I would like to change some Windows Defender settings via the registry, after a clean install of Windows 8, now I know of the DisableAntiSpyware registry value, but I would appreciate if someone could point me to a complete listing of all settings related to Windows Defender.

The settings I am particularly keen on changing are:

Scanning of removable drives

Time of daily scan

Real-time protection



By using RegShot I found the Registry keys that will change some Windows Defender settings.

To enable scanning removable drives navigate to

HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows Defender\Scan\DisableRemovableDriveScanning

To enable set the value to 0 - to disable set to 1


For James and others who want to automate deployement processes, PowerShell has a nice tool specifically for that scenario, starting with Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows 8.1.

The Set-MpPreference cmdlet configures preferences for Windows Defender scans and updates. See the TechNet article Set-MpPreference for the complete set of options and other technical and platform-specific details.

For James' particulars...

Scanning of removable drives


Indicates whether to scan for malicious and unwanted software in removable drives, such as flash drives, during a full scan. If you specify a value of $True, Windows Defender scans removable drives during any type of scan. If you specify a value of $False or do not specify a value, Windows Defender does not scan removable drives during a full scan. Windows Defender can still scan removable drives during quick scans or custom scans.

Time of daily scan


Specifies the time of day, as the number of minutes after midnight, to perform a scheduled scan. The time refers to the local time on the computer. If you do not specify a value for this parameter, a scheduled scan runs at the default time of two hours after midnight.

Real-time protection


Indicates whether to use real-time protection. If you specify a value of $True or do not specify a value, Windows Defender uses real-time protection. We recommend that you enable Windows Defender to use real-time protection.

For those unfamiliar with PowerShell, two external help pages that one might find helpful include MSDN and digitalcitizen.life. And of course your favorite search engine.

  • 1
    External links can break or be unavailable, in which case your answer would .be just a hint. Please include the essential information within your answer and use the link for attribution and further reading. Thanks. – fixer1234 Jun 18 '16 at 19:46
  • @fixer1234, sorry, I thought the name of the script was the essential part. I'll try to improve it. Thanks for the feedback. – Bob Jun 21 '16 at 15:21

You can edit your settings through the GUI: ....But that may be too simple..... Administrators can use group policy to perform most of the same actions. See this KB Article

][1] http://support.microsoft.com/kb/927367

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Unlike Microsoft Security Essentials, Windows Defender has no configuration options for scheduled scanning in its GUI (Graphical User Interface), but you still might want to automate quick or full scans. To do that, open Settings Search using keyboard shortcut Windows Key+W, type "schedule" into Search box and click Schedule tasks. enter image description here Touch screen owners should first swipe in from the right edge of screen - this opens Charms bar where you can click the Search icon. Windows 8, Start screen, Settings search. To schedule Windows Defender tasks, type "schedule" into Search box. Then click "Schedule tasks".

Right-click Task Scheduler (Local) on the left side and select Create Basic Task. Windows 8, Task Scheduler. Right-click "Task Scheduler (Local)" and select Create Basic Task.

Create Basic Task Wizard opens. Type a descriptive name for the scanning task and click Next. Windows 8, Task Scheduler, Create a Basic Task. Type a name and description. Then click Next.

If you want to run quick weekly scans, set the frequency to Weekly. As full scans take long to complete, you should use Monthly for these instead. Windows 8, Task Scheduler, Create a Basic Task, Task Trigger. Select "Weekly" for quick scans and "Monthly" for full scans. Click Next.

Set a weekday and time for quick scans, or all months, a day and time for full scans. Because you cannot limit CPU usage, choose a time when your PC is most probably turned on, but not in very active use - during scanning, your computer slows down. Windows 8, Task Scheduler, Create a Basic Task, Task Trigger, Weekly. Select a weekday and set a good time for automated malware scanning.

In action selection, the default Start a program is fine. Windows 8, Task Scheduler, Create a Basic Task, Action. Leave "Start a program" selected and click Next.

Click Browse. Windows 8, Task Scheduler, Create a Basic Task, Action, Start a Program. Click Browse.

Navigate to C:\Program Files\Windows Defender folder and double-click MpCmdRun.exe. This is the executable file that allows performing common tasks in Windows Defender. Windows 8, Task Scheduler, Open, Windows Defender folder. Click "MpCmdRun.exe" and click Open.

To schedule a weekly quick scan, type "-Scan -ScanType 1" into Add arguments (optional) field. To perform a full scan, type "-Scan -ScanType 2" instead. Windows 8, Task Scheduler, Create a Basic Task, Action, Start a Program. Type arguments and click Next.

We're almost finished here. Enable the Open the Properties dialog for this task when I click Finish option before clicking Finish. Windows 8, Task Scheduler, Create a Basic Task, Finish. Turn on the "Open the Properties dialog for this task" option and click Finish.

In the General tab of the Task you just created, tick the Run with highest privileges check box. This allows Windows Defender to run with elevated rights and ensures all malware really is removed. Windows 8, Task Scheduler, Task Properties, General. Enable the "Run with highest privileges" option.

Open Settings tab and turn on the Run task as soon as possible after a scheduled start is missed option. If your computer is turned off or you are not signed in at scheduled time, the scanning will start after you log in to Windows the next time. Click OK to close the Task Properties window. Windows 8, Task Scheduler, Task Properties, Settings. Enable the "Run task as soon as possible after a scheduled start is missed" option. Click OK.

At scheduled times, a black Command Prompt window appears. It will close automatically after the scanning is complete. Windows 8, Windows Defender scan starting on schedule.

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    Nice tutorial, but you haven't answered my question change some Windows Defender settings via the registry – user181734 Mar 21 '13 at 1:07
  • So sorry, I'm not sure why you would want to directly modify the registry, except to develop a method to circumvent windows defender on multiple systems, which would be OFF TOPIC. As an administrator, you may choose to modify defender settings via group policy under Local Computer Policy -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> Windows Defender – G Koe Mar 22 '13 at 4:28
  • I want to use it when deploying multiple computers and simply running a script that will enable the "scan removable drives". Thank You – user181734 Mar 22 '13 at 13:57

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