How to Disable Windows 8 Defender Before Installing a Different Antivirus Software

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Windows 8 comes with an built-in antivirus called the Windows Defender. Windows Defender is nothing but the free antivirus of Microsoft called the Microsoft Security Essentials clubbed with the Defender of Windows 7.

Microsoft claims that Windows defender is sufficient for a home computer where mere basic protection is required, but I personally don’t like it. Though the detection rate of the product is quite good, the removal rate is pathetic (yes, there I said it!). It took the tool precisely 2 mins and 33 seconds to clean an EICAR test virus file and the amount of resources it required to do that was too much.

windows defender

Note: I am in no way encouraging you to stop using Windows Defender. It is totally your call.

Now the thing is that you cannot install two antivirus software on a computer as they never work together (almost all of them conflict with each other) and thus if you are planning to install a 3rd party security solution on your Windows 8 system, you will need to first uninstall/disable the Windows Defender that’s natively present on the OS.

Uninstalling defender is very tough as it’s coded to the core but we can disable it to keep the things rolling.

Disabling Windows 8 Defender Using Services

Disabling the Defender using Windows Services is pretty simple.

Step 1: Launch the Start Menu and search for Services under the Settings tab and click on View local services to launch Windows Services.

local service

Step 2: Look for the service name Windows Defender Service and stop it by right-clicking it.


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Step 3: Now double-click on the same service to open the Property window and select disable in the Startup Type dropdown list and save the settings.

services disabled

Your Windows 8 defender will now be disabled permanently, and you can go ahead and install a different antivirus now.

disabled defender

Disabling Using Windows Defender

For those of you who love to keep things simple, you can disable Windows Defender from its inbuilt settings.

Step 1: Launch Windows Defender. The best way is to launch Start Menu and search for Defender.

turn off

Step 2: Navigate to Settings tab in the Defender and click on the Administrator section. Here uncheck the option Turn on Windows Defender and save the settings.

turned off

Your Defender will be disabled instantly. If you want to enable Windows Defender protection in the future you can do that from the Windows Action Center.

If you are looking for an antivirus that will work great on your Windows 8 computer, I have a nice suggestion. Kaspersky, a leading antivirus solution provider, has already launched their consumer preview of Kaspersky Antivirus 2013 compatible with Windows 8. You may install and try it for free.

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  • Isarkar39

    thanks friend i like to install quick heal ..

  • Parth Kataria

    good tutorial but i have full faith in microsoft. if it takes 2 and a half minutes to remove a virus then so be it, i trust they will fix that in upcoming updates

  • janardhan Vn

    though i changed above setting…i cant installed other anti-virus

    • Jeevan Gudla

      Yah..! it is one of Microsoft’s cunning settings. First install avast and disable ‘defender’ later.

  • Mailstovnj

    though i changed above setting…i cant installed other anti-virus

    • Jeevan Gudla

      re-install defender and install other antivirus. now disable defender immediately.

  • Brown

    I am using windows 8 release preview and my windows defender is not running and cannot be activated by and of the above procedures

  • Palla Ramarao

    We shouldn’t condemn Microsoft essentials just because it can’t remove virus. One thing to remember is its free. So if you want a more better antivirus for Windows 8 you have to shed out some money.

  • Paradise

    Windows 8 will activate Windows Defender automatically only if there is no other antivirus software on the computer,

  • vicky

    thaxs bro i really wanted to know ,,,,how to install other antivirus on my pc with win8 released preview………………..

  • eddie

    I would not disable defender. Techs at my work have been trying to infect windows 8 with no success. It stops zaccess and other infections in its tracks. I’m sure in time people will find a way. But for right now it is way ahead of the rest. I was surprised to hear it. But I do trust the security specialists that I know have a lot of experience reverse engineering threats

  • Michael

    Someone on a danish forum have told me that defender is not protecting us if we are using programs like chrome or firefox…. that sounds very strange to me, now i am using avast.. that is an av i think is better then the standard one in windows 8

    • Adam Baldwin

      Avast is a piece of crap, much like most other antiviruses. I’ve seen Avast issues cause connectivity problems, much like Norton and AVG, and like AVG, Avast can be damn near possible to remove completely without the removal tool. Junkware in my opinion, especially since it basically does nothing to prevent viruses from getting on the computer.

  • David Mahmoudi

    but when install avira internet security warning to me “you shuld unistall defender and try again” plz Help me !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Ashish Mundhra

      Which of the above two methods did you use?

  • Jeevan Gudla

    windows defender is not pathetic..! It is deplorable..! I don’t know how labs rate it, but it is dangerous tool in my system which destroying all my files. windows defender deleting an entire folder just for the reason that it contained a single virus..! Lame defender can not delete the virus but it deleting the entire folder along with all files it contained. Defender is defending itself but not my work! this is good tutorial..! I like either Kaspersky or avast.

  • sankeepan

    theanks that defender delete my all .dll fils

  • Ban

    or you can use easy way. Open defender turn off real time protection and turn off windows defender (administrator). Woalaaa

  • TimTamHunter

    Amazing guide, i spent about 2 hours searching for a good guide and this fulfilled just what i was looking for. It is very detailed and told you exactly what to do, the pictures helped a ton. Thanks!

  • Syed Muhammad Antiq

    Bro i still can’t stop it . as soon as i right click the Microsoft Defender the option to stop can’t be clicked moreover my defender does not open up manually it shows some error . I am sick of it can you help me out

  • Bermuha


  • dan

    i have installed my anti virus before turning off the windows defender. what should i do?

  • Adam Baldwin

    I’m not a dumbass, so I know how to surf the internet without getting viruses, and hence I don’t use an antivirus. I don’t quite see the point of them anyway since none of them prevent people from clicking on crap that they shouldn’t click on.