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Follow these steps to temporarily turn off real-time Microsoft Defender antivirus protection in Windows Security. However, keep in mind that if you do, your device may be vulnerable to threats.

  1. Select Start  and type "Windows Security" to search for that app.

  2. Select the Windows Security app from the search results, go to Virus & threat protection, and under Virus & threat protection settings select Manage settings.

  3. Switch Real-time protection to Off. Note that scheduled scans will continue to run. However, files that are downloaded or installed will not be scanned until the next scheduled scan.


  • If you just want to exclude a single file or folder from antivirus scanning you can do that by adding an exclusion. This is safer than turning the entire antivirus protection off. See Add an exclusion to Windows Security.

  • If you install a compatible non-Microsoft antivirus program Microsoft Defender antivirus will automatically turn itself off.

  • If Tamper Protection is turned on, you'll need to turn Tamper Protection off before you'll be able to turn Real-time protection off.

How malware can infect your PC 

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