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How to Disable Windows Security Center

written by: jeff•edited by: Tricia Goss•updated: 12/10/2009

Windows Security Center is Microsoft's forced offering of protection. Why is it so complex to disable? Shouldn't we, the users, be able to choose whether or not to use Microsoft's Security offerings? Here we look at how to disable Windows Security Center the easy way.

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    Windows Security Center

    Overview

    Windows Security Center is Microsoft's comprehensive offering of protection regarding major aspects of computer and network security. Windows Security Center includes the following four major categories of protection:

    • Windows Update (often called "Automatic Updates") - Microsoft strongly recommends this feature be left running and set to automatic. However, for many purposes, the user needs to manually apply patches in an orderly, scheduled manner; therefore, automatic updating is not always practical.
    • Windows Firewall - Microsoft also strongly recommends that you use “Microsoft's" firewall, yet if you have a robust third-party firewall, you might wish to disable the Windows firewall and, instead utilize a third-party firewall product.
    • Windows Defender (Malware protection) - This product scans for, and prevents, various forms of malware from causing harm to your computer; typically at the Web browser level. Again, if you have third-party products which you prefer, then you may wish to disable Windows Defender.
    • Other Security / Internet + UAC Options - User Access Control requests your permission before running a privileged command. This feature often becomes a productivity hindrance, and it too, may be disabled.

    In order to disable Windows Security Center, choose each of the four items within Security Center and disable them following these instructions.

    Disable Windows Firewall

    • Click "Start," then "Run," then type "Services.msc" and press Enter.
    • Within the Services User Interface (UI), scroll to the Windows Firewall service. Right-click the Windows Firewall service, then select "Properties."
    • Within the Windows Firewall Properties panel, choose the drop-down arrow in the "Startup Type" section and, within that drop-down, select "Disabled."
    • Click the "Stop" button and then click "OK."

    Disable Windows Firewall 

    Disable Windows Defender

    • From within the Services UI, scroll to the "Windows Defender" service.
    • Right-click the "Windows Defender" service, then select "Properties."
    • Within the Windows Defender Properties panel, choose the drop-down arrow in the "Startup Type" section and, within that drop-down, select "Disabled."
    • Click the "Stop" button and then click "OK."

    Disable Windows Defender 

    Disable Automatic Updates

    • From within the Services UI, scroll to the "Windows Update" service.
    • Right-click the "Windows Update" service, then select "Properties."
    • Within the Windows Update Properties panel, choose the drop-down arrow in the "Startup Type" section and, within that drop-down, select "Disabled."
    • Click the "Stop" button and then click "OK."

    Disable Windows Update 

    Disable UAC

    • Click "Start," and "Control Panel," then "User Accounts and Family Safety"
    • Choose "User Accounts." Then click "Turn User Account Control on or off."
    • Uncheck the checkbox for "Use User Account Control" and click OK.
    • Restart if requested to do so. Optionally, if you wish, you also may go into Internet Explorer, to Tools, Internet Options, Security and disable IE "Protected Mode" for "Internet" and "Local Intranet" zones.
    Disable UAC 

    The above steps effectively disable Windows Security Center. Note that merely stopping the “Security Center" service in the services UI is not sufficient; the “Security Center" service is simply the security center “monitoring" feature.

    Conclusions

    This article details the steps that effectively disable the Windows Security Center. The caveat is that once disabled, if no other security suite is in place, then your system is now highly vulnerable to spyware, viruses, network attacks and other malicious activities.

    References

    http://www.microsoft.com/security/default.mspx - Microsoft's Security Home Page