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How to disable Microsoft Defender antivirus in Windows 11

Windows 11, like the previous operating system, has the Microsoft Defender antivirus software (formerly known as Windows Defender) by default. This antivirus solution is turned on by default on all versions of the activated Windows 11 operating system, unless another security solution is installed that is recognized as such by the operating system. In this case Microsoft Defender will be automatically disabled. However, is it possible to disable Windows 11 Microsoft Defender antivirus manually?

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Most third-party antivirus solutions that support Windows 11 are recognized, so you won't have to manually disable the default Microsoft Defender antivirus. The new third-party antivirus will take care of automatically disabling it. However, there may be some exception or you may even want to unilaterally disable said Windows Defender for any other reason.

Most Windows 11 users keep Microsoft Defender Antivirus turned on if no other antivirus program is installed as it allows them to maintain some security in their operating system. However, some may wish to temporarily or permanently disable Microsoft Defender, even if no other solution is installed. Among the reasons for wanting to deactivate it, we can find the high use of resources caused by Windows Defender and that therefore can slow down the general operation of the computer, for example, while using a Windows 11 virtual machine image or running a video game.

Windows Security provides users with options to disable certain security modules, including Real-time Protection, from the Settings app. Real-time protection can be temporarily disabled there, while all other protection modules can be permanently disabled. Sometimes it may be enough to disable the feature for a short period of time to fix the problems you are experiencing.

With that said, in this tutorial we show you how to disable Microsoft Defender Real-time Protection in Windows 11 and also how to disable Microsoft Defender antivirus entirely in Windows 11:

How to disable Microsoft Defender Real-time Protection in Windows 11
Open Windows 11 Settings using the shortcut: Windows Key + I

On the left side of the screen click on: Privacy and security

Then, in the main part select: Windows Security and disable Microsoft defender real-time protection

On the new screen you will have to click on: Protection against viruses and threats.

The Windows Security app will open in which you have to go to: Virus and threat protection

Next, scroll down and under the Virus and threat protection section , click on: Manage settings .

You will now have access to Real Time Protection which you can deactivate just by clicking on the corresponding switch.

Done, now Microsoft reminds you on the page that the shutdown is temporary:

It scans for malware and prevents it from installing or running on your device. You can turn this option off for a short time before it automatically turns back on.

Important note: on this same screen you can disable other protection modules, such as cloud-based protection, automatic sample submission or tampering protection.

How to completely disable Windows Defender Antivirus in Windows 11.
Please note that you need to disable the tamper protection feature of the Windows Security app in order to disable antivirus from the Windows 11 local Group Policy editor.

Therefore, you have to open the Settings app and go to: Privacy and security → Windows Security.

Once inside the Windows Security app go to: Virus and threat protection → Manage settings → Manage settings

Here locate the module: Tamper Protection.

Once this option is disabled, close the Windows Security app and open the Windows 11 Local Group Policy Editor

When you are in the editor, go to: Computer Configuration → Administrative Templates → Windows Components → Microsoft Defender Antivirus → Disable Microsoft Defender Antivirus

After clicking on the option Disable Microsoft Defender Antivirus, a small window will open in which you will have to check the option: Enable

To save the changes, you will have to click OK.

completely disable Microsoft Defender antivirus in Windows 11

Close the policy editor window and restart your computer.
Virus and threat protection should be disabled after the reboot. You should keep in mind that although the shield icon is still displayed in the system tray, Microsoft Defender Antivirus will be disabled. This is because the Shield icon refers to the Windows Security app and not the Microsoft Defender Antivirus icon.

Important Note: This method of completely disabling Windows Defender cannot be carried out in the Home version of Windows 11.

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