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How to Turn Off Microsoft Defender in Windows 7, Vista, and XP

written by: KateG•edited by: John Garger•updated: 8/25/2010

Not everyone wants to have Windows virus protection running all the time. If you want to disable your native Windows virus protection, this article shows you how to turn off Windows Defender for XP, Vista and 7.

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    There is no denying that Microsoft-based PC’s get a lot of viruses. That is, no doubt, why Microsoft has seen fit to offer its users some built-in protection. Does that guarantee that it is the best protection that you can possibly have? The odds are that it is not. Sure, they designed the operating system but that does not make them security specialists, it makes them operating system specialists. You may do better with a company that devotes its entire resources to keeping your system safe. Sure, it may cost a bit extra, but you are protecting an investment.

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    Why Would I Need to Turn off the Microsoft Virus Protection?

    You would want to turn off the Microsoft protection when you are installing another product that can do the same job. If you leave both on, they will compete for system resources. This can both slow down your computer and make it harder for either program to do its job effectively. This really is a situation where you have to choose one virus-protection solution and stick with it.

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    How to Turn the Protection Off

    Windows Xp

    1. Click on the start menu.
    2. Click on "Control Panel" and then on "Windows Defender" icon.
    3. Click on "Tools".
    4. Click on "Options".
    5. Uncheck the box next to "Use Windows Defender".
    6. Click "Save".
    7. Click "Yes".

    Windows Vista

    1. Open Windows Defender.
    2. Click on "Tools".
    3. Click on "Options"
    4. Look for the section labeled "Administrator Options".
    5. Uncheck the box next to "Use Windows Defender".
    6. UAC will ask you to confirm that you want to turn it off. Go ahead and confirm.
    7. Click on "Close"

    Windows 7

    1. Click on the Windows Icon on the start menu.
    2. Type "Defender" into the search box.
    3. Choose "Windows Defender" from the list.
    4. Click on "Tools".
    5. Under "Tools and Settings" click on "Options".
    6. Click on "Administrator".
    7. Uncheck the box next to "Use This Program".
    8. Click "Save".
    9. Click "Yes".
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    Now Restart Your Computer

    For any version you need to restart the system before the changes will take effect. Go ahead and do that now.

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    I Want To Turn Off Windows Security Center or Windows UAC

    If you want to disable all security, not just virus protection this is how:

    Windows XP

    1. Click on the Start button, then on the Control Panel.
    2. Click on “Administrator Tools".
    3. Click on “Services".
    4. Click on “Security Center".
    5. Click the “General" tab, and change the setting from Automatic to “Disabled".
    6. Then click on “Stop" button.

    Windows Vista

    1. Right-click on the Window Security Alert icon (the red shield).
    2. Click on “Open Security Center."
    3. Click on “Change the way Security Center alerts me". You will find this in the left column.
    4. When a new window appears choose “Don’t notify me and don’t display the icon (not recommended)."
    5. Accept the changes with "OK" .

    Windows 7

    1. Open the Control Panel.
    2. Type in “UAC" into the search box.
    3. Click on the words “Turn User Account Control (UAC) on or off".
    4. Uncheck the box next to “Use User Account Control (UAC)".
    5. Click on "OK".
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    Now that you now know to turn off the Microsoft virus protection, do so wisely. Don’t just go turning it off mad cap. Always have alternative virus protection ready to install once you turn off the built-in protection.