How to Remove Windows Defender on Windows 10 and Windows 8.1

Windows Defender, also known as Microsoft security essential is a built-in antivirus software that comes with Windows 10 and Windows 8.1. With the frequent definition updates and the intelligence of Operating System and its vulnerability assessment, in recent time the Windows Defender becomes a handy and free AV solution. Most of the users use it because they believe that Microsoft built it well because they know how their OS works. In some cases, you may need to remove or disable the Windows Defender, this post shows how to do that.

As third party Anti Virus software comes with extra features and great protection, it is highly recommended to install the best third party protection antivirus software on your computer. Before installing it, here is the way on how to remove windows defender from Windows 10 and Windows 8.1.

We can’t remove the Windows defender like other programs on Windows control panel, because it is a built-in service. Also, when you try to install other third-party antivirus software on Windows 10/8.1, it will detect the running Windows Defender and disable it automatically. But you can manually disable it before installing other third-party antivirus applications.

Remove/Disable Windows Defender on Windows 10

As said earlier it can’t be removed or uninstalled, instead, you should stop/disable the protection service.

1.) Search for Windows Defender, and open ‘Windows Defender Security Center’ as below.

Search For Windows Defender

2) Expand the Menu and click on ‘Virus & threat protection’. Open the protection settings where we can disable the Windows Defender.

Open Settings

3) Turn off the real-time protection. It will disable the Windows Defender on the computer (we call it ‘uninstall’ though).

Disable Windows Defender On Windows 10

You must be the administrator of the computer to make the above changes. Windows will give the warning on disabling the real-time protection, you must accept it.

That was the easiest and straightforward method to manually disable Windows defender on a Windows 10 or 8.1 PC. There are few advanced methods such as modification in the registry, stopping few Windows services and Group policy changes in a domain environment, but those are not applicable here.

Remove on Windows 8.1

The below steps are applicable for Windows 8 or 8.1 which has the older version (interface) of Windows Defender.

1) Go to search ( in Windows charm bar) and type defender and click on it.

search windows defender

2) Once Windows defender is opened, I’m sure it will be green because it is running currently. Go to the ‘Settings’ tab and select ‘Administrator’.

Remove the tick from ‘Turn on this app’ to remove windows defender on Windows 8.1.

Remove Windows Defender on Windows 8.1 and Windows 8

Make sure to save the changes, a warning message will appear as below and Windows defender screen will be changed to red.

warning message

That’s it, we have successfully removed Windows Defender on Windows 8.1 (also in Windows 8).

How to Re-enable or Start Windows Defender in Windows 8.1

By any chance, if you have changed your mind to re-enable or start the Windows Defender on Windows 8.1 again, follow these steps.

You can’t use the same above method to re-enable Windows defender, because when the service is running, the MS security essential console will not open.

Usually, when Windows defender stopped and none of the third party antivirus software are installed on your computer, you will be getting a warning message from the action center as shown below.

Right click on the action center warning message and turn on spyware protection or anti-virus protection. This will restart/re-enable Windows Defender on Windows 8.1

enable windows defender

Dinesh is the founder of Sysprobs and written more than 400 articles. Enthusiast in Microsoft and cloud technologies with more than 15 years of IT experience.

7 thoughts on “How to Remove Windows Defender on Windows 10 and Windows 8.1”

  1. Although that method works, it doesn’t prevent Windows Defender downloading daily definition updates which continue unabated!

  2. This doesn’t “remove” anything. It DISABLES it. DISABLING a program is different from REMOVING it. Please use proper technical language when writing technical articles if you want your readers to take you and this site seriously. You have lost me precious time. Thank you.

  3. Although there is no official way to cleanly uninstall Defender, it is possible to remove the service, Control Panel entry, other related registry entries and all the files and folders manually so Defender is unofficially removed from the system. This does present its own set of problems though as the registry keys, files and folders are all protected with enhanced permissions and you have to take ownership of them all. Also, once removed, you can’t re-install Defender again because it isn’t a separate package.

    You have to download third-party software to uninstall windows defender… Please never make an article again ….

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