How to disable Windows Defender from starting when Vista boots

Perhaps you prefer to use Ad-Aware and/or Spybot to keep your PC spyware-free. Perhaps you want to free up some system resources. Perhaps you just want to know how..

  1. Click the Start button (orb?), select All Programs, then Accessories and finally Run
  2. Type in msconfig and click OK
  3. Click Continue when Vista’s security warning appears
  4. Select the Startup tab and remove the check from the box labeled Windows Defender. Click OK.

  5. click to enlarge

  6. Restart your PC when prompted
  7. And from now on when Vista boots, Windows Defender will no longer run (use the Task Manager to check)

  8. click to enlarge

25 thoughts on “How to disable Windows Defender from starting when Vista boots”

  1. do you mind if I post this on some anti-spyware sites as they will need to disable windows defender for HijackThis fixes?
    Great guide by the way!

  2. Anyone any idea how to remove Defender completely in Vista? Would like to get rid of a few of the pre-installed vista software but none of them are listed in the ‘add/remove programs’



  3. likewise as dan i have disabled but it still starts up on reboot!can anyone email me if they know how to get rid of this problem or git rid of defender all together it conflicts with my other programs and blocks things i didnt say to block (then i have to right click and manually start them under the run blocked programs selection everytime i reboot.

  4. These instructions are crap. It still runs and sometimes even gives an error that Defender could not initialize… Dam… How do you get rid of it COMPLETELY!

  5. This method causes Vista to bleat like a newborn lamb. The best method is from Windows Defender / Tools / Options / Administrator Options – untick “Use Windows Defender”

  6. 1) Disable Defender from the control panel (uncheck “use defender” in Defender >Tools).

    2) Use msconfig as directed above (or just export and then delete the registry key HKLM/whatever)

    3) Run services.msc and set the service from “Automatic” to “Disabled”

  7. i have tried everything, i unchecked it in startup and services, and checked its stopped in aruns services.msc, but it is still sending me alerts, i would like to know how to get onto admin options which jed has talked about

  8. THIS IS GREAT!!! i am finally able to keep windows defender from starting up. there is a conflict between Mcafee security suite and Defender in vista windows. i have been trying for days to find a way to keep defender from starting up. your info did it! THANK YOU!!!

  9. Thanks so much. What an annoying problem!! How did it get on my computer and why is it so annoying? Who would buy a program that constanly harrasses you!. Anyway, thank so very much!

  10. typed in msconfig – unchecked defender – did a restart – there’s the defender pop-up again!

    defender will not initialise on my vista but i already have antivirus/anti-malware so i don’t need it, but i can’t get rid of it! :-o

  11. When i try to use the Windows Defender / Tools / Options / Administrator Options – untick
    thing….i can’t find the tools option.
    My computer has a virus and it keeps showing the virus page

  12. I also have no tools option, and have tried the services.msc and msconfig disables. Has anyone ever tried to remove it via jv16powertools? I know its part of the system, but I can’t get ANYTHING to run; programs or internet.

  13. this program is locked by the geeksquad…the fin qeeksquad..they made sure to make sure for a permission denied to delete it after cutting and pasting it to another place(which still fin worked by the way) and by the way i thing geeksquad, and microsoft are planning to monopolize the system like pg&e, irs, senetors who do not need to pay taxes…etc.

  14. I have tried about everything and that darn crap still runs and blocks my start-up programs!

    The main point with defender is to prevent US from running OUR security program. Damn you, Microsoft!

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