How to turn off Windows Defender

Windows Defender comes preinstalled and activated on all new devices that are equipped with the Windows 10 operating system. Defender is Microsoft’s own antivirus program and can be located under the name “Windows Security” in newer versions of Windows 10. Independent tests of antivirus programs have recently shown that Windows Defender performs surprisingly well and can even hold its own against competitors like Avira, McAfee or Kaspersky.

But not every user is necessarily a fan of Microsoft’s free antivirus program. Many people who, for years, have counted on the products of other providers to protect their computers from malware and viruses, will likely want to continue to use them on their Windows 10 devices. However, before you go ahead and install any other programs to fend off viruses, Trojan horses and malware, it’s important to disable Windows Defender.

What Windows Defender is used for

Windows Defender is Microsoft’s own virus protection and is available for all versions of the operating system – from Windows Vista and Windows 7 to Windows 10. In the current version of Windows 10, the security software comes pre-installed and can be adjusted from the “Windows Security” settings section.

Windows Security or Windows Defender offers users reliable protection from viruses, Trojan horses, malware, adware, ransomware, rootkits, phishing and other online attacks. The Defender runs real-time protection, automatically downloads the latest updates depending on the threat situation, provides options to securely start the PC, and enables users to set up monitored folders. What’s more, users can also configure personalized family settings to protect their children from harmful content on the internet.


The following tutorial describes how you can disable Windows Defender in Windows 10. Older operating systems work similarly but the menu structures may vary to some degree.

How to turn off Windows Defender step-by-step

If you’d like to use a different antivirus program than Windows Defender, you’ll need to turn off Windows Defender which is automatically activated in Windows 10. But don’t disable Defender unless you have another antivirus program ready to be installed. That’s because without active anti-virus protection, you’re exposed to a massive security risk.

It’s also not advisable to run multiple antivirus programs at the same time. Many security programs are not compatible with one anotherand block each other’s protective features when used simultaneously. If you want to switch to another provider’s product, turn off all Windows Defender features as follows:

  1. Open the Windows Security Center via the following pathway:
    Click on the Windows logo, then on the cog icon, followed by the “Update & Security” section and select “Windows Security” in the left tab. Then open Windows Defender.
  2. In the main “Windows Security” menu, select “Virus & threat protection”. Next, click on “Manage settings” under “Settings for virus & threat protection”.
  1. Disable each of the sliders for “Real-time protection”, “Cloud-delivered protection”, “Automatic sample submission” and “Tamper Protection” by clicking on them. These security features are now deactivated and your PC is no longer protected.
  1. After you have deactivated the virus and threat protection of Windows Defender, you will also need to disable the Firewall. To do this, select the “Firewall & network protection” menu item on the left side of the security centre.
  1. Click on “Advanced settings”. You will now see the advanced settings of the Windows Defender firewall in a separate window. After right-clicking on the menu item “Windows Defender Firewall” in the left main menu, select “Properties”.
  1. In the first “Properties” tab – called “Domain Profile” – you will find the firewall status in the upper section. This should still be set to “On (recommended)”. Click on the drop-down menu for the firewall status and select “Off” instead. Next, click on “Apply” in the bottom-right part of the window. The Windows Defender firewall is now disabled. Since your PC is no longer running active protection programs, you should immediately restart it to install and set up your new antivirus program.