How to Enable Windows Defender When Turned Off by Group Policy

Window Defender is a great built-in app for Windows to protect your computer against Malware, Virus, Spyware, and other third-party software that can infect your computer. Malware can be installed automatically without your permission and may infect your computer. It can be installed from the internet, USB drive, DVD, CD or any other removable Media.
If Windows Defender is enabled and working correctly then this will protect you from harmful things in two different ways:

Real-Time Protection: Defender will notify you when any unwanted software or malware tries to install on your computer and also informs you when any software tries to change any important settings.

Any time scanning: Defender automatically scans your computer regularly and also gives you options to examine as you set schedule.

How Does Windows Defender Get Disabled

When your computer infected by any malware or virus, then this may disable every app or functionality (like Windows Defender, Task Manager, Windows Registry, Group Policy Editor, etc.) on your computer that you can use to remove harmful stuff. When you try to open Windows Defender from the control panel or directly from Run command. It gives you an error “This app is turned off by group policy.”

this app is turned off by group policy

In that case, you have to make some changes in your computer using gpedit (Group Policy Editor). Follow the instruction below to enable Windows Defender.

Enable Windows Defender from Group Policy

  • First logged in as an administrator. Press Windows+R keys from the keyboard, type gpedit.msc in Run Window and hit Enter.
  • In Local Group Policy Editor (gpedit) find this location Local Computer Policy > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Defender.
  • Click on Windows Defender in the left-panel. Now, find out Turn off Windows Defender setting in right-panel.
    windows defender group policy setting
  • Double click on it to open, a new window will show Windows Defender settings, select Disable and hit OK button. This will disable the Turn off Windows Defender option means Defender is enabled to run.
    enable windows defender

Now, try to open Windows Defender, and you should no longer get This app turned off… message. From Group Policy Editor you can enable or disable different Windows operating system options easily, options like Disable Windows 10 Updates, Enable Task Manager and lot more.

30 comments… add one
Jb November 4, 2015, 12:00 pm

Thanks this helped me beat a virus

Pete November 21, 2015, 5:44 am

When I do this I get “windows cannot find gpedit.msc”. So I cant get into the editor. What can I do? I cant find the answer anywhere.

Ahmed November 24, 2015, 6:44 pm

I heard that Windows 10 Home edition user can’t access gpedit.msc

Alexander October 7, 2016, 2:16 am

Works on windows 10

Bahri February 4, 2016, 6:37 pm

Thank you so much

David February 4, 2016, 9:08 pm

Another place to check is in the registry. Open regedit and go to HKLM\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender and if DisableAntiSpyware exists, either delete it or change its value from 1 to 0.

Rose November 23, 2016, 3:27 pm

It says cant change its value…What shd I do?

sadique December 25, 2016, 3:14 pm

thanks its helpful…

Noor Mohamed February 15, 2017, 7:16 pm

Thank you Mr. David. Now Windows Defender is working fine.

Suraj Samal September 6, 2019, 12:47 am

Thanks David. Worked on my Windows 8.1

User February 14, 2016, 6:32 pm

Thanks, this really helped me start the defender. David, it helped me with my Win 10 OS.

Sunray March 21, 2016, 4:13 am

Hey i cant find my registry and when i put in regedit it says it cant find it……

Rudraneil Saha May 26, 2016, 6:25 pm

Press the windows key… search Run… then enter regedit and click ok.. this will open ur registry editor

imran husain April 7, 2016, 9:35 am


nara April 15, 2016, 2:29 pm

thank you very much

Vic June 11, 2016, 8:28 am

Hi there, when I go under windows components Windows Defender does not show up. Help?

znop August 27, 2016, 10:21 am

Followed all the steps but Defender is still disabled despite everything being enabled.

Sarang Nandedkar October 5, 2016, 3:41 pm

Thank you very much for technical solutions.

Friend October 7, 2016, 5:06 pm

What if we restore our system to nearest point? It will work or not for this issue

Ahmed October 8, 2016, 8:49 pm

It should work if defender isn’t off before and system modification. So when you restore nearest point then it should load previous settings when defender was enabled.

Best in the World December 5, 2016, 7:25 pm

thanks bro, it really helped me alot!

marianne February 12, 2017, 1:51 am

Did NOT do a thing for my computer. in fact, when I typed the information into box it said they could not find it to enable me to do what I was planning to do. NOT a good thing.

nelson February 17, 2017, 2:08 pm

am running on windows 10 n i hv followed the steps but am still getting tht same message

nelson February 17, 2017, 2:09 pm

i hv followwd th steps yu provided but am still getting tht message still

Akshay February 21, 2017, 4:04 pm

Hello sir, In administrative templates>Windows components it’s not showing Windows defender ,what should I do ?

spider March 25, 2017, 7:51 am


Misty April 18, 2017, 6:10 am

I can’t log in as administrator either.. it is my own personal computer.. I am so untechy I just have no idea what to do.. is there anyone there who can help me please

Misty April 18, 2017, 7:51 am

follow up

I deleted my avg and then I could turn on Windows defender.
so then i did what you suggested re turning it off so avg couldn;t turn it off. it seemed to be good. I couldn’t log in as an administrator so i just did it under normal log in/
I reinstalled avg and the same problem appeared.
When I tried again there is no windows defender listed under windows

I am running win 7 professional. I am at a loss to know where to s tart now.. unless i toss the computer and buy a new one. Please help if you can

MIKE May 9, 2017, 3:51 pm

I just caught myself shouting “thank you”…..Thanks Alot

David Luiz July 18, 2018, 10:57 pm

This post is really helpful and easy to implement the windows defender functionality. Though this inbuilt antivirus was good for malware detection and removal, it is not good enough anymore on the newer versions.K7 Antivirus, Norton, Avast etc are quite better now on windows.

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