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Turn off Windows Defender in Windows 10 permanently

How to turn off Windows Defender in Windows 10 permanently? Sometimes you want to disable Windows Defender for testing purposes. If you have an Antivirus application running, Windows Defender will be automatically disabled. That’s because your Antivirus software will take over the security from now on. This article will teach you how to turn off Windows Defender in Windows 10 temporarily and permanently.

Windows Defender unable to stop service

Start Task Manager on Windows 10. Find the Windows Defender service that is running. Search for the task name Antimalware Service Executable and the service Windows Defender Antivirus Service.

Turn off Windows Defender in Windows 10 task manager active

Right-click the Windows Defender Antivirus Service and click Stop.

Turn off Windows Defender in Windows 10 task manager stop service

An error will show up that the operation could not be completed. Access is denied. It’s unable to stop the service.

Turn off Windows Defender in Windows 10 stop service error access denied

Start the application Services and right-click on Windows Defender Antivirus Service. You can see that the following options are greyed out:

  • Start
  • Stop
  • Pause
  • Resume
  • Restart
Turn off Windows Defender in Windows 10 services

Check status Windows Defender in Windows Security

Open the Windows Start menu. Type Windows Security.

Turn off Windows Defender in Windows 10 Windows Security

Click on Virus & threat protection.

Windows Defender is enabled.

If you installed another security product, you would see the following screen.

Disable Windows Defender in Windows 10 temporarily

In Windows Security, click on Virus & threat protection.

Turn off Windows Defender in Windows 10 Windows Security active

Click on Manage Settings.

Turn off Windows Defender in Windows 10 manage settings

Click the toggle button under Real-time protection to turn off Windows Defender Antivirus.

Doing that, you can see that:

  • The service is still running in the background
  • A reboot will automatically enable Windows Defender

How can you disable Windows Defender service completely and keep it disabled after a reboot? Find out in the next step.

How to turn off Windows Defender in Windows 10 permanently

Step 1. Boot into safe mode

Click on Windows Start and search for msconfig. Run System Configuration as administrator.

You can also start the program Run. Type msconfig and click on OK.

Select the tab Boot. In the section Boot options, enable Safe boot. Click on OK.

Click on Restart.

Step 2. Turn off Real-time protection

As shown in the previous step, make sure that Real-time protection is Off.

Turn off Windows Defender in Windows 10 real-time protection off

Step 3. Autoruns for Windows

Download Autoruns for Windows. Extract the zip file and start the executable Autoruns64.exe. If you are running Windows 10 32-bit, start Autoruns.exe.

Step 4. Enable Windows Services in Autoruns

Go to the tab Services. There will be not many services shown. That’s because Windows services are not showing by default.

Click in the menu bar on Options. Uncheck Hide Windows Entries. It will show the Windows services in the list view.

Turn off Windows Defender in Windows 10 Autoruns hide windows entries

Step 5. Uncheck Windows Defender Antivirus Service

Search for WinDefend and uncheck the checkbox. Unchecking will prevent the Windows Defender automatic startup after every reboot.

Turn off Windows Defender in Windows 10 Autoruns uncheck windows defender service

Step 6. Boot into normal startup

Start the application msconfig.

Select the Normal startup. Click on OK.

Click on Restart.

Verify that Windows Defender is kept turned off after Windows 10 restart

After a restart, start Task Manager. There is no more Windows Defender service running.

Turn off Windows Defender in Windows 10 not active

Start Windows Security and have a look at Virus & threat protection. You will see that there is a spinning icon, or the status is showing as unknown. That’s because it’s fetching the information.

Give it a couple of minutes. After that, you will see that Virus & threat protection is disabled.

Turn off Windows Defender in Windows 10 Windows Security stopped

Revert the changes

Suppose you like to revert the changes. First, boot into safe mode. After that, click on the Restart Now button in Windows Security. Another way is to start Autoruns and check the WinDefend service.

Keep on reading: Disable Windows Firewall with PowerShell »


In this article, you learned how to turn off Windows Defender in Windows 10 permanently. Make sure to follow the exact steps, as shown in the article. After doing that, Windows Defender will be kept turned off.

Did you enjoy this article? You may also like Disable Symantec Endpoint Protection (SEP). Don’t forget to follow us and share this article.



ALI TAJRAN is a passionate IT Architect, IT Consultant, and Microsoft Certified Trainer. He started Information Technology at a very young age, and his goal is to teach and inspire others. Read more »

This Post Has 54 Comments

  1. thank you very much, antimalware was taking up 20% of my computers memory at all times and now runs much more smoothly, thanks again

  2. Autoruns can also be ran through AdvancedRun with TrustedInstaller privileges, skipping the whole safe boot part. The checkbox can just be unticked this way. (Maybe this’ll help with the access denied error messages.)

  3. as of Windows 10 version 21H1 do this :

    – Reboot to safemode.
    – Start the executable Autoruns64.exe.
    – Make sur Hide Windows Entries is unchecked under Options menu.
    – Type in “defender” without quotes in the search box.
    – Uncheck all “Windows Defender” related Services and Drivers under their respective tabs.
    – reboot.

  4. You can only disable the defender service if you first disable defender. If not, its impossible to change the start-up of the service as the key is protected whilst the service is running. In 20h2, it seems you also have to first disable defender (either with the registery, gpedit or by usibg a third party AV), AND disable the security services as well! Then after a restart you can disable the Defender Antivirus Service itself and the others eg Defender Network Inspection Service.

  5. I followed all the steps but I get this error when I try to change the state in the Autoruns:

    Error changing item state: Access denied.

  6. For me is all or nothing, I don’t settle for half measures. So, here is what I did to completely remove Defender, it won’t even show up in Windows Security anymore.
    Of course, you do this at your own risk, for me it worked. Worst case scenario, for others, this might render the system unbootable. So, here goes:
    1. Download a customized WinPE distribution (google for Sergei Strelec, for example), put it on a thumb drive and boot from it.
    2. Navigate to C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows Defender\ and rename the Paltform folder to something else. This is the folder where Windows Defender service executable resides.
    3. Reboot into Windows and check Windows Security. Defender gone for good.

    Should this render your system unbootable you can boot again from the WinPE thumb drive and undo the renaming of the Platform folder. That should get you back on track.

  7. Still working April 2021 on 20H2 (19042.906).
    Boot into safe mode first or it will not work!

  8. This sucks. It doesn’t work anymore. I just want to shut it down as it keeps running in the background when I really don’t need it. It comes with all the stupid shit they put in windows 10 that you want to turn off because you don’t need it but you can’t.

    1. Here’s what i did.
      no matter what I’ve tried damn thing always came back. finally, I used the gpedit.exe in safe mode w\network and it worked 😁.

      I also used winruns for good measure… pretty much I used everything that was possible and at the end did gpedit.
      the damn windows antivirus behaves like virus in itself. several programs stopped running because it removed something on its own.

  9. Unfortunately, it no longer works. You can start autoruns in safe mode and uncheck windefend, but defender still runs.

  10. So sad, but even Autorans not helps.. Access denied.
    And I sure I didn’t missed any guide steps..

  11. You Sire, are the best, BEST, BESTESSST, BEST !!!!!!!!!
    Thanks so much for saving the day 🙂 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. Thanks again,
    Currently in dec 2020, your tip is the only one that works on the entire internet to disable WD permanently

  13. There is one final step which worked
    one of these extra steps helped
    this is for ver 20h2, other ver may vary
    I disabled WD in group policy
    in registry under WD 2 keys need to be set to 1
    disableantivirus disableantispyware to 1 using ExecTI
    your steps kill WD but still some remnants keep running
    Finally confirm with app like speccy to see WD disabled

    kudos to your tip, without it there was no hope
    thanks so much

    1. It’s great that you didn’t give up. That’s what I do like to see! You’re welcome, and thanks for sharing what worked for you. It can help others.

  14. VER 20H2 questionable, speccy app says win def enabled still
    I followed all the steps, unchecked in autorun
    All of you should verify in speccy or any other similar app
    Author please verify and update any solutions

  15. Thanks a lot… Am some happy now I can disable anything I feel like ??,,, I mean any thing.. These Autoruns???‍??‍?

  16. Thanks for the tutorial, finally this worked for me,( P.S i turned off real time protection but after i while it started back, for those with “state denied access”, turn off protection again and start autorun again, everything will work.

    1. damn man, access is still denied. Is it because of 3rd party antivirus.? I turned real time scanning off, but I am not able to do shit….
      Can anyone help…….
      Also I have updated the windows…. is it anyway related to october updates????

    1. I just tested it on two Windows 10 systems by following the steps in the article. Windows Defender is disabled permanently on both the Windows 10 systems:

      – Windows 10 version 1909
      – Windows 10 version 2004

  17. It did work after I restarted my PC but then I shut my PC down and later when I opened again it was still showing on task manager.

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