Windows Security (formerly Windows Defender and other names) in Windows 11 is Microsoft’s built-in virus and malware protection suite. Windows Security’s real-time antivirus is enabled by default, and we recommend keeping it that way. However, there may come a time when you need to disable it.
You may want to disable it due to your personal preferences. You may need to access a file known to be safe, but it is marked as a threat. You may be using a third-party security suite or have a kiosk that is not connected to the network.
Whatever the reason, here’s how you can enable or disable Windows Security in Windows 11.
Enable or disable Windows Security in Windows 11
To open Windows Security, right-click the button Beginning and select Setting. Alternatively, you can use the keyboard shortcut key Windows + I to open the Settings menu directly.
When the Settings window opens, click Privacy and Security> Windows Security.
Then click the button Open Windows Security.
This opens the application Windows Security. You will see the different protections offered by the suite and the status.
To deactivate the Protection Against Viruses and Threats (your built-in virus protection), click on it on the left. In the section “Virus and threat protection settingsClick on the link Manage settings.
Review and activate the protections you want below. The Real-time protection It’s an important part of Windows Security – when you turn it off, you’ll receive notifications to turn it back on.
If you deactivate it, it will be deactivated for a limited time, but it will be activated again automatically. This is good if your antivirus is blocking access to a file that you know is safe.
You can also enable or disable other parts of the package, such as the Protections delivered in the cloud, automatic submission of samples, controlled access to folders, etc.
Disable Microsoft Antivirus Using Group Policy
If you are running Windows 11 Pro, you can use the Group policy to disable the antivirus permanently. However, there is a little caveat about it. Before starting, you must deactivate the “Tamper protection”In the Windows Security application.
Tamper protection protects against unauthorized changes to the system. If you have tampering protection turned on and you make any changes to Group Policy, Windows security will restore the changes the next time the computer is restarted.
Disable tamper protection
To deactivate the tampering protection, press Beginning (or Windows key) and type windows security; select option Best match on top.
Then press Virus and threat protection> Manage settings. Scroll down and change the settings for the Tamper protection to Deactivated.
That is all. You can continue to make Group Policy changes and permanently disable Windows Security antivirus.
Permanently disable Windows Defender Antivirus with Group Policy Editor
To disable Windows Security antivirus using Group Policy Editor, click Beginning or the Windows key. Then write, gpedit.msc and select the result of the Best match.
When the Local Group Policy Editor opens, navigate to the following path:
Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Microsoft Defender Antivirus
Then double click on the policy Disabling Microsoft Defender Antivirus that appears on the right.
Set the option Enabled to disable antivirus, then click Apply and To accept.
You will have to restart Windows 11 for the change to take effect. If you open Windows Security, you will see that Virus and Threat Protection is disabled.
If you want to turn it back on, you don’t have to re-enter Group Policy. Instead, you can click the button Activate Windows Security application.
When you restart again, keep in mind that the Antivirus part of Windows Security will be disabled. However, you will still see a “Shield” icon on the taskbar. This is because the icon is part of the general Windows Security application, not just the antivirus program.
Even if the real-time antivirus is disabled, other parts of the security suite will continue to work. For example, you can open Windows Security and enable or disable other protections, such as Firewall Defender.
Please note that you will need to run Windows 11 Pro to use Group Policy. The Home version does not include it. Of course you can always upgrade Windows 11 Home to Pro.