How to Enable Windows Defender if Turned Off after 1803 Update?


With the Fall Creators update there are certain new changes. Windows Defender may be turned off by the group policy editor settings. Though it may not occur to everybody, but if you have another antivirus, this can happen. Anyhow having two security mechanisms on the same machine is not a good choice. It can slow down your system.

Windows Defender Security Center is your first-line of defense against any kind of attack to your Windows 10 PC. This includes ransomware attack or any kind of pop-up ad nuisance. It is far more sophisticated than the Windows Security Essentials of Windows 7 and Vista. It has several layers of defense in the form of Firewall and Network protection. One of the prominent features are like device security and family options. It also has a cloud based protection to save your from the danger of new viruses.

So if you want to disable the third-party antivirus and go for Windows Defender, here are the steps.

1. Open the Settings app by pressing Win + I .
2. Navigate to Update & Security and click on it.


3. On the left hand side, select Windows Security.


4. Then on the right side, click Open Windows Defender Security Center.
5. Click on Virus & threat protection.


6. In the next windows, click on Virus & threat protection settings.


7. Next window, check Real-time protection.


8. If it is on, with blue color, then your Windows 10 is protected.
9. Otherwise, if it is switched off somehow, toggle to make it on.

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Sometimes that above steps can be simple enough. But if there is some virus, you need to do more than that. To enable Windows Defender again, under worst conditions, you need to make changes to the group policy settings or the registry editor.

How to Enable Windows Defender in 10 using Group Policy Editor?

To make sure that Windows Security Centre is working definitely, you can make use of the Group Policy Editor. Press Win + R and type gpedit.msc. This will open up the group policy editor. Then navigate to the following path.

Local Computer Policy > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Defender Antivirus.

On the right hand side, there is an option called Turn Off Windows Defender
Antivirus. Now double-click it and select the option that says “Not Configured
and press OK. This is set it to “Enabled” if some setting has been changed
by another software.

Note: This group policty setting by default is turned off. It means Windows Defender
is allowed to scan your computer and protect it from virus vulnerabilities. But somehow if its
enabled, that means Windows Defender is turned off. You will not be protected
from threats and cloud protection.

There is another group policy setting under the same navigation path.

Local Computer Policy > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Defender Antivirus > Real-time Protection.

On the right hand side you have a setting called “Turn off real-time protection“.
Make sure that the setting is set to “Not Configured” or “Disabled“. This will make sure that your pc is protected from latest and live threats. As soon as any virus is detected, the Windows Defender Security Center will take appropriate action.

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Otherwise, your computer may get damaged, before, any new virus attack is detected and  has only half-protection. The real-time protection makes sure that the danger is handled instantenously and will reduce or quarantine the harm at the same time.

Restart the computer if everything is working perfectly or not.

How to Edit the Registry to Enable Windows Defender?

The last approach if the above tweak does not work, is to edit the registry.
Press Win + R and in the dialog box type “regedit”. This will open the regsitry editor.
Navigate through the following path.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender

On the right hand side, if you see the key mentioned, DisableAntiSpyware, then just delete it.
It will enable Windows Defender Security Centre again.

How to Enable Windows Defender if Turned Off after 1803 Update?
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Meet the Author

Palla Sridhar

I love being a Microsoft enthusiast and Tech lover. I Completed my M.Tech in Civil Engineering from IIT Kanpur, INDIA. My interests include Blogging, Surfing, Cricket, Books and Social Networking. I find solutions to problems on Windows, Outlook and Office.

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