Microsoft makes it harder to disable Windows 10 antivirus software

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Update: While Microsoft has made it more difficult to manually disable Microsoft Defender in Windows 10, the app should automatically turn itself off if it detects you're running another antivirus program.

Microsoft Defender (which used to be known as Windows Defender), is the built-in antivirus tool in Windows 10, and Microsoft has just made it more difficult to disable.

While the current version of Microsoft Defender does a good job of protecting PCs against viruses, malware and other internet threats, there are plenty of reasons why you’d want to disable it.

It’s always been a bit tricky to turn off Microsoft Defender in Windows 10, and while you could pause its real-time protection, it would automatically turn itself back on later.

There was a way to disable it via the registry, but with the Windows 10 August 2020 update (version 4.18.2007.8), which has just been released, the setting you were able to change has been “discontinued and will be ignored on client devices,” according to Microsoft.


While Microsoft has done a good job of making its Defender antivirus software a tool you’d actually want to use, and we can understand the desire to make it difficult to run Windows 10 with no antivirus protection, Microsoft’s forcing of Defender on Windows 10 users is typically heavy-handed.

We’d much rather see Microsoft encourage people to stick with its antivirus software because of its merits, while still offering the ability to switch to a different antivirus app.

Instead, Microsoft continues to force its services on Windows 10 users, and that can be annoying for anyone who wants complete control over their PC.

However, Microsoft states that "Microsoft Defender antivirus automatically turns itself off when it detects another antivirus program." As long as that setting works as intended, it means you should be able to run another antivirus program of your choice, and it won't conflict with Microsoft Defender.

Via Windows Latest

Matt Hanson
Managing Editor, Core Tech

Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Core Tech, looking after computing and mobile technology. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. Ever since he got an Amiga A500+ for Christmas in 1991, he's loved using (and playing on) computers, and will talk endlessly about how The Secret of Monkey Island is the best game ever made.