Windows – Can’t disable Windows Defender via Group Policy or the Registry

group-policywindowswindows 10windows-defender

I wish to disable Windows Defender on Windows 10 Pro, and I know I have to enable the policy Turn off Windows Defender Antivirus via:

  • Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Defender Antivirus

This didn't work; Windows Defender, and it's modules, remained active.

  • I tried disabling it via the Registry, adding the following key with a value of 1, but received Error while renaming:
    HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender\DisableAntiSpyware
    

    I restarted my PC several times, turned it off, unplugged it, all to no avail.

Has Microsoft changed something in the latest release that prevents users from turning Windows Defender off?

Best Answer

I found the solution. It turns out that Windows Defender is so ingrained within Windows 10 that it comes with its own "anti-tamper" protection.

This does two things: prevents you from creating the registry key in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender by giving you a generic error message and also renders the group policy change ineffective.

In order to disable this, I had to follow these instructions:

  1. Go to Virus & threat protection
  2. Click on Manage Settings
  3. Turn off Tamper Protection
  4. Proceed to enable the group policy Turn off Windows Defender Antivirus in Computer Configuration/Administrative Templates/Windows Components/Windows Defender Antivirus or add the registry key.
  5. Restart PC