How to Turn Off Microsoft Defender in Windows 11

YouTube player


Microsoft Defender, formerly Windows Defender, is antivirus software that is built into newer versions of Microsoft’s Windows operating system. One of the downsides of Microsoft Defender is that sometimes it can do a little too good of a job, such as preventing you from installing software you know is safe. Whether you want to temporarily disable Microsoft Defender so you can install software you trust, or you want to permanently disable it in favor of running other antivirus software, you can easily turn off Microsoft Defender in Windows 11 with a few quick clicks. Examples of all instructions in the steps can be seen in both the YouTube video above and the image collection located beneath the steps.

Shop Halloween decorations on Amazon and save up to 50%!

Steps to Turn Off Microsoft Defender in Windows 11

  1. Navigate to your Windows 11 home screen, and then click the “Windows” icon on the taskbar to open the Start menu.
  2. Click “All Apps” in the Pinned section. A list of all of the apps installed on your Windows 11 computer are displayed.
  3. Scroll down to the W section and then click “Windows Security.” The Windows Security app launches.
  4. Click “Virus and Threat Protection” in the menu on the left side of the screen.
  5. Click “Manage Settings” beneath Virus and Threat Protection Settings. The Virus and Threat Protection Settings screen is displayed.
  6. Click to set the toggle associated with Real-time Protection to Off. A message is displayed above the toggle letting you know that real-time protection is off, which may leave your Windows 11 computer vulnerable to viruses or attacks.

Reasons to Turn Off Microsoft Defender in Windows 11

Conflicts with Other Security Software

When you run multiple security programs on the same device, they often compete for system resources and create compatibility issues. In some cases, they may even interfere with each other’s performance, causing slowdowns and crashes. If you experience such issues with Microsoft Defender and another antivirus software, turning off Microsoft Defender temporarily can resolve the problem. However, it’s important to remember that doing so leaves your device exposed to threats, so it’s crucial to have alternative security measures in place.

Unwanted Scans and Notifications

Constant scans and notifications from Microsoft Defender can be distracting and disruptive, especially if you work on your computer for extended periods. If you find yourself frequently annoyed by these alerts, you can turn off Microsoft Defender temporarily to silence the noise. But be mindful of the security risks involved, and consider other means of protection, such as firewalls or intrusion detection systems.

Increased Performance

Microsoft Defender consumes system resources to perform scans and detect potential threats. If you need to boost your device’s performance for a specific task or game, you can turn off Microsoft Defender temporarily to free up those resources. However, doing so exposes your device to security risks, so it’s important to have alternative security measures in place.

False Positive Detections

Occasionally, Microsoft Defender may flag a file or program as a threat when it’s actually safe. This can slow down work and cause inconvenience. If you encounter such false positive detections, you can turn off Microsoft Defender temporarily to allow access to the affected file or program. But be aware of the security risks involved, and consider other forms of protection, such as sandboxing or virtual machines.

Testing Software

In some cases, you may need to test software that Microsoft Defender blocks as a threat. To do so, you can turn off Microsoft Defender temporarily. But remember, this leaves your device vulnerable to threats, so it’s essential to have alternative security measures in place while testing the software.

Reasons to Not Turn Off Microsoft Defender in Windows 11

Protection Against Viruses and Malware

Microsoft Defender is a crucial component of Windows 11, as it provides essential protection against viruses and malware. Turning off Microsoft Defender may seem like a good idea, but it puts your computer at risk of infection from malicious software. With Microsoft Defender enabled, your computer is better protected against threats from viruses, spyware, and other types of malware. It scans your computer regularly for potential threats and can remove them before they can cause any harm. So, it’s a good idea to keep Microsoft Defender enabled to ensure your computer is safe and secure.

Built-in Protection

Microsoft Defender is integrated into Windows 11, providing real-time protection against threats. By default, it’s always running in the background and constantly monitoring your computer for suspicious activity. It’s designed to detect and remove malware before it can cause any harm. With Microsoft Defender enabled, you don’t have to worry about installing a third-party antivirus software, as it’s built into the operating system. Microsoft Defender is a reliable and powerful tool that provides comprehensive protection against various types of threats. So, it’s recommended that you keep it enabled to ensure your computer is always protected.

Regular Updates

Microsoft regularly releases updates for its Defender software to protect against the latest threats. By turning off Microsoft Defender, you’re missing out on these critical updates that can keep your computer safe from new threats. Updates can include improvements to the software’s scanning capabilities, enhancements to the detection engine, and other security enhancements. It’s crucial to keep Microsoft Defender enabled to ensure you’re always protected against the latest threats.

Compatibility Issues

If you disable Microsoft Defender and install a third-party antivirus software, you may run into compatibility issues. Some third-party antivirus software may conflict with other programs, causing system instability and performance problems. It’s essential to remember that Microsoft Defender is designed to work seamlessly with Windows 11, and disabling it can cause unnecessary problems. In most cases, Microsoft Defender provides sufficient protection, and there’s no need to install a third-party antivirus software.

Limited Features

While some third-party antivirus software may offer more features and options than Microsoft Defender, it’s not always necessary to turn off Defender to use them. Third-party antivirus software may offer additional features, such as advanced malware removal tools, but these features may not be worth the risk of leaving your computer unprotected. By keeping Microsoft Defender enabled, you can still benefit from essential antivirus protection, while avoiding potential compatibility issues and other problems associated with third-party software. In most cases, Microsoft Defender provides all the protection you need to keep your computer safe and secure.

Shop Amazon's Deal of the Day and save up to 50%!

All Tutorial Categories

About Max

Max has nearly 20 years of experience working in IT across three different industries in project management and management capacities: publishing, telecommunications and healthcare. He holds the following degrees and certifications: BS Communications, MA Communications, MBA and Project Management Professional (PMP). His tutorial-focused YouTube channel earned more than 100,000 subscribers in its first four years, and currently has more than 160,000 subscribers, 110,000,000 video views and an insane 2.4 million hours of watch time. Max enjoys learning new technology, reading and collecting comic books, listening to audiobooks and playing video games.

This article contains affiliate links, which means that if you click one of the product links I may receive a small commission. This helps support my content, and enables me to continue creating content like this. Thank you for the support!