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Top 6 Methods to Fix Windows Defender is Turned off by Group Policy

One day you wake up and try to launch Windows Defender only to find that it throws a message that reads Windows Defender is turned off by Group Policy. You might wonder what the group policy is if you don't already know what it is and why it is preventing the Defender from launching on your computer.

Well, there are multiple reasons as to why that happens. Maybe you have installed a new antivirus software and it has disabled the Defender thinking it is of no use anymore. Regardless of the reasoning, the following guide shows how to turn on Windows Defender on your Windows PC.

Method 1. Check If Windows Defender Service is Running

Windows uses and runs several services on your computer and when any of these services stops working, problems start to occur. If the Windows Defender service has stopped for some reason, you may want to check and start it again. The following shows how to do it on your PC:

Step 1: Press the Windows + R key on your keyboard to open the Run dialog box. Type in services.msc into the box and hit Enter.

launch services run

Step 2: When the services panel launches, find the service named Windows Defender Antivirus Service and right-click on it and select Properties.

windows defender properties

Step 3: In the Properties box, select Automatic from the Startup type dropdown menu, click on the Start button, and then click on OK.

automatic startup

The service should be enabled by now, and you should be able to open Windows Defender on your PC.

Method 2. Turn on Windows Defender from Settings

If Windows Defender won't turn on even after the above method, you may want to try opening it from the Settings panel on your Windows computer. The following shows how you can go about doing it.

Step 1: Press the Windows + I key combo on your keyboard and it will open the Settings panel. When it opens, click on Update & Security and then select Windows Defender followed by Open Windows Defender Security Center.

open windows defender security center

Step 2: Click on Virus & threat protection on the screen that follows.

virus threat protection

Step 3: Click on Virus & threat protection settings option to open the settings menu.

virus threat protection settings

Step 4: Find the option named Real-time protection and turn it on.

realtime protection

There you go. Windows Defender should now be enabled and running on your computer.

Method 3. Turn on Windows Defender Using Command Line

Command Prompt lets you accomplish several tasks on your Windows computer and one of them is letting you turn on the Windows Defender app on your computer. If you have not done it before, the following shows how.

Powershell has taken over command prompt window in Windows 10 and so you will be using it to accomplish the task.

Step 1: Using the start menu search function, search for powershell and right-click on Windows PowerShell when it appears and select Run as administrator.

launch powershell

Step 2: When PowerShell launches, type in the following command and hit Enter.

Set-MpPreference -DisableRealtimeMonitoring 0

powershell command

After the command has executed, restart your PC and you will find that you can now access the Windows Defender app on your computer. So that was how to enable Windows Defender using command line in Windows.

Method 4. Disable "Turn off Windows Defender Antivirus" in Group Policy

If you see a message Windows Defender blocked by Group Policy when you try to launch the app, then this solution will probably help you out. It goes into the Group Policy Editor and modifies a value which in turn allows you to launch the Defender on your PC.

Step 1: Press the Windows + R key to open Run and type in gpedit.msc and hit Enter.

launch gpedit

Step 2: When the Group Policy Editor opens, head to the following path. Then, double-click on Turn off Windows Defender Antivirus in the right panel.

Local Computer Policy > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Defender Antivirus

turn off defender properties

Step 3: On the following screen, choose the Disabled radio button and click on OK at the bottom.

disable turn off

Restart your PC and you should be able to access Windows Defender without any issues.<

Method 5. Delete DisableAntiSpyware Value in Registry Editor

If you would prefer using Registry Editor to do the task, then you can do it as shown below. Basically, what it will do is it will change a value in the registry that is related to Windows Defender and the app will start working again on your computer.

Step 1: Press the Windows + R key to open Run and type in regedit and hit Enter.

open regedit

Step 2: When the Registry Editor opens, head to the following path and right-click on the entry named DisableAntiSpyware and select Modify.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender

modify value

Step 3: Enter 0 as the value of the entry and click on OK.

enter value

The file that has just been saved is the DxDiag report for your Windows 10 PC. You may use it to troubleshoot issues or to find out more information about DirectX on your system.

Method 6. Run SFC Scan

If you believe the issue has been caused by the corrupted system files, then you should consider using SFC scan to scan the system files and fix any corrupted files on your PC. The following is how you do it.

Step 1: Press the Windows + X key and choose Command Prompt (Admin) from the menu that opens up.

open command prompt

Step 2: When the command prompt window opens, type in the following command and hit Enter.

sfc/ scannow

sfc scan now

The command will scan and fix any corrupted files on your computer. It will result in you being successful at launching Windows Defender on your machine.

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