSpyware”.
3. Double click “DisableAntiSpyware” and set value data to “1”. Once you are done, press OK.
4. Similarly, you must create new DWORD values for the following items in their respective locations.
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREPoliciesMicrosoftWindows Defender] "DisableAntiSpyware" dword:1 "DisableRealtimeMonitoring" dword:1 "DisableAntiVirus" dword:1 "DisableSpecialRunningModes" dword:1 "DisableRoutinelyTakingAction" dword:1 "ServiceKeepAlive" dword:0 [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREPoliciesMicrosoftWindows DefenderReal-Time Protection] "DisableBehaviorMonitoring" dword:1 "DisableOnAccessProtection"dword:1 "DisableScanOnRealtimeEnable" dword:1 "DisableRealtimeMonitoring" dword:1 [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREPoliciesMicrosoftWindows DefenderSignature Updates] "ForceUpdateFromMU"dword:0 [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREPoliciesMicrosoftWindows DefenderSpynet] "DisableBlockAtFirstSeen" dword:1
5. If you are wondering how you can create a new folder within the Registry editor, all you have to do is right-click the parent directory “Windows Defender” and select New -> Lock.
6. You can then name the key based on the path given above. For example, if you named the folder “Real Time Protection”, you should create the following DWORD values - “DisableBehaviorMonitoring”, “DisableOnAccessProtection”, “DisableScanOnRealtimeEnable”, and “DisableRealtimeMonitoring” in this folder. Or, you can use this ready-made REG files from people at Vienna.
Re-enable Microsoft Defender on your Windows 11 PC
If you’re interested in learning how to re-enable Microsoft Defender on your Windows 11 computer, here’s how to do it:
1. Open the Settings app using the Windows 11 keyboard shortcut “Win + I” and click 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 application will now open in a special window.
3. You will now see the Windows Security home screen. Here, click on the “Virus & threat protection” section.
4. Under the “Virus & threat protection settings” section, click “Manage settings” to re-enable Windows Defender in Windows 11.
5. Now, enable the “Real time protection” switch next to other switches on this page to get Windows Defender protection back on your Windows 11 PC.
Third Party Tools to Enable/Disable Windows Defender
If you don’t want to go through all these steps to manage Microsoft Windows Defender every time, there is a utility called Defender Control that lets you enable or disable Defender with one click. Here’s how to get started:
1. Download Defender Control from the Sordum website by clicking the “Download” button. You will need a password to extract the package, and password is “sordum” without quotes.
2. Go to the “virus & threat protection settings” page in Windows Security, scroll down to the bottom, and click on “Add or remove exceptions” option to add Defender Control as an exception. This step is necessary to prevent Windows Security from reporting programs as false positives.
3. From the next page, click “Add exception” button and add the path of the Defender Control installation folder. Once you’ve done that, run Defender Control from its folder without any false positive warnings.
4. This is how the Defender Control looks. As you can see, you get a one-click solution to enable or disable Windows Defender in Windows 11 with this app. Meanwhile, you can also see DefenderUI (visit website) for granular control.
Remove Microsoft Windows Defender from Windows 11
So that’s how you can remove Windows Defender from Windows 11 for good. We would not recommend that you disable Windows Defender unless you have an alternative antivirus software or malware removal tool for Windows 11. If you don’t have one, you can read our linked guide and choose one that suits your needs. While you are at it, you may also consider uninstalling Windows 11 to improve performance.