How to Turn Off Microsoft Defender: A Step-by-Step Guide

Turning off Microsoft Defender might seem daunting, but it’s actually quite simple. In just a few steps, you can disable the program and give yourself the freedom to install and run the software you choose without interference. And don’t worry, if you change your mind, turning it back on is just as easy.

Step by Step Tutorial: How to Turn Off Microsoft Defender

Before we dive into the steps, let’s understand what we’re about to do. Disabling Microsoft Defender will turn off real-time protection, which means it won’t automatically scan files you open or programs you run. If you have another antivirus program you prefer to use, this might be the right move for you.

Step 1: Open Windows Security Settings

Open your Windows Security settings by clicking on the shield icon in the taskbar or searching for “Windows Security” in the start menu.

In this step, make sure you are logged in as an administrator, or you might not be able to change these settings.

Step 2: Navigate to Virus & Threat Protection

Click on “Virus & Threat Protection” in the sidebar of the Windows Security window.

This will take you to the main page for Microsoft Defender settings.

Step 3: Manage Settings

Scroll down and click on “Manage settings” under the “Virus & Threat Protection settings” section.

This is where you’ll find the toggle switches for various features of Microsoft Defender.

Step 4: Turn Off Real-Time Protection

Find the “Real-time protection” toggle and click on it to turn it off.

You’ll likely receive a warning about the risks of turning off real-time protection. Make sure you understand these risks before proceeding.

After completing these steps, Microsoft Defender’s real-time protection will be turned off. Other features, like cloud-delivered protection and automatic sample submission, can be turned off in the same settings menu if desired.

What Happens After Turning Off Microsoft Defender

Once you have turned off Microsoft Defender, you will no longer have the protection it provides. Your computer will be vulnerable to viruses and other threats unless you have another antivirus program running. Make sure you trust the software you’re running and that you keep it updated to avoid any security risks.

Tips for Managing Microsoft Defender

  • Always have another antivirus program ready to install before turning off Microsoft Defender.
  • Don’t forget to turn real-time protection back on if you decide not to use another antivirus program.
  • Regularly check for updates for your preferred antivirus software to ensure maximum protection.
  • Consider the risks carefully before disabling Microsoft Defender, as it provides robust protection against many types of malware.
  • If you’re unsure about turning off Microsoft Defender, consider adjusting its settings instead of completely disabling it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I turn off Microsoft Defender permanently?

No, Microsoft Defender is designed to turn back on automatically after a while to ensure your system’s protection.

Will my computer be at risk if I turn off Microsoft Defender?

Yes, if you don’t have another antivirus program installed and running, your computer will be more vulnerable to threats.

Can I turn off other Microsoft Defender features separately?

Yes, you can manage different features individually in the Windows Security settings.

Is it safe to install software from the internet with Microsoft Defender turned off?

It’s riskier to install software without any antivirus protection. Always ensure the sources are trustworthy before downloading anything.

Will I still get Windows updates with Microsoft Defender turned off?

Yes, Windows updates are separate from Microsoft Defender and will continue as normal.


  1. Open Windows Security Settings
  2. Navigate to Virus & Threat Protection
  3. Manage Settings
  4. Turn Off Real-Time Protection


Disabling Microsoft Defender is not a decision to be taken lightly. It’s a powerful tool designed to protect your computer from a myriad of threats lurking on the internet. However, there are valid reasons for wanting to turn it off, such as using another antivirus program you trust or needing to install software that Defender blocks. Just remember, your computer’s safety is your responsibility. Keep your software up to date, stay informed about the latest security risks, and always err on the side of caution. If you feel overwhelmed or unsure, don’t hesitate to seek help from a professional. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to cybersecurity.

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