I've seen there's plenty of documentation online about disabling Windows Defender system-wide.

For example, in this Superuser question (and I bet a couple of duplicates too) a couple of methods are described that involve GPOs or their equivalent Registry modifications for those that don't have access to the Group Policy editor.

However I wonder if it's possible to disable Windows Defender per user, e.g. keeping it enabled for every other user of a PC save one or two.

I've tried creating the creating the registry keys and values that accompany those policies in the Current User tree but they don't seem to take effect, after restarting the computer real-time protection is on for example.

Note that although this question is geared towards handling such a case in a Home environment (i.e. no Pro or Enterprise handling options available) I'd also welcome information on how to do it there.

  • I don't think Windows Defender can be disabled per user at all. If you want a per user AV solution, use a third party AV solution that you install only for that user, or that has this option. Do note, if your objective is to make sure files from a user are not scanned, you can often add a folder to a whitelist and make it not being scanned. – LPChip Feb 15 '18 at 15:45
  • no, only system wide. – magicandre1981 Feb 15 '18 at 15:49
  • I've never heard of antivirus that can be disabled per-user. Supposing one existed, the outcome would be the same as disabling it system wide: An unprotected user with admin rights contracts a virus that infects the entire computer. The protection for the other accounts would be meaningless! – Twisty Impersonator Feb 15 '18 at 16:16
  • If you don't mind me asking, why would you want to do this? – Run5k Feb 15 '18 at 17:17

You can't. It is as simple as that.

Any AntiVirus solution that provides real-time protection must operate at the SYSTEM level, which is a higher privilege level then the user-level.
Disabling it for a single user isn't possible without getting rid of of it for every other user and for the system itself.

Think of the SYSTEM-level as the engine in a car. You can't make a change to the engine (like removing the turbo-charger) for a single driver of the car, without affecting everyone else using that same car.

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