How to Turn Microsoft Defender On or Off in Windows 11

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This post shows students and new users how to turn or enable Microsoft Defender (previously known as Windows Defender) on or off when using Windows 11.

The just released preview of Windows 11 comes with a new user desktop and some cool features, including centered Start menu and taskbar, rounded corners windows, themes and colors that will make any Windows device stand out.

Microsoft Defender, (previously known as Windows Defender), is also included in the new Windows 11 which is part of Microsoft Security. Microsoft Defender is free anti-malware software in Windows 11 to help you stop viruses and malware from installing on your computer.

If you don’t have other commercial antivirus or security program installed, Microsoft Defender should be a great feature to turn on and use. For some, Microsoft Defender is still used even with other third party security programs installed on Windows 11.

Windows Defender helps protect your computer from authorized access and adds another layer of security in protecting your data, identity from bad actors.

How to Enable Microsoft Defender

Below are steps that help you turn on or enable Microsoft Defender if it’s disabled:

Windows 11 has a centralized location for majority of its settings. From system configurations to creating new users and updating Windows, all can be done from its System Settings pane.

To get to System Settings, you can use the Windows key + i shortcut or click on Start ==> Settings as shown in the image below:

windows 11 start settings

Alternatively, you can use the search box on the taskbar and search for Settings. Then select to open it.

Windows Settings pane should look similar to the image below. In Windows Settings, click Privacy & security, select Windows Security on the right pane of your screen shown in the image below.

windows 11 windows security

On the Windows Security setting pane, click “Open Windows Security” button as highlighted below,

windows 11 open windows security 1

That will bring you to Widows Security home settings pane. From the left menu items, go to Firewall & network protection.

There you will see up to three network profiles.

  • Domain network: Network at workplace that are joined to a domain. This is mostly found in business environments
  • Private network: Network are home or work where you know you trust the devices in your network and where device are set to be discovered via network discovery.
  • Public network: Network in public areas such as airports, coffee shops and others where devices are not configured to be discovered.

You can go into each network profile above and turn on or turn off Microsoft Defender firewall for each.

windows 11 firewall and network protection

Select of network profile, and turn on or enable if already disabled.

microsoft 11 domain network profile on

If the profile is enabled, you can disable or turn off.

microsoft 11 private profile network profile off

Next, go to Virus & threat protection on the left menu, under Virus & threat protection on the right pane, click Mange settings link.

Then enable or turn Real-time protection and Cloud-delivered protection. If enabled, you can then disabled or turn off.

microsoft 11 antivirus protection

App & browser control can also be turned off or disabled.

microsoft 11 app and browser control off

By all means Microsoft Defender should be enabled and receiving updates on your Windows computer. The only reasons you may want to turn it off is when you have other security products installed and Microsoft Defender is interfering with them.

If Microsoft Defender is not impacting your PC performance or interfering with other security suite installed, you should keep both installed and enabled.


This post showed you how to enable Microsoft Defender in Windows 11. If you find any error above, please use the comment form below to report.


  1. I get an error saying: “You will need a new app to open this windowsdefender link”. All my options are to open the Microsoft Store which does not give any other options after all.

    1. Sudhir Kumar Yadav

      I have same issue, and i am still searching solution. I found one more thing Windows defender service is stopped and it is not getting started.

  2. Hi .. I can’t open Windows Sercurity .. it doesn’t run any progress … and I don’t see protection arena like pic.2

  3. Moetassem Wehbe

    i have the same problem i can’t open the windows security

  4. Enable the service 🙂
    Service.msc in the search bar
    Find the windows Defender process and enable is click on start and that problem is gone.

    1. Not true. Mine starts and stops immediately thereafter. An sfc /scannow shows no issues. I also have Malwarebytes installed and I know it likes to disable Windows Defender but that should not stop me from enabling it again.

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