If you are using Windows 8, most probably you are safe from most of the malware and virus threats because Windows 8 includes a nifty anti-malware called Windows Defender. While Windows Defender may not be the best antivirus software for computer virus protection, it is always better than to be without any security software. Since Windows Defender is a very basic antivirus, it will not be able to counter bigger threats that other stronger antivirus programs can offer.
Since a computer can have only one antivirus enabled at a time, it is necessary that you turn off or disable Windows Defender in Windows 8 before installing any other security suite or antivirus. If two or more antivirus programs are working at the same time, it will slow down the system and will create other errors in the functioning of programs and the Operating System.
Here we will discuss two methods by which we can disable Windows Defender in Windows 8. The same procedure done in reverse can be used to enable Windows Defender. Once we are comfortable with disabling the security software, it will be easier for us to enable it again.
One thing to note here is that you will not be able to remove or uninstall Windows Defender from Windows 8 completely because it is completely integrated into the Operating System.
If you have purchased Windows 8 and installed it yourself, chances are that Windows Defender is already enabled on your computer by default. But if you have purchased a computer with Windows 8 pre-installed on it, then you must see if Windows Defender is enabled or not. This is because most OEMs will install trial versions of third-party security suites or antivirus software which can be purchased if the user wants to keep using them.
Turning off Windows Defender using program options
Windows Defender is installed in C:\Program Files\Windows Defender\. If you want to run Windows Defender, you can go to the mentioned folder and run MSASCui.exe to start Windows Defender user interface.
Otherwise, you can go to Windows search and search for “Windows Defender”. You can click on Windows Defender in the search results.
To deactivate or disable Windows Defender, go to the Settings tab and un-check “Turn on Real-time protection” or press Alt + N shortcut key to uncheck it automatically. Press the Save changes button and Windows Defender will be disabled immediately.
Disable Windows Defender using Windows Services
Windows Defender runs as a service in Windows 8. This is because it can keep on protecting the system even when a user is not logged in. You can disable the Windows Defender service which will prevent Windows Defender from running on system Startup.
To disable Windows Defender from Windows Services, open the Services manager by going to Run –> services.msc. Find the service named “Windows Defender Service” and double-click it to open its properties.
Change the Startup type to Disable to disable Windows Defender completely from Windows Startup.
At the end, my advice would always be to have a reasonable computer virus protection for your PC or otherwise keep Windows Defender enabled.