Windows Defender is the native antivirus that comes activated on any Windows 10 computer. However, although it is a security tool that has greatly improved in recent years, the fact that it is always activated can be a problem for us. Worst of all, there doesn’t seem to be any button or shortcut to disable it, so it doesn’t seem like a very easy task.
How to disable Windows Defender completely
The first thing we have to mention is that Windows Defender does not have a deactivation button for a fairly obvious reason: it is the last retaining wall that the operating system offers between viruses and our computer.
However, at some point we may need to disable Windows Defender, either because we need to install a program that conflicts with the antivirus or for any other reason. In this case, we have 3 solutions to fulfill our mission.
Install a new antivirus (quick and easy)
If the only thing that interests us is to get rid of Windows Defender, we should know that it will be automatically deactivated if we install any other antivirus on our PC. If our intention is simply to have an antivirus that is more flexible than the one that comes by default in Windows 10, it is enough to install any other security application on the computer, such as AVG or Malwarebytes.
Disable Windows Defender using group policies
Now, we must also be clear that there is no possibility to eliminate or uninstall Windows Defender, since it is integrated within Windows 10 itself. What we can do, however, is disable it. Thus, even if the antivirus engine is still present, for practical purposes it will be as if it did not exist (it will not detect any threat or perform any real-time scanning).
If we have a version of Windows 10 Professional, Enterprise or Education, we can disable Microsoft’s native antivirus by modifying a local group policy. To do this, we will follow the following steps:
- We write “Edit group policy” in Cortana or we press the “Win” + R key and we write the msc command. This will open the Windows policy editor.
- We will navigate to “Local Computer Policy> Computer Configuration> Administrative Templates> Windows Components> Windows Defender Antivirus”.
- Then, in the window on the right, we will double-click on “Deactivate Windows Defender antivirus”.
- This will open a new window. In it, we will check the “Enabled” box and click on “Apply” to save the changes.
Then, if we restart the computer we will see how Windows Defender is completely disabled. Of course, if we do not want to be exposed to possible security problems, it is recommended to reactivate it or install a new antivirus as soon as possible.
Disable Windows Defender from registry editor
If our computer works under Windows 10 Home Edition we will not be able to use local group policies. Therefore, we will have to resort to our last alternative, which is to edit the Windows Registry.
We are dealing with a very delicate management, so it is recommended to make a backup of the registry before making any changes.
- We write “Registry Editor” in Cortana or we press the “Win” + R key and we write the regedit command. This will open the editor of the Windows Registry.
- We navigate to “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE> SOFTWARE> Policies> Microsoft> Windows Defender”.
- Now, we right click on the “Windows Defender” folder and select “New -> DWORD Value (32 bits)”.
- This will bring up a new value in the window on the right. We can name it “DisableAntiSpyware” (right click on the value and “change name”).
- Right-clicking on “DisableAntiSpyware” click on “Modify” and change the value from 0 to 1. Select “OK” to save the changes.
To finish, we restart the computer and we will see that now yes, Windows Defender antivirus is completely disabled. If at any time we want to go back and activate it again, just go back to the registry editor and delete the value (DisableAntiSpyware) that we just created.