I have a hard drive with old versions of downloaded programs, some coding I did myself and a few other things that I would like to back-up.

The last time I did this, I ended up with Windows Defender on Windows 10 putting a lot of stuff in quarantine as it said such-and-such is a virus, trojan or PUP - and some files just flat out would not copy.

I know these are false positive, I have had these for years since the days of Windows XP and none has been malware, and it took me ages to restore all these deleted files back to their original locations.

How can I copy these without Windows Defender getting involved and doing what it thinks is best for me?

  • You can add folders to an exception list within Windows Defender. You can also, once they are detected, add the files to an exception list. You disable Windows Defender active protection, temporarily, in order to perform either task.
    – Ramhound
    Commented Aug 14, 2018 at 16:41
  • 1
    That or disable Defender during file copy, then turn is back on when done.
    – Moab
    Commented Aug 14, 2018 at 22:14

2 Answers 2


If you're fortunate enough to run a Windows Pro version, just disable the whole shebang in the Group Policy. You won't regret it. Use something sensible instead for your protection.

  • I don't actually mind a downvote or two but they are hardly warranted. The answer was written in 2018 when Defender was actually known to cause trouble and I never suggested to go without protection, just to use a different one.
    – Gábor
    Commented Jan 14, 2020 at 20:42

You can add folders to an exception list within Windows Defender.

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