How do I disable my antivirus program in Windows?

Antivirus programs and companiesIt should be noted that the instructions in this document are for temporarily disabling an antivirus program, not uninstalling antivirus and other programs in Windows. Additionally, the answer to this question varies from one antivirus program to another, so you may have to use some intuition. However, nearly all antivirus protection programs can be temporarily disabled by following the steps below.

Disable in Windows

  1. Locate the antivirus protection program icon on the Windows Notification Area. Below are some examples of how program icon may look.


    McAfee, Norton, and AVG examples.
     
  2. Once the antivirus icon has been located, right-click the icon and select disable, stop, or something similar. In some cases, you may need to open the program control center and disable it using the program's menus.

How to disable Microsoft Security Essentials

In the previous section, we mentioned how to disable many third party antivirus programs and that some of them require more than a few clicks in the Systray. MSE is one of the special cases we get asked about frequently.

  1. Click the Microsoft Security Essentials Icon in the Windows Notification area and then click open.
  2. Click the Settings tab then Real-time protection.
  3. Uncheck the box next to Turn on real-time protection (recommended).
  4. Save your changes.

Tip: To turn protection back on, follow these steps again and check the box next to Turn on real-time protection.

Disable by starting in Safe Mode

If the previous recommendations did not help you disable your antivirus scanner, you can boot into Safe Mode, which doesn't load any third-party programs including your antivirus program. This is helpful for times you're concerned about the antivirus program interrupting a program during an installation.

Additional information

  • See the antivirus definition for further and related links.