Windows Defender is a crucial feature of Windows which protects the system from malware and harmful viruses. Recently many users have reported that they are unable to use Windows Defender and they see an error displaying “This app is turned off by Group Policy”.
This error could be cause by third party antivirus or by some faulty update. In this article we are going to learn about this problem and its solutions as well.
- 1 What is Meant by this Error?
- 2 How to Fix This app is turned off by Group Policy Error
- 3 Solution #1 Use Regedit
- 4 Solution #2 Use the Group Policy
- 5 Solution #3 Turn on Windows Defender from the Settings app
- 6 Solution #4 Turn on Windows Defender using the command line
- 7 Solution #5 Check if Windows Defender service is running
- 8 Solution #6 Check your PC for Malware
- 9 Solution #7 Make sure that third-party antivirus tools are completely removed
- 10 Solution #8 Consider switching to a third-party antivirus
- 11 Conclusion
What is Meant by this Error?
This error simply means that Windows defender is being blocked by group policy which is used to enable or disable features. This mostly happens when user either installs a new antivirus or any kind of protection program or a latest windows update.
When this antivirus or program is not compatible with Windows then Group policy may act like it. There can be other causes as well. Most of the users who reported the problem were using older version of Windows (e.g Windows 7 or 8) hence most of these solution are meant for older version of Windows however you will still be able to use some of them on Windows 10 as well.
How to Fix This app is turned off by Group Policy Error
This error is becoming a common error in Windows 10. There can be more than one reasons for this error. In this article we will provide with the solutions for most common causes of this solution. Since every solution is for a different cause you can try all of them. None of these solution can lead to deletion of your personal data hence they are genuinely safe.
Solution #1 Use Regedit
For those who don’t know about regedit it stands for Registry Editor. It is a Windows inbuilt tool which can be used to edit registry entries. With Registry Entries you can enable or disable a service or a program. In his solution we are going to use regedit to start Windows Defender. In order to do that simply follow the steps down below.
Step 1: Press Windows key + R and type “regedit” and hit Enter.
Step 2: Now go to HKey_Local_Machine/Software/Policies/Microsoft Windows Defender.
Step 3: Double click on the DisableAntiSpyware key and change its value to 0.
Step 4: If you can’t edit the key Delete the whole DisableAntiSpyware key.
Now you have successfully enabled Windows Defender with Registry Editor. Now you may check if the error still pops or not if it does then be sure to check all other solutions as well.
Solution #2 Use the Group Policy
Same as the Registry Editor this is an in-built tool integrated in Windows which lets you enable or disable any program or service without uninstalling it. This tool basically lets you edit policies of services and programs which will let you take control over them. In this solution we will simply use this tool to re-enable or restart Windows Defender. In order to do that simply follow all the steps down below.
Step 1: Press Windows key + R and type gpedit.msc and hit Enter.
Step 2: Now click on Local Computer Policy on left hand side menu and choose Administrative Templates.
Step 3: Choose Windows Components and then Windows Defender Antivirus finally select Turn off Windows Defender Antivirus from right hand side menu and double click on it.
Step 4: Now choose Disabled from options and click on Apply.
Step 5: Close the Window and restart your computer.
Now you have successfully started the Windows defender by Group Policy. Check if the error still persists if it does then try other solutions as well.
Solution #3 Turn on Windows Defender from the Settings app
In this solution we will try to run Windows Defender from Settings app in Windows. As many of you have already know Settings app is associated with almost every Windows primary functions and Windows Defender is one of them. So we are simply going to start Windows defender. Follow the steps down below.
[Time Required: 2 minutes]
Step 1: Press Windows key click on the Settings app ( gear icon ) and choose Update and Security from menu.
Step 2: Select Windows Defender and then click on Open Windows Defender Security Center.
Step 3: Now click on Virus and Threat Protection and locate Virus and Threat Protection Settings.
Step 4: Scroll down and make sure that Real Time Protection is enabled if it is disabled click on toggle to enable it.
Step 5: Restart your system.
Now you have successfully enabled Real Time Protection then your Windows Defender should be working if it is still poping up the same error try any other solution from the list.
Solution #4 Turn on Windows Defender using the command line
Command Prompt is a powerful base tool in Windows with good knowledge of commands you can use this terminal to solve most of the errors in your computer. In this solution we are going to use Command Prompt ( cmd )and Windows Powershell with their commands to start Windows Defender. This solution is pretty easy and effective as well. In order to use cmd and powershell simply follow the steps down below.
[ Time Required: 2-4 minutes ]
Step 1: Press Windows key and type Powershell the right click on first option and select Run as Administrator.
Step 2: Now type in following commands.
- Set-MpPreference -DisableRealtimeMonitoring 0 and hit Enter.
Step 3: Close the Window once the process is complete.
Step 4: Now open the command prompt by pressing Windows key the type cmd and hit Enter.
Step 5: Now type in the following command.
- REG DELETE HKLMSOFTWAREPoliciesMicrosoftWindows Defender /v DisableAntiSpyware and hit Enter.
Step 6: Let the process complete and restart your computer.
Now you have successfully started the Windows Defender service on your computer. In above solution we have deleted a selected value from registry. If the error is still annoying you try other solutions as well.
Solution #5 Check if Windows Defender service is running
In this solution we are going to check if the Windows Defender service is running or not. If not then we are going to start it manually. Since many times we mistakenly turn off Windows defender service or some third party application turn off Defender service. We are going to use Services of Windows which allows us to enable, disable, start and stop any service in Windows. In order to check if the Windows defender service is running in background or not simply follow the steps down below.
Step 1: Press Window key + R and type services.msc and hit Enter.
Step 2: Now scroll down and locate Windows Defender Antivirus Service.
Step 3: Double click on it and select Start and set the start-up to Automatic.
Step 4: Finally click on Apply and close the Window.
Now you have successfully started Windows defender service on your computer. Try to run Windows Defender again if the error is still appearing try other solutions as well.
Solution #6 Check your PC for Malware
Even if the chances of this happening is low there is still a little chance that your PC is infected with malware. For those who don’t know malware is an unwanted file that enters in PC from malicious websites it keeps multiplying itself and it slows down the computer as well. I this solution we are going to use a third party antivirus to scan for malware in our PC since Malware can also block Windows defender in some cases. In order to that simply follow the steps down below.
Step 1: Open your browser and download one of the antivirus. Here are some recommendations.
- Avast Antivirus
- AVG Antivirus
- Kaperskey Antivirus
- Norton Security
- Quick Heal
Step 2: Now install the antivirus and run a deep scan afterwards.
Step 3: Remove any malware if found and restart your computer.
Now you have removed malware that might be blocking Windows defender now you should be able to use Windows Defender. If you are still seeing that annoying error must check other solutions as well.
Note: Turn off the third party Antivirus before running Windows Defender
Solution #7 Make sure that third-party antivirus tools are completely removed
Most of users don’t know that you can’t use Windows Defender while using a third party antivirus because those third party antivirus takes Windows defender place themselves that’s why you can only use one antivirus service at a time. Hence it is recommended that you completely remove or disable that antivirus.
Even after uninstalling these antivirus some of registry entries will still block your way from using Windows defender. Since Windows stock uninstaller cannot completely remove programs and their files. In this solution I will show how you can completely remove any application or antivirus from your computer. In order to completely remove third party antiviruses simply follow the steps down below.
Step 1: Open your web Browser ( e.g Chrome or Mozilla Firefox ).
Step 2: Copy and paste this link in your search bar.
Step 3: Download and install iobit uninstaller.
Step 4: Now open iobit uninstaller and choose the programs you want to uninstall and click on Uninstall.
Step 5: At the end of each uninstallation a message will pop up “delete registry files” click on yes.
About IObit Uninstaller
It is a great uninstaller as it gives you power to completely uninstall any program with all of its files. There are many viruses or malware programs that creates their restore point which makes the kind of invincible but with this tool you will be able to completely clean every last file of that application. It is completely free.
You can completely trust this application. It also comes with a portable which doesn’t require uninstallation you can simply download and use it right away.
Now you have finally removed all third party antiviruses you should be able to use antivirus if you are still unable to use Windows Defender antivirus then make sure to check out other solutions as well.
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Solution #8 Consider switching to a third-party antivirus
As a last resort if you can’t do anything and none of the above solutions worked for you then you may consider switching to a third party antivirus. Since it could be an internal error and regardless what you try you can’t fix it by yourself.
You can wait for latest Windows update with which this error could be resolved or you can also reinstall Windows which is highly unlikely for you. So your best option would be to use a third party antivirus to keep your computer safe for time being.
I wouldn’t recommend any free antivirus because most of them just uses cpu and other resources and makes computer slow. Here are some best antivirus you can buy.
- Norton Antivirus
- Quick Heal
These all are best in class antivirus and they are best value as well. They are highly effective against latest virus and malware. You can buy them as cheap as 400INR ( 5.5$ ) for 1 year.
At the end of the article I hope you have gain knowledge about this error and Windows defender. For those who haven’t found any solution to this error I would recommend you to contact your computer manufacturer. You can also find support on Microsoft forums. These kind of errors we face every day but don’t be afraid their solutions are easy so keep learning and keep your computer safe from malware and viruses.