Windows Defender is the default antivirus solution that ships with Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system.
It is turned on by default unless antivirus solutions are installed that Windows Defender recognizes.
Despite contrary reports, it is still possible to turn off Windows Defender if it does not recognize another antivirus solution or none is installed on the system.
One option to do so is by enabling the "Turn off Windows Defender" policy in the Group Policy editor. The confusion came from Windows Defender's real-time protection feature which turns itself back on after being turned off.
Windows Defender displays notifications about certain events by default automatically on the desktop. This is the case for critical events that require user interaction, for instance if a download was blocked.
The latest version of Windows Defender ships with a feature called "enhanced notifications" which may inform you events that are not critical. This can be something as mundane as informing you that the last scan did not detect any issues.
Windows 10 users have several options to manage Windows Defender's notification behavior.
You may enable or disable enhanced notifications in the settings but that is about it.
The Group Policy is the better location to control Windows Defender notifications as it gives you more control over the functionality. There you find the option to turn off Windows Defender completely as well.
Please note that access to the Group Policy is restricted to Professional versions of Windows 10. This means that Home users don't have access to it. Jump to Option 3 instead.
Do the following to open the Group Policy Editor.
Suppress all notifications
Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Defender > Client Interface
If you enable "suppress all notifications", notifications are no longer displayed on clients. While that does take care of notifications on the desktop, it means that you may not receive information about critical events, blocked downloads or removed files among other things.
You may turn off all Windows Defender notifications using the Windows Registry. This method is identical to using the Group Policy to do so (which sets the same Registry key).
This suppresses notifications. If you want to revert the setting delete the Dword to do so.
Suppressing notifications won't stop Windows Defender from running on the device. You may still open the program and check the quarantine section for instance to restore blocked file downloads or files.
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