Windows Defender Operations – Turn Off, Disable, Uninstall, and Remove

From Windows 7 and onwards, Microsoft includes a basic antivirus suite that goes by the name Windows Defender. The name’s pretty catchy, and the features on this software as well. However, Windows Defender is very basic if the features and protection level are taken into concern, and many people will find that this software doesn’t serve their purpose to the fullest. Thus, it might be required to take the Windows Defender out of a Windows ecosystem. Windows Defender does its job well, but if you have a third party suite of anti-malware programs, Defender won’t anymore be needed and can safely be removed from the system.

windows defender

Disable Windows Defender

User could simply disable Windows Defender if it’s not being used, or expected to interfere into user’s processes. The disabling procedures varies for Windows 10 and Windows 8/8.1, though.

  • Windows 10: Open Windows Defender, the easiest way could be using the Start Menu search, or Cortana. However, once Windows Defender is loaded click on Settings on the top right corner. Inside the Settings window, locate Update & Security> Windows Defender. There will be a toggle switch under the title Real Time Protection, just turn it off and it’s done.
  • Windows 7, 8, 8.1: The process slightly varies for these operating systems because Windows Defender is built into system, and can’t actually be uninstalled, but disabled. Click on Tools on the top menu inside Windows Defender, and find Options there. Inside Options, there should be two radio button options, the first one reading ‘Use this Program’. Simply uncheck the button and Windows Defender will be disabled on Windows 7, 8 and 8.1.

Completely Disable the Windows Defender Service

Even after you turn off Windows Defender, some other Windows settings could turn it back on. If you are sure about the security status of your computer, and don’t want Windows Defender to ever come back, then you could turn off the specific service for Windows Defender. To do this, you need to run the Services panel which is located inside Control Panel. You could either navigate to Control Panel and open Services; or just open Run using Start Button + R and writing services.msc in the box, and hit Run.

Once the Services dialog panel opens up, located Windows Defender from the list that populates. It should take some scrolling down from to A to W, and then a to i for the second alphabet; Windows Defender is usually located after Windows Connect Now; if you have that service activated.

However, once you find Windows Defender in the Services list, double click on it and the Properties for Windows Defender service will open. From the Startup Type selection menu, select Disabled. Click on ‘Apply’, and then ‘Ok’. Windows Defender service will now be completely turned off, and won’t automatically come back on again.

Get an Antivirus

If you are getting rid of Windows Defender, make sure your computer has a security software – even it is the most basic offering from an antivirus company. Bitdefender, Kaspersky, Norton etc. are some antivirus programs to mention.


At the job of keeping a computer protected, Windows Defender is pretty good at basic levels. However, if you still want to turn it off, hopefully you now know how to.

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Kevin Clark

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