How To Uninstall, Remove, Or Disable Windows Defender In Windows 7

Users who are running Windows 7 for quite a while know the importance of keeping Windows Defender turned on. That said, there might be times when you want to completely turn off Windows Defender feature.


Windows Defender is an antispyware software included with Windows operating system and runs automatically when it’s turned on. Windows Defender uses definitions to alert you to potential risks if it determines that software detected is spyware or other potentially unwanted software.

Generally speaking, we don’t recommend uninstalling or disabling Windows Defender, especially if your system is connected to the Internet. Still, if you wish to disable or uninstall Windows Defender from Windows Vista or Windows 7, you can follow the procedure below.

Turn off Windows Defender in Windows 10

The best and the easiest way to disable Windows Defender is  turning off its service in Windows Services list. To do this:

Method 1 of 2

Step 1: Type in services.msc in Start menu search box and hit enter. Click continue button if you are prompted with a UAC message.

Step 2: Scroll down the services list to you see Windows Defender name. Right-click on the Windows Defender name and select Properties.

Windows Services

Step 3: Under General tab, set the start up type to “Disabled” and click the Apply button to save the changes.

Disable Windows Defender

Method 2 of 2

Alternatively, you can also turnoff Windows Defender from right within the program itself. This way is also very easy, but the first one is extremely easy!

Step 1: Open Windows Defender program by typing Windows Defender in Start menu search field.

Turn off Windows Defender

Step 2: Once the program opens, go to Tools > Administrator. Deselect the option named “Use this program” and click Apply.



  1. tobias says

    How can I delate a single Definition / Signature of Windows Defender?

    Unfortunately I downloaded one of them – although I use Avast instead of Windows Defender.

    Or does uninstalling Windows Defender results in a deleted Definitions too?

    Thanks in advance!

  2. Werner Moecke says

    NITRAM has got it! I’ve summarized the complete (and functional) version of the steps to COMPLETELY WIPE OUT Windows Defender – here it is:

    After following the procedure described in this article, you can optionally do the following in order to COMPLETELY REMOVE Windows Defender from your Windows OS installation:

    1) Make sure all boxes in the “tools” option for Windows Defender are unchecked. Open Control Panel -> Windows Defender. Click Tools, uncheck everything.

    2) Switch services to disabled for Defender. Open ‘services.msc’, scroll down to ‘Windows Defender’ (WinDefend). Right-click and select Properties. Set startup type to ‘Disabled’.

    ** If you no longer can click on Tools and there is a message on Windows Defender about the service being stopped, then you may skip steps 1 & 2, as you may have done it already).

    3) Delete the ‘C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows Defender’ folder. This should be easy, if you have successfully disabled Windows Defender services as described in steps 1 & 2.

    4) FINAL STEP: to completely remove any traces of Windows Defender from your system, remove the Windows Defender (WinDefend) service. To do this, open a command prompt as Administrator, then type: ‘sc delete “WinDefend”‘ (without the single quotes) – Again, this should be trouble-free if all of the above steps were completed successfully.

    Congratulations, you’ve beaten Microsoft again. It’s YOUR system, YOU should be the judge of what’s running in it. No more nagging “Windows Defender Definition Updates”.

  3. Russell E says

    @ NITRAM

    Got all excited hoping to kill off the Windows Defender nag.
    But alas Win7 32bit Home Premium auto replaces the “Windows Defender” folder.

    I want a divorce! All this nagging

  4. NITRAM says

    Here is how my company and I delete the Windows Defender to prevent our network vulnerability scanner from picking it up.

    1) Uncheck all boxes in the “tools” option for defender. Open control panel and open defender. Click tools, uncheck everything.

    2) Switch services to manual for Defender. Open serveries.msc, scroll down to windows defender right click and select properties. Set startup type to manual.

    3) Delete defender folder. Open C: drive, double click program data (if folder is not there click organize drop down icon on the upper left corner of window. When pop up window opens select view tab, and select show hidden files, folders, and drives. Apply and ok to exit window.) Double click Microsoft folder and delete defender folder.

    Now you will not be able to open windows defender nor will it ever bother you again. Hope this helps. I know its long process but it works for us.

  5. tim says

    seems like windows has placed an irretreiveable snag in the works! Id anyone figures out how to completely uninstall it kudos to them!! My guess it would be only fair to receive functions from MSN that could be uninstalled and then re installed again?

  6. Charles says

    Is there NO SIMPLE way to remove ” Windows Defender” or is it just impossible to remove? I found you can only disable it.

  7. biill thorton says

    As an aside when I downloaded and installed Essentials it automatically turned off Defender and I have not had any issues, no messages or conflicts. just noting. I am running windows 7

  8. biill thorton says

    Do a restore to a previous date before your problem started to get rid of the adware/malware then go to microsoft and install Microsoft ESSENTIAlSt’s free and it has worked well for me.

  9. RegLinUsr says


    It would seem that your system has been compromised and hijacked by a virus, worm and/or trojan. Windows Defender is part of the current Windows operating system and does not cost anything. Recommendation… complete reinstall of Windows. Do not try to “clean” your system as this is something that is quite the difficult task even from a professional point-of-view and not recommended. I personally recommend using a quality antivirus/antimalware program; such as, ESET’s NOD32 but if you can’t afford that then at least install Microsoft’s Security Essentials after the clean reinstall. Its not the greatest but its better than running your system without anything protecting it.

  10. Shreya says

    I have been using Windows 7 for a long time, and I had no idea that it had ‘Windows Defender’ running. Today, it suddenly came up with it, saying that there is dangerous software on my computer. When I say remove, it asks me to pay $79.99.

    Do I have to pay this, or can I just ignore the threats? Is there anything else I can do? Someone, pleeeese help? I’m going mad!!!

  11. Shreya says

    I have been using Windows 7 for a long time, and I had no idea that it had ‘Windows Defender’ running. Today, it suddenly came up with it, saying that there is dangerous software on my computer. When I say remove, it asks me to pay $79.99.

  12. Tony says

    Thanks Jeremy. Thanks to your post, here is what I did:

    Start –> Run –> regedit

    Search for “MSASCui.exe – hide”

    Delete the registry entry found.

    Reboot to test!

  13. Dave Shears says

    BTW, as a further bit of useful info to this thread, the Registry key to look for in order to permanently remove Microsoft’s annoying Windows Defender Nag screen at startup is:


    and the value you are looking for is:

    “%ProgramFiles%\Windows Defender\MSASCui.exe – hide”.

  14. Sierra says

    Jeremy, thanks so much for the tip. It definitely solved my problem of various programs giving me annoying messages on start-up.

  15. Jeremy says

    Guys, forget this article. All you wanna do is get rid of those darn nag screens on startup, right?

    Here’s what you really gotta do:

    1.Go to Start,type ‘msconfig’ without the quotes.

    2.When msconfig comes up, click the startup tab.

    3.Find ‘Microsoft Windows Operating System’ and look across for the Command section. Mouse over ‘Microsoft Windows OS’s command, and if it says something about defender, uncheck it and hit OK.

    Restart your computer, and you won’t see any nag screens anymore.

  16. fredbisard says

    don’t know what everyone’s problem with defender is here. must be total noobs, or something.

    disabling defender does EXACTLY that and DOES NOT update itself afterward!

    you can’t remove it either, at least not safely.

  17. BB says

    It’s true, Defender has been crashing my computer. Is there a REAL way to uninstall it, as well as avoid the updates?

  18. LA Plastic says

    Article title: “How To Uninstall, Remove, Or Disable Windows Defender In Windows 7”

    I’m sorry, but where is the Uninstall and Removal steps in this article? Learn to write.

  19. Charles says

    This article is very incomplete and does not give “uninstall” directions which is what we all want. I don’t like windows defender. It has given me countless problems and the main reason is the constant definition updates. Nearly every time I download a definition update something stops working. I have 3 machines running windows 7 and it almost never fails that one of them crashes when the updates come out. I’m sick of repairing the damage – I want it gone.

    VERY IMPORTANT FACT: Disabling windows defender (as described in this article) does NOT stop windows update from downloading and installing definition updates. Windows update sees the program is installed and performs the update.

  20. ichabod mudd says

    bad examples.
    win7 shows nag screens forever with defender killed.
    i run A+ aftermarket software for spyware.
    and do no want defender.
    your article is incomplete.
    how to kill the nag, at boot. (both ways above fail)

    win7 rtm

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