How to Modify Windows Defender for Compatibility Issues with Security Software

Melanie Gross
Aug 23, 2011
Updated • May 18, 2014
Security, Windows tips

If you are running a full security suite to protect your system against malware,you may notice compatibility issues between nti-malware software and the built-in Windows Defender. Windows Defender is integrated natively in Windows 7 and newer versions of the operating system which means that it cannot be uninstalled. The only option you have is to disable if it is interfering with other security suite.

I am not recommending that you should disable Windows Defender, just that you can and the method for doing so is listed below.

If, for some reason, you do not have a comprehensive anti-malware suite, please do not disable Windows Defender or Microsoft Security Essentials.

The following information is for users running a full security suite and face issues with Windows Defender interfering with it or using up resources. Windows Defender should not be disabled if it is the only security program on the system. Then again, it is advised not to rely exclusively on it.

The basic rule is that if you are running a good anti-malware program, other anti-malware programs may conflict with it in certain ways so that it is best to run one, not two or three. In this case, the PC being used as an example is running excellent anti-malware software and, as it turns out, Windows Defender has disabled the manual scan option for that security software. This is how you can disable Windows Defender easily and potentially remedy such problems.

Open Windows Defender by typing the name in the search box at the Start menu and then press enter. Again, do not disable this if this is your only protection and you are not using other anti-malware.

windows defender

Go to Tools at the top menu and click Options. Click Administrator. You will have to be using the Administrator account. If prompted for an administrator password, provide it.

Uncheck the box next to “Use this program” and then click the Save button. You will now see a message that the program has been turned off.

disable windows defender

That is all there is to it. If you want to turn Windows Defender on again, simply open the program the same way and click on the "click here to turn it on" link in the "this program is turned off" window on startup.

If you want to ensure that it never gets turned on again, open the Services panel through the Control Panel and find Windows Defender. You may also type “services.msc” in the start menu and then find Windows Defender in the list and double-click it. Now change the Startup type to Disabled.

Next, click Apply and Windows Defender will not turn on by default for any reason. You can reset this in the future if you need to. Remember, this article is in no way stating that this is something you have to do, just that you can do it. The decision is yours. Be certain that your computer is protected against malware with a high quality, Windows 7 compatible anti-malware suite. To learn more about compatible security programs for Windows 7, visit the Microsoft website.

How to turn off Windows Defender on Windows 7
Article Name
How to turn off Windows Defender on Windows 7
You can disable the native Windows Defender security application on Windows 7 if you are noticing incompatibility issues with other security software running on the system.

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