Windows Defender keeps blocking a third-party program that I know isn't a threat. All my attempts to disable Windows Defender have failed.

I've tried to:

  • Go in the Windows Defender option and disable it from there.
  • Edit the group policies, find the Windows Defender file and edit the "turn off Windows Defender" to be always disabled.
  • Prevent the Windows Defender service from even starting but the option appear to be greyed out.

How do I turn it off permanently?

  • 1
    Would you be fine with installing another antivirus software which will automatically disable Windows Defender as no longer required? – miroxlav Aug 4 '15 at 20:42
  • You need to list all your attempts specifically or we will all be guessing. – Moab Aug 4 '15 at 23:58
  • @miroxlav I'd rather avoid another antivirus software (I'm already using malewarebytes) and in general avoid any third party software that disable Windows Defender. I assume its possible to do it within Windows itself. – WizLiz Aug 5 '15 at 6:43
  • I also don't like the 3rd party idea. It was just a question. The best way would be to enhance your question. Maybe it is NOT needed to turn defender off (it is useful) but describe here what exactly you meant by "it is blocking an application". Then possibly a way for adding exception to Defender can be worked out. Help us to help you by working on better question! :) – miroxlav Aug 5 '15 at 8:08
  • 2
    @WizLiz - but exception for safe applications defined at threat-prevention software (e.g. Windows Defender or antivirus) are not considered a workarounds! It is valid solution. It is the goal of the exception list. If the exception works, keep it as it is, there is no other more recommended way like this. Do you really think it is better to disable your protection software instead? – miroxlav Aug 5 '15 at 8:18
up vote 12 down vote accepted

Type in Defender into the search bar, and click on the Defender program in the list. When Windows Defender opens, click Settings and turn off real time protection.

I just noticed that it will reenable it automatically after some time, geez.

I suppose you will could install some third-party antivirus software that does not flag hack tools and such as a threat.

.

There is a third-party application called NoDefender to disable it permanently, but I have not tried it or can vouch for it or what it actually does to accomplish this.

I found this note on another website, but I am not sure if it is true or not. Better make a restore point anyway.

NOTE: The NoDefender utility doesn’t include an option to enable Windows Defender again. So we suggest you create a manual system restore point before disabling Defender if you want to easily enable Windows Defender again in the future.

.

Another method is to rename the Defender program folder. This must be done from a Linux Live DVD or USB: C:\Program Files\Windows Defender.

Another method is to disable the Defender Service from starting in the Windows registry as it cannot be done from Services directly as options are grayed out.

Open regedit and go to

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\WinDefend

Open the subkey corresponding to the service you wish to change (WinDefend), and modify the value of 'Start' to equal either "2" (for automatic), "3" (for manual), or "4" (for disabled).

**Registry edits have the advantage for Windows Home or lower versions, as they do not have Group Policy Editor to do it as suggested by Nate's answer.

  • I'll try the registry edit when I come home. I don't like the idea of installing a third party software that turn it off without turning it back on. I already have malwarebytes premium installed if that's worth anything. – WizLiz Aug 5 '15 at 6:38
  • MBAM is not AV, but is better than nothing. – Moab Aug 5 '15 at 21:23
  • @user1133275 Everybody has an opinion, thanks for making yours known. There is no group policy in Home versions of W10, so that answer is useless, besides all group policy does is make Registry changes. – Moab May 13 '16 at 18:20
  • @Moab Thanks for the information, Nate's answer looks best for those using home versions. Please update your answer to combine the 2. (I can only change my vote after you make an edit) – user1133275 May 13 '16 at 20:01
  • 1
    Windows automatically turns this on THE VERY NEXT DAY though, unfortunately. Man, I hate Microsoft. – poepje May 18 '16 at 17:59

In Windows 10 Professional, you can disable Windows Defender via the Local Group Policy Editor (gpedit.msc) by enabling the Turn off Windows Defender policy in the following location:

Computer Configuration/Administrative Templates/Windows Components/Windows Defender

In Windows 10 Home, it can also be done via an elevated command prompt:

reg add  "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender\Real-Time Protection" /v DisableRealtimeMonitoring /t REG_DWORD /d 1

To roll back:

reg delete "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender\Real-Time Protection"

This isn't a solution to turn off Windows Defender entirely, but I think it's a better solution to what you're actually looking for. You can turn off Defender's Realtime Protection, without turning off Defender altogether. If you want to be able to use Defender to do on-demand scans (not realtime scanning), then this solution is useful.

  1. Open up the registry editor with Start -> regedit.

  2. Navigate to Computer > HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SOFTWARE > Policies > Microsoft > Windows Defender

  3. Navigate to Real-Time Protection. If that key doesn't exist, create it under the Windows Defender folder. (note the space between "Time" and "Protection")

  4. Inside Real-Time Protection, add a new DWORD value.

  5. Name it DisableRealtimeMonitoring and give it a value of 1.

You may need to reboot. This will now allow Windows Defender to run on-demand, but if you look in the Defender settings, real-time protection will be turned off and grayed out.

  • This just disables Real-Time Protection it does not actually disable Windows Defender, which the existing answer, does actually. – Ramhound Feb 7 '16 at 4:27

Save this text as a .reg file and execute:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender]
"DisableAntiSpyware"=dword:00000000

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender\Real-Time Protection]
"DisableRealtimeMonitoring"=dword:00000001

This disables only realtime which helps to speed up the computer.

Set the first value to 00000001 to fully disable it.

Considering your specific goal, do nothing.

I could post an answer on how to turn it off, but based on the background you shared, I decided to give a different answer.

As you told in comments, you already have an exception added into Windows Defender which allows your software to work as expected. In your question you did not indicate any performance or compatibility or other issues which in some corner cases can be reason for disabling the protection tool completely.

To address only the blocking issues, you have found the proper solution. This is the purpose of exception lists in threat-prevention software and you used it in the right way. You gave no reason why it is necessary to disable the entire protection instead of adding just one exception.

Any weakening of security of your computer is generally only worse. Do not switch off Windows Defender if the problem has a valid working solution (for example, using the exception list).

Alternatively you can replace Windows Defender with other protective software, e.g. with an antivirus program or some security suite. (They will turn off Windows Defender, too.) But it may happen that they will cause a conflict with your application, too, and you will end up adding a new item into the exception lists as you did it for Windows Defender.

  • I already received 3 downvotes for this answer, but based on original question which also provided reasoning for disabling the Defender, this answer still stands. Although there could be valid cases for switching off the Defender, in this particular question, turning off the Defender was solving the actual problem wrong way. It's like when you ask car mechanic for disabling airbags in your car because sometimes "check airbags" indicator is displayed and you do not like that indicator. – miroxlav Dec 8 '16 at 13:49
  • 6
    Please only give answers that answer the question. – srchulo Jan 18 '17 at 4:54
  • @srchulo – In case of questions asking to do something considered bad practice it is good to have at least one answer which warns about problems of such a "solution". Perhaps you know well it is common on Stack Overflow site. Is this site different? Do you think the question would be answered more completely if this answer was missing? This answer makes readers more aware about proper approach on disablement of system protection. Some users do not like warnings about their risky technical approach, but some still do. The score of the answer is now +4/-4. – miroxlav Apr 9 '17 at 0:17
  • 3
    Because Microsoft Defender inhibits the normal use of the computer, using up to 100% of the available disk bandwidth and a huge amount of CPU power, to do basically nothing. When there is no threat detected, spending 100% of your disk IO time to have realtime "protection" is a joke. Windows defender won't find the zero days that are likely to appear on regular systems anyways. It's a worthless piece of garbage. That's why. – Warren P Feb 7 at 16:49
  • 1
    0 out of 10 and 10 out of 10 are all subjective. Did you notice what subjective means? It means, not based on anything more than human feelings. An odd appeal from you. – Warren P Mar 16 at 3:06

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