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Lowell is the founder and CEO of How-To Geek. He’s been running the show since creating the site back in 2006. Over the last decade, Lowell has personally written more than 1000 articles which have been viewed by over 250 million people. Prior lớn starting How-To Geek, Lowell spent 15 years working in IT doing consulting, cybersecurity, database management, and programming work. Read more...

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If you’re already running a full anti-malware suite, you might not even realize that Windows Defender is already installed with Windows, và is probably wasting precious resources. Here’s how khổng lồ get rid of it.

Now, just khổng lồ be clear, we’re not saying that we hate Windows Defender. Some spyware protection is better than none, và it’s built in & free! But… if you are already running something that provides great anti-malware protection, there’s no need to lớn have more than one application running at a time.

In Windows 10, go khổng lồ Settings > Update & Security > Windows Defender, & turn off the “Real-time protection” option.In Windows 7 and 8, xuất hiện Windows Defender, head to lớn Options > Administrator, và turn off the “Use this program” option.

Windows Defender is a reasonably solid antivirus tiện ích that comes built into Windows 7, 8, & 10. It may not be the best antivirus app in terms of the pure number of threats it stops, but Defender arguably does have a security advantage in being so tightly integrated into Windows and in being well-behaved when it comes to other important apps.

That said, what you use is up to you. Most other antivirus apps are pretty good about turning Defender off when you install them, and turning it back on if you uninstall them. It never hurts khổng lồ make sure, though. Running more than one real-time protection tiện ích can cause conflicts and waste system resources.

Run Malwarebytes Alongside Your Antivirus for Maximum Protection

Before you go ahead & disable Windows Defender for good, it’s worth pointing out that these days the really active threats are from spyware, adware, crapware, & the worst of all: ransomware. That’s where Malwarebytes comes in.

Malwarebytes not only protects your computer from malware, but does a better job of cleaning up an infected computer than anything else on the market.

And lớn protect your browser against zero-day exploits, Malwarebytes also includes Anti-Exploit và Anti-Ransomware features, which can stop drive-by attacks cold. And best of all, you can run Malwarebytes alongside your existing antivirus to keep yourself fully protected.

How lớn Disable Windows Defender in Windows 10

Starting with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update in the Summer of 2016, Windows Defender can actually run alongside another antivirus app. When you install another app, Windows Defender itself isn’t disabled—just its real-time protection component is. That means your third-party app handles real-time protection, but you can still run a manual scan with Defender whenever you want.

RELATED: How to Use the Built-in Windows Defender Antivirus on Windows 10

If you want khổng lồ make sure that Windows Defender’s real-time protection is disabled—or re-enabled after uninstalling a third-party antivirus app—hit Start, type “defender,” và then select “Windows Defender.”


In the main “Windows Defender” window, click the “Settings” button in the vị trí cao nhất right of the window.


You’ll be presented with the “Settings window.” lưu ý that you can also get here from Settings > Update & Security > Windows Defender. Just make sure that the “Real-time protection” toggle is phối the way you want.

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There is one more thing you should be aware of regarding Windows 10’s real-time protection. If you disable it và have no other antivirus phầm mềm installed, Defender will turn real-time protection back on automatically when you restart Windows. This does not happen if you’re running a third-party antivirus app. There’s no real fix for this, but if for whatever reason you vì want to lớn keep real-time protection off, but we bởi have a kind of work-around for you. You can simply exclude your entire system drive from being scanned.

Head to lớn Settings > Update & Security > Windows Defender and click the “Add an exclusion” link. Tap the “Exclude a Folder” button & select your C: drive.

And if you have additional drives on your PC, you can exclude those, too.

Please lưu ý that this is something we don’t really recommend. Excluding those drives is basically like turning off antivirus protection. But, it’s there if you need it.

Disable Windows Defender in Windows 7 or 8

In Windows 7 & 8, you have to completely disable Windows Defender when you want khổng lồ run another antivirus app. You can’t just disable real-time protection the way you can in Windows 10. Again, Defender should get disabled automatically when you install a third-party app và re-enabled should you uninstall that phầm mềm later. But it doesn’t hurt to make sure.

Open up Windows Defender by hitting start, typing “defender,” & then clicking “Windows Defender.”


Switch to lớn the “Tools” page on the menu, & then click the “Options” link.


Switch to the “Administrator” tab in the left-hand pane, và then toggle the “Use this program” check box however you want. When you’re done, click the “Save” button.


Windows Defender then confirms that you’ve turned it off. Awesome!


Stopping the Windows Defender Service or Uninstalling Defender

There are tips floating around out there for stopping the Windows Defender service from starting automatically when you start your PC, & even a complicated process for completely uninstalling Windows Defender altogether. We don’t recommend them. Here’s why.

First, if you disable Defender—or it gets automatically disabled when you install a third-party app—it actually uses very few system resources. There’s really not much point in stopping the service. This is particularly true in Windows 10 where you can disable the real-time protection, but still have the added safety of using Defender for manual scanning as a back up to lớn your regular antivirus app.

RELATED: 7 Ways To không tính phí Up Hard Disk Space On Windows

Second, if you stop the service—or go through the process of uninstalling it—any Windows update is likely lớn restore Windows Defender & undo all that work anyway. Plus, Defender takes up very little disk space and there are better ways to không tính tiền up disk space on Windows.

Make Sure You’re Still Using Antivirus (and Anti-Malware)


RELATED: Do I Really Need Antivirus If I Browse Carefully and Use Common Sense?

While it’s handy being able lớn enable & disable Windows Defender, please vày make sure that you’re still running a good antivirus app. Many people will tell you that you can go without antivirus if you’re careful, và that just isn’t true. If you really hate antivirus, Windows Defender is the least intrusive program you can use—so you should probably leave it on.

In fact, we recommend everyone also use a good anti-malware and anti-exploit app like MalwareBytes in addition to antivirus—it’ll help protect you from against exploits và vulnerabilities that antivirus apps don’t cover, which are arguably more prevalent on the web today.

Lowell HeddingsLowell is the founder & CEO of How-To Geek. He’s been running the show since creating the site back in 2006. Over the last decade, Lowell has personally written more than 1000 articles which have been viewed by over 250 million people. Prior khổng lồ starting How-To Geek, Lowell spent 15 years working in IT doing consulting, cybersecurity, database management, & programming work. Read Full Bio »
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