How To Add Windows Defender Exclusions

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If Windows Defender repeatedly alerts you about a harmless file, you can add it as an exception. However you should only do this for files, which you know are 100% harmless.

How to Set an exclusion/exception to Windows Defender

  • Step 1: Click on the Windows icon in the lower left corner and select “Settings”.
  • Step 2: Under the category “Update and Security” you will find the area “Windows Security” on the left.
  • Step 3: Click “Virus & Threat Protection” and then click “Manage Settings” under “Virus & Threat Protection Settings.
  • Step 4: Scroll down a little to “Exclusions” and click “Add or remove exclusions“.
  • Step 5: click the “Add Exclusions” button to select individual files, folders, file types or entire processes.
  • Step 6: The Windows Defender will no longer check the files you want. Please note that this behavior may lead to security problems under certain circumstances.

What is Windows Defender?

Under Windows Vista, 7, 8 and 10 the program “Windows Defender” is preinstalled. In this guide we will tell you what this program is all about and what it does on your PC.

Windows Defender is Windows’ proprietary anti-virus software. It is designed to protect you from viruses and other malware and to remove them if necessary. Unlike other anti-virus programs, such as Avast, Avira or AVG, it is a fairly basic protection, which hardly slows down the system due to its compactness.

Windows released the Defender in Windows 7, including many vulnerabilities in the first years, but managed to make the program work very reliable in the meantime. In comparison to other anti-virus programs, Windows Defender always scored on par with other competitors (test below).

If you want to protect your computer from the daily dangers on the net, you can also use an alternative from Avast, Avira, AVG, Comodo or Bitdefender. If you install any other software, Windows Defender is automatically disabled so that the programs do not interfere with each other.

How to deactivate Windows Defender

We will show you how to disable Windows Defender.

But be careful: You should never disable Windows Defender without having some other type of antivirus protection installed. Otherwise you run the risk of accidentally downloading malware or worse to your computer.

Disable Windows Defender via the settings

This process can only be a temporary success with some versions of Windows. This means that you must disable Windows Defender each time you restart Windows. If this guide does not achieve permanent success, skip to the next guide. Follow our step-by-step instructions. Note: This guide is suitable for Windows 10 versions 1607, 1703, 1709, 1803 and above.

  • Step 1: Open your Start Window and access the settings via the gear symbol. Alternatively, you can access the settings via the key combination [Windows] + [I].
  • Step 2: Click on “Update & Security” in the settings.
  • Step 3: Open Windows Defender Security Center. Select Windows Security in the left column, then click Open Windows Defender Security Center.
  • Step 4: In the Windows Defender Security Center, now click on “Virus & Threat Protection“.
  • Step 5: Then select “Virus & Threat Protection Settings“. These are the core settings for Microsoft Defender.
  • Step 6: Click on the sliders under “Real-time Protection” and “Cloud Based Protection” to turn them Off. You may need to confirm these actions with your admin information. Your admin data will normally match your Windows 10 user data.
  • Step 7: Both slider controls should now be set to “Off“. The Windows Defender is now deactivated. If you do not use any other anti-virus protection, Defender will switch itself on again after a short time.

Disable Windows Defender via Group Policy

Follow our step-by-step instructions or take a look at the quick start guide.

  • Step 1: Press [Win] + [R] and enter “gpedit.msc“. Confirm with either “OK” or [Enter].
  • Step 2: Navigate to the following folder via the left menu bar “Computer Configuration>Administrative Templates” > “Windows Components” > “Windows Defender Antivirus“.
  • Step 3: Double-click the “Disable Windows Defender Antivirus” setting.
  • Step 4: Select the round checkbox next to “Enabled” and click OK. Then restart your PC so that the new settings are applied
Here you will find a video guide on how to disable Windows Defender in Windows 10

How to activate Windows Defender?

If you want to protect your computer with Windows Defender, you can activate it at any time in Windows 10. We’ll show you how to do it in this guide.

Do you need Windows Defender?

  • Windows Defender provides basic protection for Windows 10, but Defender’s qualifications don’t go beyond basic protection.
  • Once you install an anti-virus software on your computer, Defender is automatically disabled. Like that the two programs don’t get in each other’s way.
  • When you uninstall your anti-virus protection, Windows Defender is automatically activated. manual activation is therefore only necessary in very few cases.

Instructions: How to activate Windows Defender

  • Step 1: Click on the Windows icon in the lower left corner to open the Start menu.
  • Step 2: Press on the gear symbol to open the settings.
  • Step 3: Under the category “Update and Security” you will find “Windows Defender” on the left.
  • Step 4: Click on the “Activate Windows Defender” button at the top to start Defender.
  • Step 5: Click on the “Activate” button again and confirm the process.

Activating Windows Defender via the command prompt

Alternatively, you can activate Windows Defender from the command prompt. To do this, start the command prompt as administrator.

  • Because Windows Defender works with two separate services, you need the following two commands to activate it: “sc start WinDefend Enable” and “sc start WdNisSvc Enable“.
  • You can also disable both services in the same way. Use the commands “sc start WinDefend Disable” and “sc start WdNisSvc Disable“.

Windows Defender Test / Review

Windows Defender showed an upward trend in the last test (2018), but in the end Microsoft ended up in second last place. However, our test partner QC solutions has provided new test data and they turn the ranking upside down.

In the QC solutions evaluation, Windows Defender scores 17.5 out of 18 possible points and gets a certification as a top product. Bitdefender, winner of the last comparison test, also scores 17.5 points. This catapults the virus protection integrated in Windows 10 to the top level.

Windows Defender wins all points for detection and usability, but only the speed is compromised. For the first time, Windows Defender detects all of the malware thrown at it, whether it is zero-day malware or the 5,432 more common malware samples.

When scanning 1,430,300 clean software packages, Defender only triggers one false alarm, a strong value. The slow-down effect is also minimal, only when installing software Defender delays the process noticeably. But since most users probably don’t install tools all the time, this can be taken lightly.

Only 3 anti-virus programs are better than Windows Defender

The good performance of Windows Defender is likely to come as a shock to third-party payment offerings. Only three virus scanners in the test performed better, Avira, Kaspersky and McAfee. All three achieve the full 18 points in the QC solutions test ranking. The remaining virus scanners did not provide any arguments in this test for why they should be preferred over Windows Defender. This concerns Bitdefender, for example, but also F-Secure or Norton. With Avast Free Antivirus a free virus protection scores just as well as Windows Defender.

“It took a little longer, but Microsoft finally got Windows Defender on track and is delivering a strong virus protection as part of Windows. The arguments for paid virus scanners are weakening, with only three products scoring better than Defender in the test. Those who use Windows 10 can now stay with Windows Defender with a clear conscience.”

– Michael Dean (CEO of QC solutions)

Features of Windows Defender

Windows Defender

The “Auto Start” lists all applications that start when the PC is booted. Under “Internet Explorer Add-ons”, the user will find the extensions of the browser which are automatically loaded when opening. The “Settings” menu item provides the user with an overview of the security settings of Internet Explorer.

The user interface of Windows Defender is designed to be comfortable.

Many users find a conventional antivirus solution too complicated. They want something simple. Something that ideally they don’t have to configure themselves and that does its job reliably. Windows Defender meets that need. Because it integrates directly into the operating system, it starts scanning automatically and protects programs like Internet Explorer or Outlook mailbox in real time. In addition, virus definitions and heuristics are supplied directly via the operating system’s update function. This makes Windows Defender the easiest and most practical anti-virus program available to many users.

The Windows Defender from the experts’ point of view

On closer inspection, however, Windows Defender proves to be a simple real-time scanner that can hardly keep up with “real” antivirus programs from Bitdefender, Kaspersky and Co. Although Microsoft’s small side project has grown in size in recent years, Windows Defender is still not able to compete with good external antivirus software. For example, the chance that Windows Defender will detect new variants of viruses, Trojans or other malware is already 75 percent – despite the additional heuristic analyses – while its overall detection rate is around 85 percent. By comparison, the hit rates of antivirus software from well-known manufacturers are between 90 and 98 percent. After all, Windows Defender is slim, resource-saving and even runs on XP computers that are now very old. But are these good arguments to rely on it?

Disappointing test results for a long time

In the QC-solutions test, which is an independent testing laboratory, Defender always came in last in the anti-virus software comparison, with the exception of the latest version. Especially version 4.7, which was tested on Windows 8, scored well below average according to QC-test. Windows Defender 4.8 achieved better results. It wasn’t until the 2015 version that the Defender left the league table basement and reached a midfield position for the first time in QC-test. With 15.5 points, it still received an average score. This was til now steps in the right direction, since in this years test Microsoft Defender achieved to ranking on the 4th position.

New version of Windows Defender for “Windows 10” systems

In March 2016, Microsoft announced that Windows systems used in the corporate environment will soon receive better protection: Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection. The new security technology was intended to provide administrators with options for action. Threat intelligence and cloud detection should also be on board. In the 14986 version of Windows 10, Microsoft has added Windows Defender as an app, so antivirus, firewall, and family options appear on a dashboard. Although the old Defender is also integrated, it has a new interface and is called Windows Defender Security Center.


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