Windows Defender is malware protection that is offered by Microsoft for Windows Vista, 7, 8/8.1 and Windows 10 OS. This anti-spyware program works quickly, uses few system resources and it runs in the background, thus allowing you to continue with other tasks. You can use Defender anytime to scan your system if it doesn’t work properly because it helps indentifying and removing viruses, spyware and other malicious software.
However, Defender is quite inconvenient because it is installed by default and doesn’t have a hidden option to unistall it. So, if it is still running or causing clashes with third-party antivirus software running on your computer or some other serious issues, you might want to disable it or remove it completely.
Disable Windows Defender in Windows Vista, Windows 7
Although Defender should get disabled automatically once you run a third-party antivirus software and get enabled again if you uninstall the antivirus app later, it is nice to know you can completely disable it manually if somehow it doesn’t behave as it should.
In Windows Vista and Windows 7, “Windows Defender” was initially named “Microsoft Security Essentials” and it was not pre-installed on your system so if you want to use it, then you can download and install it directly from Microsoft’s Website. Please note that Windows Vista also includes a tray icon (MSASCui.exe) for the program which starts with Windows that needs to be removed first. There are two simple methods to disable Defender in Windows Vista, 7:
- In Windows Vista, Defender might be running in the tray under Vista so double click on the tray icon;
In Windows 7 or 8 go to Control Panel -> Windows Defender;
Or Open up your Start menu, type “Windows Defender” in the search box -> “Windows Defender”
- Switch to the “Tools” page on the menu, and then go to “Options”
- In Windows Vista, scroll down to the bottom of the window and under “Administration” tab, toggle the “Use this program” check box and click “Save” when you are done to turn off Windows Defender;
In Windows 7 or 8, switch to the “Administrator” options in the left-hand pane and then uncheck “Use this program”and finish by clicking the “Save” button
- Go to Start menu search box and type in services.msc -> Control Panel -> Administrative Tools->Services.
- Scroll down the Services list and right-click on the “Windows Defender”name and select “Properties” in the context menu
- In the Windows Defender Service dialog, hit the “Stop” button first and then in General Settings, click on the Startup type and choose “Disabled”. Click “Ok” to complete the setting.
Misconfig method to remove the startup entry
If you proceeded to disable Windows Defender from Services in Windows Vista before actually disabling the anti-spyware program’s tray program from starting with the OS using System Configuration, this method shows you how to prevent receiving the following error message:
Application failed to initialized: 0x800106ba. A problem caused this program’s service to stop. To start the service, restart your computer or search Help and Support for how to start a service manuall.
- Head to “Start” and write msconfig into the search box and press Enter.
- In System Configurationgo to Services tab and uncheck the Windows Defender, then press OK and at the restart box check “Don’t show this message again”. Hit “Exit without restart” to finish the process.
Disable Windows Defender in Windows 8/8.1 and 10
Defender has been built into Windows 8 and Windows 10. You cannot uninstall it, but there are two ways to completely turn it off: one is the same as the first method used for Windows Vista and 7 and for the other you have to follow the steps bellow:
- Control Panel -> Windows Defender/click on the “Start Screen” and right click and the All Apps-> Windows Defender
- Click on the Settings tab -> click Administrator on the left, and then uncheck the “Turn on Windows Defender” box and save the changes.
Complete removal of Windows Defender
If you still encounter issues even after you disable Defender or you want to get rid of it completely
This method is for experienced users because modifying the registry can lead to serious issues with your system that might require a full clean install. Before removing the Windows Defender service, and other files related to it, including Control Panel entry can be performed manually, you need to have prior knowledge of how to delete a protected registry key and how to take ownership of folders.
Manually Removing Defender
know how to delete a protected registry key and how to take ownership of folders with a tool like WinOwnership or the Take Ownership context menu.
- Open a command Prompt and type the following to stop and then delete the Defender service:
- sc stop windefend
- sc delete windefend
- Next you need to grant full permissions to and delete the following registry key so the Defender Control Panel entry can be deleted:
- Also grant full permission and delete the Defender program registry key:
- Now take ownership of and delete the following folders:
C:\Program Files\Windows Defender
C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Defender (for 64-bit)
After that is done, Defender should now be removed. Windows may complain that Defender is turned off but this will disappear after a reboot or you can go into Action Center and tell it not to monitor your anti spyware software.
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