How to: Uninstall Windows Defender

How to: Uninstall Windows Defender

Spyware, adware, malware are three very familiar terms to any novice or intermediate internet surfer. These programs aid in disabling computers and some of its functions, preventing it from working smoothly or at all.

One way to remove such programs is through the use of an anti-spyware program such as Microsoft Windows Defender. Microsoft Windows Defender is a tool provided by Microsoft to comprehensively scan, identify, clean, or remove any data or programs which are a threat to the computer. Low-level viruses can also be detected through Windows Defender.

For some persons, however, Windows Defender is not necessary for the total protection of their computer and data. The procedure of how to uninstall Windows Defender is not as straightforward as the un-installation of other programs.

With recent Microsoft Windows updates including Windows Defender, the program does not come with an uninstall option. Windows Defender must be fully disabled instead.

Materials Required:

  • Microsoft Windows 2000 or newer
  • Microsoft Windows Defender


  1. Click the “Start” button in the lower right-hand corner of the screen, on the taskbar.
  2. Once in the Start Menu, using Microsoft Windows 2000 or XP, click on "All Programs", or "Programs" if using Windows Vista or Windows 7.
  3. Navigate through the list of programs in the menu and click "Windows Defender".
  4. With the main window for Windows Defender being displayed, click on the "Tools" menu from the program's menu bar.
  5. From the "Tools" menu, click "Options", just below the "Tools and Settings" heading.
  6. Navigate through the menu and uncheck the option labeled "Use real-time protection (recommended)" as well as the option labeled "Use Windows Defender", found under the "Administrator Options" section.
  7. Click on the "Save" button to save the newly modified settings.
  8. A dialog box should now be displayed, titled "Windows Defender is turned off". This dialog message should appear since both options for its function have been disabled. A message stating that the uninstall process has been complete should now be displayed. Click on the "Close" button and restart the computer.
  9. Microsoft's Windows Defender should now be totally disabled from operation and function.

Tips, Recommendations, and Warnings

  • Use a popular search engine to find alternative, higher recommended anti-spyware and anti-malware programs to replace Microsoft Windows Defender.
  • If you are using an older version of Windows Defender, check the "Add or Remove Programs" option in the Control Panel to uninstall Windows Defender.
  • There are several free programs that can function in the same way as Microsoft Windows Defender. One such program is Lavasoft Ad-aware.
  • Microsoft Windows will always show a warning message in the lower right section of the screen, along the system bar, stating that the computer is not being completely protected. Installation of an anti-spyware program will prevent the message from reappearing.
  • Microsoft Windows Defender cannot be totally uninstalled as it is packaged into the Microsoft Windows operating system, therefore, ensure the program is disabled before installing another anti-spyware program.