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Windows Defender - Turn On or Off in Windows 8

How to Turn On or Off Windows Defender in Windows 8 and 8.1

Windows 8 comes with a new version of Windows Defender which is the re-branded "Microsoft Security Essentials" (MSE). When Windows Defender is on, you're notified when viruses, spyware, malware (malicious software), or potentially unwanted software try to install or run on your PC.

This tutorial will show you how to turn on or off Windows Defender in Windows 8, Windows RT, Windows 8.1, and Windows RT 8.1.

You must be signed in as an administrator to be able to do the steps in this tutorial.

In order for Windows Defender to run, it will require that the Windows Defender Service remain "Started" (running) and set to "Automatic".

How to Start, Stop, and Disable Services in Windows 8

warning   Warning
Some 3rd party antivirus (AV) programs may turn off Windows Defender when they are installed to be used instead, and will not allow Windows Defender to be turned back on until the 3rd party AV has been completely uninstalled.


CONTENTS:

  • Option One: To Turn On or Off Windows Defender using Group Policy
  • Option Two: To Turn On or Off Windows Defender using a REG file


EXAMPLE: Windows Defender Turned Off
Windows_Defender_OFF.jpg





OPTION ONE
To Turn On or Off Windows Defender using Group Policy

Note   Note
Local Group Policy Editor is only available in the Windows 8 Pro and Enterprise editions.
All editions can use Option Two below.


1. Open the Local Group Policy Editor.

2. In the left pane of Local Group Policy Editor, navigate to the location below. (see screenshot below)

Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Windows Defender

Windows_Defender_gpedit-1.jpg


3. In the right pane of Windows Defender in Local Group Policy Editor, double click/tap on the Turn off Windows Defender policy to edit it. (see screenshot above)

4. Do step 5 (on) or step 6 (off) below for what you would like to do.


5. To Turn On Windows Defender

A) Select (dot) Not Configured or Disabled, click/tap on OK, and go to step 7 below. (see screenshot below)

NOTE: Not Configured is the default setting.




6. To Turn Off Windows Defender

A) Select (dot) Enabled, click/tap on OK, and go to step 7 below. (see screenshot below)

Windows_Defender_gpedit-2.png


7. When finished, you can close the Local Group Policy Editor if you like.

8. If you are turning on Windows Defender, then open Windows Defender, and click/tap on Start now.

Start_Windows_Defender.jpg







OPTION TWO
To Turn On or Off Windows Defender using a REG file

Note   Note
The .reg files below will add and modify the DWORD values in the registry keys below.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender

DisableAntiSpyware DWORD

(delete) or 0 = On
1 = Off


1. Do step 2 (on) or step 3 (off) below for what you would like to do.


2. To Turn On Windows Defender
NOTE: This is the default setting.

A) Click/tap on the Download button below to download the file below, and go to step 4 below.

Turn_On_Windows_Defender.reg

download



3. To Turn Off Windows Defender

A) Click/tap on the Download button below to download the file below, and go to step 4 below.

Turn_Off_Windows_Defender.reg

download


4. Save the .reg file to your desktop.

5. Double click/tap on the downloaded .reg file to merge it.

6. If prompted, click/tap on Run, Yes (UAC), Yes, and OK to approve the merge.

7. If you are turning on Windows Defender, then open Windows Defender, and click/tap on Start now if needed.

Start_Windows_Defender.jpg


9. If you like, you can now delete the downloaded .reg file.


That's it,
Shawn


 

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Last edited by a moderator:

Brink

Administrator
Administrator
mvp
In that case, you may need to refresh or reset Windows 8.1 to fix it. It sounds like Kaspersky may have hosed it. :(
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    64-bit Windows 10
    Name
    Shawn Brink
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    Custom self built
    CPU
    Intel i7-8700K OC'd to 5 GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Maximus XI Formula Z390
    Memory
    16 GB (8GBx2) G.SKILL TridentZ DDR4 3200 MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    ASUS ROG-STRIX-GTX1080TI-O11G-GAMING
    Sound Card
    Integrated Digital Audio (S/PDIF)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    3 x 27" Asus VE278Q
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    1TB Samsung 970 EVO Plus M.2,
    250GB Samsung 960 EVO M.2,
    6TB WD Black WD6001FZWX
    8TB WD MyCloudEX2Ultra NAS
    PSU
    OCZ Series Gold OCZZ1000M 1000W
    Case
    Thermaltake Core P3
    Cooling
    Corsair Hydro H115i
    Keyboard
    Logitech wireless K800
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    Internet Speed
    1 Gb/s Download and 35 Mb/s Upload
    Browser
    Internet Explorer 11
    Antivirus
    Malwarebyte Anti-Malware Premium
    Other Info
    Logitech Z625 speaker system,
    Logitech BRIO 4K Pro webcam,
    HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdn,
    Linksys EA9500 router,
    Arris SB8200 cable modem,
    APC SMART-UPS RT 1000 XL - SURT1000XLI,
    Lumia 1520 phone
    State/Region Flag
    us oklahoma

jan4uf

New Member
Thank you!
I found an uninstall program to remove the remnants of McAfee that was uninstalled on another forum, and your steps here helped me get Windows Defender turned on again!
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8

Brink

Administrator
Administrator
mvp
Hello Jan, and welcome to Eight Forums. :)

I'm glad it was able to help.

Was it the same tool in the second link in the red warning box at the top of the tutorial? This way I can add it if not to help others.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    64-bit Windows 10
    Name
    Shawn Brink
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    Custom self built
    CPU
    Intel i7-8700K OC'd to 5 GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Maximus XI Formula Z390
    Memory
    16 GB (8GBx2) G.SKILL TridentZ DDR4 3200 MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    ASUS ROG-STRIX-GTX1080TI-O11G-GAMING
    Sound Card
    Integrated Digital Audio (S/PDIF)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    3 x 27" Asus VE278Q
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    1TB Samsung 970 EVO Plus M.2,
    250GB Samsung 960 EVO M.2,
    6TB WD Black WD6001FZWX
    8TB WD MyCloudEX2Ultra NAS
    PSU
    OCZ Series Gold OCZZ1000M 1000W
    Case
    Thermaltake Core P3
    Cooling
    Corsair Hydro H115i
    Keyboard
    Logitech wireless K800
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master
    Internet Speed
    1 Gb/s Download and 35 Mb/s Upload
    Browser
    Internet Explorer 11
    Antivirus
    Malwarebyte Anti-Malware Premium
    Other Info
    Logitech Z625 speaker system,
    Logitech BRIO 4K Pro webcam,
    HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdn,
    Linksys EA9500 router,
    Arris SB8200 cable modem,
    APC SMART-UPS RT 1000 XL - SURT1000XLI,
    Lumia 1520 phone
    State/Region Flag
    us oklahoma

Cora

New Member
Hey I can not turn on my windows defender. I have followed the instructions. I had Mcafee on my computer and I took it off because I think it's cause a lot of problems for my computer, but now it will not let me turn on my windows defense. What should I do now? Thanks in advance.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8

Brink

Administrator
Administrator
mvp

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    64-bit Windows 10
    Name
    Shawn Brink
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    Custom self built
    CPU
    Intel i7-8700K OC'd to 5 GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Maximus XI Formula Z390
    Memory
    16 GB (8GBx2) G.SKILL TridentZ DDR4 3200 MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    ASUS ROG-STRIX-GTX1080TI-O11G-GAMING
    Sound Card
    Integrated Digital Audio (S/PDIF)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    3 x 27" Asus VE278Q
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    1TB Samsung 970 EVO Plus M.2,
    250GB Samsung 960 EVO M.2,
    6TB WD Black WD6001FZWX
    8TB WD MyCloudEX2Ultra NAS
    PSU
    OCZ Series Gold OCZZ1000M 1000W
    Case
    Thermaltake Core P3
    Cooling
    Corsair Hydro H115i
    Keyboard
    Logitech wireless K800
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master
    Internet Speed
    1 Gb/s Download and 35 Mb/s Upload
    Browser
    Internet Explorer 11
    Antivirus
    Malwarebyte Anti-Malware Premium
    Other Info
    Logitech Z625 speaker system,
    Logitech BRIO 4K Pro webcam,
    HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdn,
    Linksys EA9500 router,
    Arris SB8200 cable modem,
    APC SMART-UPS RT 1000 XL - SURT1000XLI,
    Lumia 1520 phone
    State/Region Flag
    us oklahoma

Cora

New Member
I have done this already...When I go to my control panel there is a window defender folder but when I click on it. It said nothing there.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8

Brink

Administrator
Administrator
mvp

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    64-bit Windows 10
    Name
    Shawn Brink
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    Custom self built
    CPU
    Intel i7-8700K OC'd to 5 GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Maximus XI Formula Z390
    Memory
    16 GB (8GBx2) G.SKILL TridentZ DDR4 3200 MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    ASUS ROG-STRIX-GTX1080TI-O11G-GAMING
    Sound Card
    Integrated Digital Audio (S/PDIF)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    3 x 27" Asus VE278Q
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    1TB Samsung 970 EVO Plus M.2,
    250GB Samsung 960 EVO M.2,
    6TB WD Black WD6001FZWX
    8TB WD MyCloudEX2Ultra NAS
    PSU
    OCZ Series Gold OCZZ1000M 1000W
    Case
    Thermaltake Core P3
    Cooling
    Corsair Hydro H115i
    Keyboard
    Logitech wireless K800
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master
    Internet Speed
    1 Gb/s Download and 35 Mb/s Upload
    Browser
    Internet Explorer 11
    Antivirus
    Malwarebyte Anti-Malware Premium
    Other Info
    Logitech Z625 speaker system,
    Logitech BRIO 4K Pro webcam,
    HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdn,
    Linksys EA9500 router,
    Arris SB8200 cable modem,
    APC SMART-UPS RT 1000 XL - SURT1000XLI,
    Lumia 1520 phone
    State/Region Flag
    us oklahoma

avada

Member
Member
I just re-installed windows 8.1 after a terrible experience with 10.
Disabled defender (by disabling it's service), action center and such annoying things.

But after restarting because of windows updates the defender service is set to autostart and running again. And I can't disable it anymore, because the options are dimmed. :eek: That's really weird/troubling.

I disabled real-time protection as showed in this guide, but I want it totally disabled to don't waste any resources (also who knows when it enables itself). The warning icon also annoys me...

What do I need to do?

I tried it from command line to (sc config WinDefend start=disabled)
But I got access denied.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    CPU
    Ryzen 5 1600
    Motherboard
    Asus Prime B350-PLUS
    Memory
    G.SKILL Trident Z 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4 3000MHz F4-3000C15D-16GTZB
    Graphics Card(s)
    nVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 (Asus ENGTS450)
    PSU
    500w FSP

Brink

Administrator
Administrator
mvp

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    64-bit Windows 10
    Name
    Shawn Brink
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    Custom self built
    CPU
    Intel i7-8700K OC'd to 5 GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Maximus XI Formula Z390
    Memory
    16 GB (8GBx2) G.SKILL TridentZ DDR4 3200 MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    ASUS ROG-STRIX-GTX1080TI-O11G-GAMING
    Sound Card
    Integrated Digital Audio (S/PDIF)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    3 x 27" Asus VE278Q
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    1TB Samsung 970 EVO Plus M.2,
    250GB Samsung 960 EVO M.2,
    6TB WD Black WD6001FZWX
    8TB WD MyCloudEX2Ultra NAS
    PSU
    OCZ Series Gold OCZZ1000M 1000W
    Case
    Thermaltake Core P3
    Cooling
    Corsair Hydro H115i
    Keyboard
    Logitech wireless K800
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master
    Internet Speed
    1 Gb/s Download and 35 Mb/s Upload
    Browser
    Internet Explorer 11
    Antivirus
    Malwarebyte Anti-Malware Premium
    Other Info
    Logitech Z625 speaker system,
    Logitech BRIO 4K Pro webcam,
    HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdn,
    Linksys EA9500 router,
    Arris SB8200 cable modem,
    APC SMART-UPS RT 1000 XL - SURT1000XLI,
    Lumia 1520 phone
    State/Region Flag
    us oklahoma

avada

Member
Member
Last edited by a moderator:

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    CPU
    Ryzen 5 1600
    Motherboard
    Asus Prime B350-PLUS
    Memory
    G.SKILL Trident Z 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4 3000MHz F4-3000C15D-16GTZB
    Graphics Card(s)
    nVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 (Asus ENGTS450)
    PSU
    500w FSP

avada

Member
Member
Hi Shawn,

At the last version of Defender on Windows 8.1 Settings/Administrators tab was removed by Microsoft. Can you update tutorial?
For what it's worth this worked for me: ** REMOVED **
 
Last edited by a moderator:

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    CPU
    Ryzen 5 1600
    Motherboard
    Asus Prime B350-PLUS
    Memory
    G.SKILL Trident Z 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4 3000MHz F4-3000C15D-16GTZB
    Graphics Card(s)
    nVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 (Asus ENGTS450)
    PSU
    500w FSP

avada

Member
Member
Thank you Avada but I know how to do it. This setting a part of gpedit. I posted just give a information to Brink

I didn't meant it for you specifically. It's just that nothing in this guide works anymore. (Or even worked two years ago)

And the removing the defender folder thing I did before is unreliable. Windows ignores whatever right set to it, and Widnows Update reinstalls it anyway, no matter what you do.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    CPU
    Ryzen 5 1600
    Motherboard
    Asus Prime B350-PLUS
    Memory
    G.SKILL Trident Z 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4 3000MHz F4-3000C15D-16GTZB
    Graphics Card(s)
    nVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 (Asus ENGTS450)
    PSU
    500w FSP

nonpasaran

Member
Member
Thank you Avada but I know how to do it. This setting a part of gpedit. I posted just give a information to Brink

I didn't meant it for you specifically. It's just that nothing in this guide works anymore. (Or even worked two years ago)

And the removing the defender folder thing I did before is unreliable. Windows ignores whatever right set to it, and Widnows Update reinstalls it anyway, no matter what you do.
OK :)
This situation is new. Microsoft delete Administrator tab with Windows Defender build 4.10.209.0.
İf you have not Group Policy because of Windows edition you can use regedit files which I gave download link 3 posts before or you can wait Brink's update.
 

My Computer

avada

Member
Member
OK :)
This situation is new. Microsoft delete Administrator tab with Windows Defender build 4.10.209.0.
İf you have not Group Policy because of Windows edition you can use regedit files which I gave download link 3 posts before or you can wait Brink's update.

Not that it matters now but, actually the defender config didn't work for me before, years ago. (I forgot why.)
Now the defender config just fails to start.
Similar error message to this, but with a mention of sxtrace.exe at the end:
Az_alkalmazást_nem_sikerült_elindítani,_mert_párhuzamos_konfigurációja_helytelen._A_problémáról_.png
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    CPU
    Ryzen 5 1600
    Motherboard
    Asus Prime B350-PLUS
    Memory
    G.SKILL Trident Z 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4 3000MHz F4-3000C15D-16GTZB
    Graphics Card(s)
    nVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 (Asus ENGTS450)
    PSU
    500w FSP

Brink

Administrator
Administrator
mvp
The tutorial has now been updated. Thank you for letting me know. :)
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    64-bit Windows 10
    Name
    Shawn Brink
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    Custom self built
    CPU
    Intel i7-8700K OC'd to 5 GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Maximus XI Formula Z390
    Memory
    16 GB (8GBx2) G.SKILL TridentZ DDR4 3200 MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    ASUS ROG-STRIX-GTX1080TI-O11G-GAMING
    Sound Card
    Integrated Digital Audio (S/PDIF)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    3 x 27" Asus VE278Q
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    1TB Samsung 970 EVO Plus M.2,
    250GB Samsung 960 EVO M.2,
    6TB WD Black WD6001FZWX
    8TB WD MyCloudEX2Ultra NAS
    PSU
    OCZ Series Gold OCZZ1000M 1000W
    Case
    Thermaltake Core P3
    Cooling
    Corsair Hydro H115i
    Keyboard
    Logitech wireless K800
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master
    Internet Speed
    1 Gb/s Download and 35 Mb/s Upload
    Browser
    Internet Explorer 11
    Antivirus
    Malwarebyte Anti-Malware Premium
    Other Info
    Logitech Z625 speaker system,
    Logitech BRIO 4K Pro webcam,
    HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdn,
    Linksys EA9500 router,
    Arris SB8200 cable modem,
    APC SMART-UPS RT 1000 XL - SURT1000XLI,
    Lumia 1520 phone
    State/Region Flag
    us oklahoma

looked

New Member
The tutorial has now been updated. Thank you for letting me know. :)
Thanks very much for keeping the thread up to date.
For people struggling with automatic updates and installing an alternative antivirus like Kaspersky, here is the virus definitions download tool so in this case you can keep an eye blocking Windows' auto updates and update Kaspersky: Kaspersky Update Utility 3.0
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 7, 8.1 and 10
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    self built

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