How to Disable Windows Defender on Windows 11 (Temporary + Permanent Methods)

Windows 11 comes preinstalled with Microsoft Windows Defender Antivirus. As you may already be familiar with the app…

Disable Windows Defender Windows 11

Windows 11 comes preinstalled with Microsoft Windows Defender Antivirus. As you may already be familiar with the app and its name, the purpose is to keep your devices safe and secure from any harmful and malicious content. However, users may be required to turn it off entirely due to several reasons.

You may need to install any third-party software that the Defender is blocking, or use other antivirus software and no longer need Windows Defender. For any reason, Windows Defender can be disabled both permanently and temporarily.

This post discusses how you can disable Windows Defender Antivirus on Windows 11 both temporarily and permanently while discussing other myths that are said to work in disabling Defender, but do not.

Disable Windows Defender in Windows 11 Temporarily

Our first step will be to temporarily disable Defender in case it is only needed for this one time. Here’s how you can do it on Windows 11: 

  1. Navigate to the following:
    Settings app >> Privacy and security >> Windows Security >> Virus and Threat Protection
  2. On the Windows Security page, click Manage Settings under “Virus and Threat Protection settings.”
    manage settings
  3. Now switch the slider under “Real-time protection” to the Off position. If prompted with a UAC, click Yes.

This will temporarily disable only the real-time protection component from your Windows Defender, which means that you should be able to install any app or program that was being prevented by it. However, Windows Defender will re-enable itself the next time the device is rebooted.

Disable Windows Defender in Windows 11 Permanently

There is a Group Policy Object (GPO) in Windows 11 by the name “Turn off Microsoft Defender Antivirus” which is supposed to turn off the Defender once enabled. However, this GPO is also reset when the Windows 11 device is restarted. Therefore, it is not a means to disable Windows Defender permanently.

I have tested most of the methods written on the Internet including Windows Registry manipulation, disabling services, and removal of Wdboot driver. However, none of these have worked for us so far.

There is one method that does seem to do the trick – taking ownership of Windows Defender files and folders and then removing all the permissions. We have directed this method to different parts so that you can keep track of the activity while performing it.

Before you begin, make sure that you have access to an administrator account.

Step 1: Boot into Safe Mode

The purpose of booting into Safe Mode is to avoid the running of unnecessary apps, programs, and services that may hinder the process. Here’s how to boot into Safe Mode in Windows 11:

  1. Open the System Configuration window by typing in msconfig in Run.
  2. Now switch to the Boot tab, check the box next to Safe boot, and then click Apply and Ok.
    enter safe mode
  3. In the confirmation dialog box, click Restart.

Your device will now restart and boot into Safe Mode. Log in to the administrator account and continue to the next phase.

Step 2: Take Ownership

You must now take complete ownership of the Windows Defender executable files to disable it permanently. Here is how:

  1. Open File Explorer and enter the path below. You can also navigate to it using the GUI after unhiding the programdata folder.
    C:\programdata\Microsoft\Windows Defender\
  2. Now right-click on the folder Platform and click Properties from the context menu.
  3. From the Properties window, switch to the Security tab and click Advanced.
  4. On the next window, click Change in front of Owner.
  5. Now enter Administrator in the text field below “Enter the object name to select.” Then click Check Names. When the field displays the complete name of the users group as in the image below, click OK.
    check names
  6. Back in the Advanced Security Settings window, check the box next to “Replace owner on subcontainers and objects,” then click Apply.
    check box 1
  7. In the confirmation box, click OK. Do not close the Advanced Security Settings window.

Your user account has now taken ownership of the Windows Defender files. It’s time to move on to the next phase of the process.

Step 3: Remove Permissions

Now that you have the ownership, it is time to remove the permissions of the other users and groups. Here is how:

  1. Select each Permission Entry from the list and click Remove.
  2. Repeat step 1 until all entries are removed.
  3. When all are removed, check the box next to “Replace alll child object…” and click Apply and Ok. If prompted for a confirmation, click Yes.
    replace all

The permissions have now been removed successfully.

Step 4: Reboot Normally

Now all you need to do is reboot the computer normally (Without Safe Mode). Here is how:

  1. Open the System Configuration window by typing in msconfig in Run.
  2. Now select the Normal startup radio button and then click Apply and Ok.
    normal startup
  3. In the confirmation dialog box, click Restart.
    restart 2

The computer will now reboot into normal mode. When it does, you can check and confirm that Windows Defender has been permanently disabled by verifying that the Virus & THreat Protection option in Windows Security has disappeared.

no virus and threat
No Virus or Threat Protection option in Windows Security

Closing Words

Once Windows Defender has been deactivated, your device becomes vulnerable if you do not have another antivirus to protect it. Therefore, if you do intend to keep it disabled, we suggest that you consider these 17 aspects before making an antivirus purchase.

Also see:

Subhan Zafar is an established IT professional with interests in Windows and Server infrastructure testing and research, and is currently working with Itechtics as a research consultant. He has studied Electrical Engineering and is also certified by Huawei (HCNA & HCNP Routing and Switching).

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