Microsoft Defender Antivirus (Windows Security) supports almost all modern antivirus features like anti-malware, real-time protection, etc. And Microsoft is doing a great job providing timely definition updates. However, some users still don’t find Microsoft Defender (Windows Security) antivirus very effective and want to turn off or disable it on their Windows 11 or 10 PC.
Another reason for disliking Microsoft Defender or Windows Security is that it sometimes spikes CPU usage. Defender’s anti-malware process (msmpeng.exe) causes high CPU usage sometimes. However, you can solve this issue using a workaround. But that adds to the reasons for disliking Microsoft Defender (formerly Windows Defender).
Disable Microsoft Defender (Windows Security) Antivirus in Windows 11 & 10
So, if you have made up your mind to disable or turn off Windows Security or Microsoft Defender antivirus in your Windows 11 or 10 PC, you are at the right place. In this tutorial, we have explained two methods to disable Defender. The first method uses Registry Editor and the second method uses Group Policy Editor. So, let’s start with the Registry Editor method.
A) Disable Windows Security using Registry Editor
In this method, we will use the Registry Editor tool to disable Windows Defender Antivirus. Note that you will need administrator permissions to use Registry Editor. So, let’s start with the process.
Step 1: Open Windows Security and go to Virus and Threat Protection Settings
First of all, launch Microsoft Defender (Windows Security) from the system tray or Settings. After that select Virus & threat protection from the left pane and click Manage Settings under Virus & threat protection settings.
Step 2: Turn off Real-time and other Protections
Now, disable toggles under all settings in Windows Security. When you disable the toggle for Real-time protection, you may see UAC Prompt, click Yes to continue. After that turn off the Cloud-delivered protection, Automatic sample submission, and Temper Protection. We need to do this in order to disable Microsoft Defender in Windows 11 or 10.
Step 3: Open Registry Editor
Now, we need to make some changes to Windows Registry. So, search for registry editor in the search box on Windows 11 or 10 and select Run as administrator.
Step 4: Go to Microsoft Defender Antivirus in Registry and Create new DWORD
Now, go to the Microsoft Defender Antivirus registry key in Registry Editor. You can also paste the following path in Registry Editor’s address bar. It will take you to the Windows Defender registry key.
Here, select Windows Defender and right-click on the blank space in the right pane. Now select New > DWORD (32-bit value) to create a new DWORD to disable Microsoft Defender (Windows Security) Antivirus in Windows 11 and 10.
Step 5: Name DWORD as DisableAntiSpyware and Set Value to 1 to Disable Microsoft Defender Antivirus
Name newly created DWORD as
DisableAntiSpyware and double-click it to modify its value. Now, set the value data to “1“. After that click OK to save the changes.
Now, close the Registry Editor and restart your computer.
Step 6: Check Windows Security (Microsoft Defender Antivirus) Status after Restart
After you restart your computer, open Windows Security in Windows 11 or 10 again. Here, you can see that Microsoft Defender Antivirus (Windows Security) has been disabled completely. Please note that sometimes it may require more than one reboot to turn off Microsoft Defender Antivirus.
NOTE: If you want to re-enable Microsoft Defender, simply delete
DisableAntiSpyware registry DWORD from Registry. After that restart your computer and Windows Security will start working again.
B) Disable Microsoft Defender Antivirus in Windows 11 and 10 using Group Policy
Besides Registry Editor, you can also use Group Policy Editor to turn off Windows Security in Windows 11 and 10. Please note that Group Policy Editor is only available in the Pro version of Windows 11 and 10. However, there is a workaround to enable Group Policy Editor in the Home version of Windows 11 and 10. So, let’s check the steps.
Step 1: Open Group Policy Editor and go to Microsoft Defender Antivirus Policy
First of all, go to RUN, type
gpedit.msc , and press Enter to launch Group Policy Editor.
In Group Policy Editor go to the following path:
Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Microsoft Defender Antivirus
If you are running an older version of Windows 10, you may see Microsoft Defender Antivirus as Windows Defender Antivirus. Here, select and open Turn off Microsoft Defender (or Windows Defender) Antivirus policy setting.
Step 2: Enable Policy to Disable Microsoft Defender Antivirus in Windows 11 and 10
Double-click the “Turn off Microsoft Defender (or Windows Defender) Antivirus” policy setting. Now, select Enabled and click Apply, and then OK.
Step 3: Restart your Computer and Check Defender Antivirus Status
Finally, close Group Policy Editor and restart your computer. Again launch Microsoft Defender or Windows Security in Windows 11 or 10 to check its status. Here, you will see that it has been disabled completely.
NOTE: If you want to enable Microsoft Defender again, simply go to same policy and set it to “Not Configured“. Restart your computer and you are done.
Completely Turn Off Microsoft Defender Antivirus in Windows 11 and 10
The above tutorial explained two methods to disable or turn off Microsoft Defender (Windows Security) completely in Windows 11 or 10. Both of the methods are easy and straightforward. However, you need to be careful when working with Registry Editor. You can also use the Group Policy method to be on the safe side.
We suggest you keep at least one antivirus active at all times. This will avoid the risk of virus/malware/hacking. Hope you liked this tutorial. In case you are having issues while following the tutorial, feel free to share them in the comments down below. You can also subscribe to get the latest updates via email.