Microsoft Defender Antivirus is the default antivirus solution for the Microsoft Windows 11 operating system. It is turned on by default unless another security solution is installed that is recognized by the operating system. Previously, it was called Windows Defender. Most third-party antivirus solutions that support Windows 11 are recognized, but there are cases where third-party antivirus software is not recognized.
Windows 11 users are advised to keep Microsoft Defender Antivirus turned on if no other security solutions are installed. But due to some reasons such as Windows Defender Antivirus causing high resource usage or other issues on the system, or users using a virtual machine of Windows 11 to test the software, in this case the user may want to turn off Microsoft Defender temporarily or permanently anti-virus. Next, we’ll walk users through how to enable or disable Windows Defender.
How to enable or disable real-time protection of Windows Defender?
Users can turn on or off options for certain security modules (including real-time protection) through the settings. Here, you can turn off real-time protection temporarily there and turn off other protection modules permanently.
Step 1: Open the Settings by pressing Windows + I keys. Choose Privacy & Security on the left and then choose Windows Security.
Step 2: Turn on Virus & threat protection under protected areas.
Step 3: Select Manage settings under Virus and threat protection settings. Turn off real-time protection>Accept the UAC prompt displayed.
Notice: You will be reminded on the page that the shutdown is temporary.
Using Group Policy Editor to Disable Windows Defender Antivirus
You can use Group Policy Editor to disable Windows Defender Antivirus permanently. Note that Windows Security’s tamper protection must be disabled before making changes. Otherwise Windows Security may turn on Windows Defender Antivirus again.
- Launch Settings by pressing Windows + I keys.
- Select Privacy & Security on the left.
- Then choose Windows Security.
- Select Virus & threat protection from the list of protected areas on the appearing pages.
- Select Manage settings under Virus and threat protection settings on the appearing pages.
- Turn off Tamper Protection on the page.
Using Group Policy Editor to Disable Microsoft Defender Antivirus
- Click on Start icon, enter gpedit.msc and select the result from the list.
- Locate to Computer Configuration>Administrative Templates>Windows Components>Microsoft Defender Antivirus.
- Double click Turn off Microsoft Defender Antivirus policy.
- Trun on the policy on the page that opens.
- Click Apply and OK.
- Restart Windows 11.
After restarting, the Virus and threat protection is turned off. A shield icon will still be displayed in the system tray area. However, the icon is the Windows Security icon, not the Microsoft Defender Antivirus icon.