How to Enable or Disable Microsoft Defender in Windows 11

Since quite some time, Microsoft has included Windows Defender (now known as Windows Security) with Windows PCs. Since its introduction, the programme has developed into the industry standard for fundamental virus defence on Windows computers. Users with outdated hardware, however, can discover that Windows Defender consumes a significant portion of their meagre system resources. Here’s how to turn off Windows Defender in Windows 11 whether you’re attempting to speed up Windows 11, reduce system stress, or are just tired of Microsoft’s security programme.

Disable Windows Defender in Windows 11 (2022)

In Windows 11, there are three ways to turn off Windows Defender (Windows Security). Although accessing Windows Settings is the simplest method, it is only a temporary solution; following a reboot, Microsoft will immediately enable Windows Security. Check the steps involving Group Policy Editor and Registry Editor if you want to permanently disable the Windows Security application. Let’s go on to the instructions now that that has been cleared up.

Disable Microsoft Defender from Windows 11 Settings (Temporary)

Using the Windows 11 keyboard shortcut Win+I, launch the Settings programme, then select the Privacy & security tab from the left sidebar. Select Windows Security from the Security section.

2. Then, select Open Windows Security from the menu. The Windows Security programme will launch on your Windows 11 computer in a separate window.

3. The Windows Security home screen will now appear. Select the Virus & threat protection link here.

4. To modify Windows Defender on Windows 11, select Manage settings under the Virus & threat protection options section.

5. To temporarily turn off Windows Defender on your Windows 11 computer, disable the Real-time protection toggle and the other toggles on this page.

Disable Microsoft Defender via Group Policy Editor on Windows 11 (Permanent)

When you use the Windows 11 Settings app to disable Windows Defender, Microsoft will automatically re-enable it after a reboot, as was already explained. On the other hand, you can utilise Group Policy Editor to make a modification that will remain after a reboot. If you’re running Windows 11 Home, see our linked instructions to installing Group Policy Editor.

1. Disable Tamper Protection in the Windows Security programme before beginning. To access this toggle, just follow the directions above. Toggle this option, as you may remember, by going to Windows Security -> Virus & threat protection ->Manage settings.

2. After turning off tamper protection, open a Run window by pressing Win+R, then type gpedit.msc to launch the Group Policy Editor.

3. Click twice on Turn off Microsoft Defender Antivirus in the right pane by navigating to the following path.

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

4.Click OK to apply the changes after selecting Enabled from the following pop-up box. After that, restart your Windows 11 computer. Following a system restart, Windows Defender will no longer be active. Choose Disabled and press OK to reactivate Defender using Group Policy Editor.

Disable Microsoft Defender using Registry Editor on Windows 11 (Permanent)

Through the Registry Editor, Windows Defender can also be disabled. To remove Windows Defender from your Windows 11 computer, simply follow the steps listed below.

1. To start the software with administrative rights, press the Windows key once, type Registry Editor, and then select Run as administrator.

2. Select New -> DWORD (32-bit) Value from the context menu when you right-click Windows Defender in the left sidebar. It need to be called DisableAntiSpyware.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender

3. Double-click DisableAntiSpyware and adjust the value data to 1 by double-clicking it. Press OK when you’re finished.

4. In a similar manner, you must add fresh DWORD values to the following elements in the appropriate places.

[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
"DisableScanOnRealtimeEnable" dword:1
"DisableRealtimeMonitoring" dword:1

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender\Signature Updates]

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender\Spynet]
"DisableBlockAtFirstSeen" dword:1

5. If you’re unsure of how to make new folders in the Registry editor, all you have to do is right-click the parent Windows Defender directory and select New -> Key.

6. Using the approach shown earlier, you can now give the key a name. Create the DWORD values DisableBehaviorMonitoring, DisableOnAccessProtection, DisableScanOnRealtimeEnable, and DisableRealtimeMonitoring inside the folder Real-Time Protection, for instance, if you have given it that name. You can also use these pre-made REG files from the Winaero team.

Re-enable Microsoft Defender on Your Windows 11 PC

Here’s how to reactivate Microsoft Defender on a PC running Windows 11 if you’re interested in learning how to do it:

Using the Windows 11 keyboard shortcut Win+I, launch the Settings programme, and then select the Privacy & security tab from the left sidebar. Select Windows Security from the Security area at this time.

2. Click the Open Windows Security button when the Windows Security page displays. Now, a separate window will open with the Windows Security programme.

3. The Windows Security home screen will now appear. Click on the section marked “Virus & threat protection” here.

4. To reactivate Windows Defender on Windows 11, select Manage settings under the Virus & threat protection options section.

5. To restore Windows Defender’s protection on your Windows 11 PC, enable the Real-time protection toggle in addition to the other toggles on this page.

Third-party Tool to Enable/ Disable Windows Defender

There is a programme called Defender Control that allows you to enable or disable Microsoft Windows Defender with a single click if you don’t want to go through all of these steps to manage Windows Defender every time. How to begin going is as follows:

1. Click the Download button on the Sordum website to download Defender Control. To extract the package, you will need a password, and it is sordum (no quotes).

2. To add Defender Control as an exclusion, open the virus & threat protection settings page in Windows Security, scroll to the bottom, and click the Add or remove exclusions option. This step is necessary to avoid having Windows Security flag the software as a false positive.

3. On the following window, click the Add an exclusion button and enter the location of the installation folder for Defender Control. After doing so, launch Defender Control from its folder without seeing any false positive notifications.

4. This is how Defender Control appears. As you can see, using this application gives you a one-click way to enable or disable Windows Defender on Windows 11. For more precise controls, you might also take a look at DefenderUI (see website).

Remove Microsoft Windows Defender from Windows 11

So that’s how you can permanently uninstall Windows Defender from Windows 11! Unless you already have an alternative antivirus programme or malware cleanup solution for Windows 11, we won’t advise you to disable Windows Defender. If you don’t already have one, you can browse our related guide to choose one that works for you. Additionally, you can think about debloating Windows 11 to enhance performance while you’re at it.