Microsoft makes it harder to disable Windows Defender in Windows 10

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The Windows Defender tool that is built into Windows 10 offers protection against a range of malware, but it is not something that everyone wants running on their computer. In a recent update, Microsoft has removed the option of disabling Defender via the registry.

Previously, it was possible to enable the DisableAntiSpyware key in the registry to switch off Windows Defender -- for whatever reason you may want to. But now the setting is ignored, meaning anyone wanting to avoid Windows Defender will have to find another way to do so.

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The registry key was originally intended for use by system administrators looking to run different security software, but Microsoft says that the setting is no longer needed and will simply be ignored.

Microsoft's decision was not made with a view to reducing user choice or making life more awkward. Rather the option to disable Windows Defender via the registry was removed because it is a technique frequently used by malware to circumvent security and avoid detection.

If you are looking for a way to disable Windows Defender, the free tool Defender Control still does the job. Anyone running Windows 10 Professional also has the option of using Group Policy Editor.

Image credit: Sundry Photography / Shutterstock

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