How to Exclude Files and Folders from Defender in Windows 11 and 10

Windows Security (formerly Windows Defender and Microsoft Defender) is a decent antivirus tool provided by Microsoft. Thanks to regular definition updates, it has become one of the best AV tools out there. Also, Windows Security has all the essential features of an antivirus tool. For example, you can also exclude files and folders from Defender in your Windows 11 or Windows 10 PC.

Besides just Files and Folders, you can also exclude file types and specific processes. So, next time Windows Security (or Microsoft Defender) scans your system, it won’t touch excluded files and folders. This will also improve the performance of your Windows 11 or 10 by reducing the load on the CPU by the MsMpEng.exe process.

SEE ALSO: How to Disable Microsoft Defender (Windows Security) in Windows 11 and Windows 10?

Exclude Files and Folders from Defender in Windows 11 and Windows 10

The process to exclude files and folders from Defender is not very tricky. But you need to make some changes to Windows Security settings which are explained below. So, just follow these steps.

Step 1: Open Windows Security (Microsoft Defender)

First of all, search for windows security on Start, in your Windows 11 or Windows 10, and select Windows Security from search results.

Search And Open Windows Security Or Defender From Start In Windows 11 Or Windows 10
Search and Open Windows Security from Start

Step 2: Open ‘Virus & Threat Protection Settings’

Now, select the ‘Virus & threat protection‘ tab from the left. After that, scroll down and click the ‘Manage settings‘ link under Virus & Threat Protection settings.

In Windows Security Select Virus And Threat Protection And Click Manage Settings Under Virus And Threat Protections Settings
Click Manage Settings under Virus & Threat Protections settings

Step 3: Go to Exclusion Settings in Windows Security (Microsoft Defender)

Now, in Manage Settings, scroll down to the bottom of the page. Here, click on the ‘Add or remove exclusions‘ link under the Exclusions section. You can use this setting to exclude files and folders from Defender in your Windows 11 or Windows 10 PC.

Click Add Or Remove Exclusions Under Exclusions - exclude files and folders from defender
Click Add or Remove Exclusions under Exclusions

Step 4: Select the Type of Exclusion for Windows Security (Microsoft Defender)

Now, click on the “+ Add an exclusion” button and select the type of exclusion you want to make. You can make 4 types of exclusions which are explained in the table below. So, go through the list and select the desired exclusion.

Exclusion TypeDescription
FileExclude a specific file. It will be skipped during the scan.
FolderExclude a specific folder on your PC, Defender won’t scan it.
File typeSelect a file type to exclude from scanning. All the files with that extension will be skipped.
ProcessYou can select a background task or process to exclude from Defender scanning.

In this tutorial, we are adding a Folder exclusion in Defender.

Click On Add An Exclusion Button And Then Select File Folder File Type Or Process
Click on Add an Exclusion button and select Exclusion type

Step 5: Select Files or Folders to Exclude from Defender

As we have selected Folder type exclusion, a browse window will open. Now, go ahead and select the folder you want to exclude from Defender.

Browse And Select The Folder You Want To Exclude From Defender In Windows 11 Or Windows 10 - exclude files and folders
Browse and select the Folder to Exclude from Defender

After that, the selected file or folder will show up under the Exclusions. That’s how you can exclude files and folders from Defender in Windows 11 and 10. Next time, the defender scans your system, this folder will be excluded.

Folder Exclusion Added To Windows Security Defender In Windows 11 Windows 10 - exclude files and folders
Folder Exclusion added to Defender

Step 6: Remove Exclusion from Windows Security (Microsoft Defender)

Now, you have successfully excluded the selected folder from Microsoft Defender/Windows Security. However, if you decide to remove it from exclusions, you can easily do that too.

Just click on the exclusion to select it and then click on the Remove button to remove this exclusion from Defender.

Select An Exclusion And Click Remove Button To Delete It
Select an Exclusion and click Remove

Exclude Files and Folders from Windows Security (Microsoft Defender) in Windows 11 or 10

Adding or removing exclusions in Windows Security (Microsoft Defender) antivirus is quite easy. After you exclude files and folders from Defender in your Windows 11 or 10, they won’t be scanned anymore. This will also improve your PC’s performance and reduce the load on the CPU.

To be honest, Windows Security or Microsoft Defender is a good antivirus. TechRadar has written a good review for it. Well, hope you liked this guide. Let us know if you face any trouble following this tutorial in the comment section below.

Editorial Staff

Hi there, we are the editorial staff at WINDOSPC (former HELLPC). We are a team of funny and technical people. Feel free to get in touch with us via Contact-Us page.

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