If you have Windows 10 installed on your PC, most likely you have not felt the need to install a new antivirus, given the presence of Windows Defender, which is “stock” installed anti-malware software in newer versions of the Microsoft operating system. It is identified by industry experts as one of the best in the free sector and guarantees constant protection, also thanks to its perfect integration with the operating system.
If, however, you have ended up on this guide, it is because you have decided to disable it or replace it with another antivirus. Did I guess? So allow me to help you achieve your goal: in fact, I will show you all the necessary steps to disable Windows Defender Windows 10 in all typical use scenarios. It will be my care to show you how to disable the software for a short period of time, how to add folders or files to the exceptions (so that they are not scanned), how to permanently disable it and, in the last chapters, I will show you how to disable other elements security features on Windows 10, which you may not like.
Before going ahead, however, I have to make you a dutiful recommendation: disable Windows Defender and the other elements only if you are sure of what you are about to do and if you have the possibility to replace it, in the very short term, with another security software. Leaving your computer "uncovered" and defenseless, in fact, could make you vulnerable to viruses, spyware or other more "serious" malware of other types (for example ransomware, those viruses that make files inaccessible without paying a ransom): don't say I didn't warn you! At this point, there is nothing left for me to do but wish you good reading and good work.
How to Disable Windows Defender on Windows 10 Momentarily
It is your intention I will momentarily discuss Windows Defender your Windows 10, so you can restore it later, then this is the section of the tutorial for you. In fact, below I will show you how to disable the software for a short period of time and, later, how to add some files (or folders) to its exceptions, so as to exclude them from real-time scanning and scheduled scans.
Disable the Antivirus Temporarily
To disable Windows Defender temporarily, click on the button Start of Windows 10 (the icon in the shape of pennant located in the lower left corner of the screen) and presses the symbol ⚙️ (located in the left menu bar) to open the Settings of system.
In the new window displayed on the screen, presses on the item Update and security, select the voice Windows security from the left sidebar, then click the entry Virus and threat protection located in the center of the screen.
At this point, fai clic sulla voce Manage settings collocata sotto the dicitura Virus and threat protection settings and, to disable Windows Defender protection, move to OFF all the levers on the page (Real-time protection, Protection provided by the in cloud e Automatic sending of sample files).
To conclude and make the changes effective, confirm your willingness to proceed by answering affirmatively to the security windows that will appear. If all went well, Defender should have been disabled and, as a confirmation, you should also see a notification at the bottom right (a warning about the absence of virus and threat protection).
However, these changes are not permanent: the protection offered by Windows Defender will be activated again, automatically, after a few minutes or in the event of a system restart.
In any case, if you wish, you can restart the antivirus "manually" at any time, taking you back to the screen relating to the Virus and threat protection that I indicated to you a little while ago by clicking on the button Manage settings and activating the levers again Real-time protection, Cloud-Provided Protection e Automatic sending of sample files.
Do you have any folders or files that you would like to skip the antivirus scan? Instead of disabling the antivirus, you can proceed more precisely (and without compromising security too much) by setting exceptions for folders (or files) to be excluded from scanning.
To do this, go back to Settings> Update & Security> Windows Security as I showed you just now, click on the items Virus and threat protection e Virus and threat protection settingsfinally, scroll down the page until you find the item Add or remove exclusions.
In this section, press the button [+] Add an exclusion and select the element to add, chosen from a fillet, a folder, a specific type of file or process. In the first two cases, you have to select the file or folder you don't want to be scanned, via the File Explorer which opens immediately after.
Scegliendo, invece, l'opzione File type, You will be asked to indicate the extension to be added to the exceptions: when you're done, presses the button Add to confirm the changes. Finally, in the case of a Process, you must specify the name of the process to exclude from the scan and click on the button Add.
If you intend to remove the exceptions added earlier, please refer to the section Settings> Update & Security> Windows Security> Virus and threat protection > Virus and threat protection settings of Defender, as I showed you a moment ago, scroll down to the section on exclusions, then click on the exception of your interest and on the button Remove which appears immediately after.
How to Disable Windows Defender on Windows 10 Permanently
If Windows Defender isn't your thing, you can install another antivirus. Defender will automatically disable itself, leaving the new software to protect your PC. If, on the other hand, you want to completely disable Defender without installing other antivirus, know that this operation - as well as being highly discouraged for obvious security reasons - is officially impossible. In fact, starting from August 2020, with the release of Windows Defender 4.18.2007.8, Microsoft removed it.
At the moment there are a couple of "tricks" that still seem to work, but they are not recommended to be practiced and may stop working at any moment. Here they are.
- Defender Control - it is a small free utility that allows you to disable Windows Defender. You can download it by connecting to this page and run without any installation. To use it, simply click on the button Disable Windows Defender. To make it effective, however, you must first disable the Tamper protection from the menu Virus and threat protection> Manage settings di Windows security.
- Group Policy Editor - if you are using a Pro or Enterprise edition of Windows 10, you can also disable Windows Defender via theGroup Policy Editor, which you can call up by pressing the combination Win + R and giving the command gpedit.msc in the box that opens. In the next window, go to the path Local Computer Policy> Computer Configuration> Administrative Templates> Windows Components> Microsoft Defender Antivirus, double-click the key Disable Microsoft Defender Antivirus, check the box Activated I awarded her OK. Again, to make everything work you have to disable the Tamper protection from the menu Virus and threat protection> Manage settings di Windows security.
On previous versions it was possible to permanently disable the integrated protection by intervening on the Windows registry. How? I'll explain it to you right away. First, press the key combination Win + R on the keyboard, so as to call up the panel Esegui ... and, in the text field inside it, type the command regedit followed by pressing the button Submit. If necessary, press the button Yes to confirm the subsequent system security request.
Once you have entered the Windows registry, that is the part of the system where the entire configuration of the same is stored, access the key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE SOFTWARE Policies Microsoft Windows Defender using the navigation bar located on the left (you can expand the folders by clicking on the button > placed next to each of them). Once in the appropriate key, right click on an empty spot in the right panel of the window and select the items New > valore DWORD (32 bit) give the menu to compare.
At this point, point to the word DisableAntiSpyware How name, double click on the newly created key, specify the value 1 in the appropriate field that appears on the screen and press the button Submit on the keyboard. To confirm the changes, restart your computer.
If you have followed all the steps correctly, Windows Defender will be permanently disabled and you will receive several notifications related to this "problem". For further confirmation, go to Settings > Update and security > Windows security > Virus and threat protection: if everything went as expected, Windows Defender should be disabled or inaccessible (and, consequently, unable to restart automatically), with the accompanying words "Virus and threat protection is managed by your organization".
Have you turned off Windows Defender and are looking for security software that can best protect your computer's security? In this case, I suggest you read my guide on the best antivirus for Windows 10 or, if you don't want to shell out a single euro, my in-depth analysis on the best free antivirus for Windows 10.
If you have an afterthought and want to activate Windows Defender again, open Registry Editor again and delete the key DisableAntiSpyware that you created earlier, by right clicking on it and then selecting item Delete from the menu that appears. When you're done, restart your computer, go back to Settings> Update & Security> Windows Security> Virus & threat protection and presses the button Restart placed at the top.
Please note: if your intention is to replace Windows Defender with another antivirus, know that the procedure described above should be superfluous, as following the installation of new antivirus, Windows will automatically disable Defender.
Come Disattivare Windows Defender SmartScreen
Among the elements that make up the Windows 10 security system, it is also present Windows Defender SmartScreen, the component that analyzes the Store apps, websites and installation software running on your computer, checking if they are certified or not. Usually this is a very useful protection system, however it could be “annoying” if you try to install numerous non-certified programs.
If you decide to cancel SmartScreen's protection for this reason, pay close attention to what you do, as your computer may be compromised by undetected (or undetected in time) threats: never forget!
That said, to completely disable SmartScreen, open the menu Start Windows 10, click on the icon ⚙️ located in the sidebar and access the section Update and security > Windows security > Browser app control; once in the dedicated window, put the check mark next to the item Disabled in correspondence with the items Check apps and files, SmartScreen per Microsoft Edge e SmartScreen for Microsoft Store apps.
From now on, SmartScreen will no longer intervene when you download new files or apps from the Microsoft Store, as well as it will not carry out checks on the websites you visit with Microsoft Edge. To reactivate this protection, simply take yourself to the same section I showed you a little while ago and activate the entries this time Reject, so as to restart notifications in case of suspected threats.
How to Disable Windows Defender Firewall
Among the most effective security tools on Windows, it undoubtedly stands out Windows Firewall, a system that prevents malicious people and viruses from entering your computer and taking control of it by exploiting the Internet. Disabling it is never a wise move, unless you want to replace it with another third-party product (in this case, it is advisable to avoid any kind of "interference").
So, to disable the Windows firewall, click on the button Start Windows 10 and presses the button ⚙️ present on the left side of the menu; Once the settings window is open, go to the section Update and security > Windows security > Firewall and network protection.
At this point, a panel should appear on the screen containing the various network profiles that can be configured for the firewall: choose the one currently used on your computer (you can identify it by the writing active, on many home PCs the profile used is Private network) and, on the next screen, move up Disabled the corresponding levetta alla voce Windows Defender Firewall, confirming the will to proceed by responding Yes to the next window.
Also check the box next to the entry Block all incoming connections, including those in the list of allowed apps is not marked with a check mark, otherwise remove it yourself.
If the solution shown above, for some reason, is not effective, you can disable the Windows 10 firewall using the Command Prompt in Administrator Mode. To do this, open the menu Start, click on the folder Windows system, right click on the icon for the Command Prompt, select the voice Run as administrator from the menu that appears and press the button Yes to grant permission to proceed.
At this point, type in the window one of the commands specified below, based on the profile for which you intend to disable the firewall, and press the key Submit to confirm.
- netsh advfirewall set currentprofile state off - disable the firewall for the network profile in use;
- netsh advfirewall set allprofiles state off - disable the firewall for all network profiles;
- netsh advfirewall set domainprofile state off - disable the firewall for the domain profile;
- netsh advfirewall set privateprofile state off - disable the firewall for private network profiles;
- netsh advfirewall set publicprofile state off - disable the firewall for public network profiles.
If you need additional help, or would like to know the other Windows Firewall configuration options for Windows 10 (for example, how to disable protection for a single file only), I recommend that you take a look at my specific guide on how to disable the Windows 10 firewall.
Come Disattivare Windows Defender Security Center
Now that you've disabled your antivirus, SmartScreen, and firewall, you no longer want to receive notifications from Windows Security Center related to computer security issues? No problem: you can disable Windows Defender Security Center removing the icon from the system tray and silencing notifications in this way. However, remember to activate one or more protection solutions as soon as possible, as otherwise you could be the victim of malware or other types of cyber threats.
Anyway, to remove the Security Center icon and notifications, go to the menu Start, presses the button in the shape of ⚙️ placed inside and go to the section Customization. Once this is done, click on the item Application bar located on the left and scroll down the page until you identify the section Select the icons to be displayed on the taskbar: at this point, move up OFF the corresponding levetta alla voce Windows Security notification icon And that's it.