Turn off Windows Defender for all Users of Windows 7

Although Windows Defender is a default part of Microsoft’s attempt to keep spyware and other unwanted software out of your PC, many people prefer to use a variety of free and commercial third-party applications for the same purpose. If you are an administrator of a PC and want to avoid conflicts between Defender and another application you’ve installed on the computer, you can permanently turn off Windows Defender for all Users of Windows 7 to avoid conflicts between the two applications.

Why Turn off Windows Defender?

Windows Defender was a welcomed addition to Microsoft’s lineup of protection software for Windows Vista and Windows 7; it was also a clear recognition by the software giant that something more proactive and preventative was necessary on its part to protect customers from malicious spyware and other malware. Luckily, Microsoft didn’t make it a required component, allowing users to choose their own third-party application if they wanted to.

The problem with spyware prevention applications like Defender is that more is not necessarily better. Like virus scanners, having more than one active at the same time can cause errors and uses more processing power and memory than is necessary to protect a PC. The result can be a slow computer, Blue Screens of Death (BSoD), false positives, false negatives, and a variety of other errors that prevent users from getting the most from a PC.

In a multiple-user environment, it is best to turn off Defender at the administrative level to prevent users from turning it on themselves. Using a group policy, you can turn off Defender for all users of Windows 7 and avoid any trouble associated with running multiple spyware applications at the same time.

Turning off Windows Defender for All Users of Windows 7

Begin by logging in to Windows 7 using an account that has administrative privileges. Click on Start>Run to open the Run dialogue box. If you don’t have the Run command on your Start menu, hold down the Windows key on your keyboard and press the R key. Type gpedit.msc in the Run box and click the OK button.

You just opened the Local Group Policy Editor. In the left hand pane, locate the polices at Computer Configuration>Administrative Templates>Windows Components>Windows Defender.


In the right hand pane, locate and double click on the policy titled Turn Off Windows Defender.

You should now be looking at the Turn Off Windows Defender policy window. If no other administrator has ever changed this policy’s settings, it should be set to the default Not Configured. Click on the option labeled Enabled, click the OK button, and close the Local Group Policy Editor. Now, no user of the PC will be able to use Windows Defender

Although Windows Defender is a good choice to stop spyware and other types of malware, many administrators prefer to use a third-party application. To prevent conflicts brought on by having multiple spyware application running at the same time, you can turn off Windows Defender for all users of Windows 7 by enabling a local group policy setting. Just remember that anyone with administrative privileges can turn it back on.

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