Windows Defender Turned Off by Group Policy Fixed 2021

Windows Defender Turned Off by Group Policy:  If you are reading this article, then I would assume that you have tried logging into your computer, but the windows defender won’t start.

Windows Defender Turned Off by Group Policy

If you see the message ”Windows Defender Turned Off by Group Policy” or “This app is turned off by Group policy” when manually trying to have access to windows defender, then you are on the right page.

In this article, we will try our best to help you resolve this issue. Without further ado, let’s jump into the article.

What causes ”Windows Defender Turned Off by Group Policy”?

If your computer is infected by virus or malware, it may cause Windows Defender to turn off. There is also a possibility that Windows Defender gets automatically disabled right after installing anti-virus software.

In such a situation, you will get the following error message when you try to open Windows Defender:

“Windows Defender Turned Off by Group Policy. To allow this app to run, contact your security administrator to enable the program via group policy”

Could it be that your device is hacked? long answer, yes. Attackers or Hackers know Windows Defender can detect cyberattacks.

So, it is one of their standard knacks they attempt to disable Defender. Many a time, they use group policy to disable Windows Defender on multiple devices.

Depending on their level of access and to move more easily between various PCs on your network. Sometimes they will also use a local group policy to disable Defender.

Attackers also use other methods to disable Defender, among all group policy method is more difficult for the user to re-enable it. 

Top 5 easy methods for Windows Defender Turned Off by Group Policy

If you or someone you know experiences this kind of error, there are several options that help to re-enable Defender.

You may want to check several of these settings along with a few other items (such as malware, AD event logs, ) for evidence of tampering.

Method 1: Using Group Policy

  1. First, you need to open Group Policy editor
  2. Next, select Local Computer Policy ⇒ Administrative Templates ⇒ Windows Components
  3. Further, select Windows Defender. In the right panel, double click on “Turn off Windows Defender”
  4. If you cannot run windows defender, that means “Turn off Windows Defender” should be set to Enable. You would want to disable this option. You will need local administrative rights if you wish to make this change

Make sure to reboot your computer. You will no longer get the “This app is turned off by group policy” message, the next time you try to open windows defender.

This way you will be able to run Windows Defender once you update this Group Policy Object.

Method 2: User Settings

There is another option to re-enable Windows Defender is in the Control Panel Settings.

  1. First, click the Start button and type Windows Defender. Next, double click the icon for Windows Defender Security Center. It may vary slightly depending on your version of Windows.
  2. Now, click Settings. Look for a button labeled “Real-Time Protection.” Make sure it is turned on.

Method 3: Using the Command Line

Another option is to run the following command from PowerShell, make sure to run this command as Administrator.

Command: Set-MpPreference -DisableRealtimeMonitoring 0

Method 4: Using the Registry Editor

Another possible fix for this issue would be, editing the Registry.

  1. For this, run ‘regedit’
  2. Next, navigate through the tree to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender.
  3. Further, delete DisableAntiSpyware in the right pane.
  4. Now, navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender\Real-Time Protection.
  5. Next, delete DisableRealtimeMonitoring in the right pane.
  6. Finally, close the registry editor and reboot your PC. 

Many have reported that the first one worked best, sometimes the second, sometimes both. It is better to delete both, just to be sure.

After deleting you will not receive the error message “This app is turned off by group policy” next time try to launch Windows Defender.

Method 5: Reviewing Conflicting Programs

It is very much possible that attackers turned off Windows Defender by some other means if not from direct tampering with computer settings. Further investigation is needed to get everything back up and running.

Check for Malware or virus

Malware has the ability to turn off Defender and keep it off despite your best efforts to re-enable it. If you are not able to turn Windows Defender back on your device might get infected. Install and run another malware detector that you prefer and see if you can find and remove the virus.

Check for Third-Party Antivirus Tools

If none of the methods works, look for another anti-virus application installed that works with Windows Defender. Some of the anti-virus programs don’t. Some EDR (endpoint detection and response) solutions do.

Windows Defender is a good line of defense but is relatively easy for attackers to work and mess around. Just how easily you can turn it on, they are able to turn it back off.


We hope this article has been helpful to you. In the above article, we have listed out 5 simple methods that help you resolve ”Windows Defender Turned Off by Group Policy” or ”This app is turned off by Group policy”.

If you have any queries related to this article let us know in the comment box below. If you know other methods that have worked for you and are not mentioned in our article, share it with us in the comment section.

Feel free to share this post with your near ones that are facing the same issue.

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