How to fix Windows Defender error “This app is turned off by Group Policy?”

Issue: I can’t turn on Windows Defender. I’ve noticed that it’s turned off a couple of days ago, but when I attempt to turn it on, I receive a pop-up alert “This app is turned off by Group Policy.” What should I do?

Solved Answer

“This app is turned off by Group Policy” is a pop-up notification, which is specific to Windows 10. Older Windows versions may encounter this error as well, but only if the system is running Windows Defender anti-virus. As you probably already know, Windows 10 operating system is protected by default because it has an in-built anti-virus, Windows Defender, activated in the licensed Windows 10 OS version.

There are various diverse opinions concerning whether Windows Defender is capable of protecting the system in a proper way. Nevertheless, AV-TESTS revealed that it’s capable of catching more than 95% of cyber threats, including worms, Trojans, ransomware virus, PUPs, etc., which is not bad. Besides, it enables real-time protection and system scanning. Unfortunately, quite frequently people encounter Windows Defender bugs, one of which is “This app is turned off by Group Policy.” The full message reads as follows:

This app is turned off by Group Policy
If you’re using another app to check for malicious software or unwanted software, use Security and Maintenance to check that app’s status.
To allow this app to run, contact your security administrator to enable the program via group policy.

This bug may show up on the system if it’s a part of the domain, the policies of which have recently been assigned by the controller. “This app is turned off by Group Policy” pop-up on Windows 10 may be triggered by the installation/removal of a third-party anti-virus/anti-malware. In both instances, there is a fix, so don’t wait any longer and unblock Windows Defender via Group Policy right away.

How to fix Windows Defender error “This app is turned off by Group Policy?”

If your PC belongs to the domain, the only way to fix “This app is turned off by Group Policy” pop-up and unblock Windows Defender is to contact your administrator and ask him/her to enable Windows Defender via Group Policy. If you are the administrator of your machine, we would highly recommend you to uninstall a third-party anti-virus in the first place using Perfect Uninstaller or another reliable software removal tool and then perform the following steps:

Method 1. Run Registry Editor

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  • Click Win key, type regedit, and press Enter.
  • Using the left pane, navigate to the HKey_Local_Machine\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender location.
  • Find DisableAntiSpyware key and delete its value. For this purpose, you have to double-click on the REG –DWORD and set its value to 0.

Method 2. Modify Group Policy settings

  • Log into your account as an administrator.
  • Once done, type gpedit.msc, and press Enter.
  • Click Local Computer Policy and select Administrative Templates.
  • Then select Windows Components and open Windows Defender.
  • Select Windows Defender and double-click Turn off Windows Defender option on the right pane.
  • In the newly opened window, click Disable.
  • Finally, click OK to save the changes.

After all, we would recommend you to scan the system with a professional optimizer, such as FortectMac Washing Machine X9. It will ensure that there are not third-party software remnants, that there are no corrupted registry keys, damaged system files, malware, and similar problems that may be negatively influencing system’s performance.

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About the author
Gabriel E. Hall
Gabriel E. Hall - Passionate computer expert

Gabriel E. Hall is an expert troubleshooter who has been working in the information technology industry for years.

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