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Disabling Windows Defender for Windows Server OS


Windows Defender will interfere with Antivirus installations on Windows Server OS and needs to be disabled prior to installation.

Microsoft has revoked the API for Windows Server that allowed us to report the presence of our Antivirus, which would cause Windows to automatically disable Windows Defender. Therefore, we cannot turn off Defender during installation, and it will need to be disabled either manually on the device or via Group Policy Object.

Disabling Windows Defender Manually

On the affected device(s), do one of the following:

  • In the Remove Roles and Features Wizard, reach the Features step and deselect the Windows Defenders Features option
  • If you have PowerShell, run the following command: Uninstall-WindowsFeature -Name Windows-Defender

For more information, see Microsoft's article on the topic.

Disabling Windows Defender via GPO

  1. On your Group Policy management machine, open the Group Policy Management Console
  2. Right-click the Group Policy Object and click Edit
  3. In the Group Policy Management Editor, navigate to Computer configuration
  4. Click Administrative templates
  5. Expand the tree to Windows Components ▸ Windows Defender Antivirus ▸ Real-time protection
  6. Double-click Turn off Windows Defender Antivirus
  7. Set the option to Enabled, then click Ok
  8. Deploy the GPO as usual

For more information, see Microsoft's article on the topic.