How to Turn on Windows Defender Windows 11: Step-by-Step Guide

how to turn on windows defender windows 11

Windows Defender is your computer’s built-in security system that helps keep your device safe from malware, viruses, and other threats. Turning it on in Windows 11 is pretty straightforward and can be done in a few simple steps. All you need to do is navigate through the Settings app, access Windows Security, and toggle the switch for Windows Defender. Let’s dive into the step-by-step process to get it up and running.

Turning on Windows Defender in Windows 11

The following steps will walk you through how to enable Windows Defender on your Windows 11 device, ensuring your computer is protected.

Step 1: Open Settings

First, click on the Start menu and then select ‘Settings.’

The Settings app is your go-to place for customizing and managing your Windows 11 system, making it easy to find the security options you need.

Step 2: Navigate to Privacy & security

Next, in the Settings menu, click on ‘Privacy & security.’

This section houses all your privacy and security settings, including Windows Defender, ensuring you have control over your device’s safety features.

Step 3: Go to Windows Security

Under ‘Privacy & security,’ select ‘Windows Security.’

Windows Security is where all the magic happens. It’s the control panel for your device’s security features, from virus protection to firewall settings.

Step 4: Open Virus & threat protection

Click on ‘Virus & threat protection’ inside the Windows Security interface.

This option will take you directly to the settings for Windows Defender, allowing you to manage and activate your antivirus protection.

Step 5: Enable Real-time protection

Finally, make sure the switch for ‘Real-time protection’ is turned on.

Real-time protection is what keeps your system safe by constantly scanning for threats. If this switch is off, your computer is not fully protected.

Once you complete these steps, Windows Defender will be active and continuously monitor your computer for any potential threats, giving you peace of mind.

Tips for Turning on Windows Defender in Windows 11

  1. Keep it updated: Make sure your Windows 11 and Windows Defender are always updated to the latest versions.
  2. Run regular scans: Even with real-time protection, running full system scans periodically can catch threats that might have slipped through.
  3. Review security settings: Occasionally check your other security settings within Windows Security to ensure everything is optimized.
  4. Use firewall: Keep your Windows Defender Firewall turned on to block unauthorized access.
  5. Check notifications: Pay attention to security notifications and alerts from Windows Defender for timely actions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why can’t I find Windows Security in Settings?

This could be due to an outdated Windows version. Make sure your system is updated to the latest version of Windows 11.

What happens if I turn off Real-time protection?

Turning off Real-time protection will leave your system vulnerable to threats. It’s not recommended unless you have another antivirus program running.

Can I use another antivirus with Windows Defender?

Yes, but it’s generally not recommended as it can cause conflicts. Windows Defender is designed to work seamlessly with Windows 11.

How do I know if Windows Defender is working?

You can check the status in the ‘Virus & threat protection’ section in Windows Security. It will show if Real-time protection is active and if there are any threats detected.

What should I do if Windows Defender finds a threat?

Follow the on-screen instructions in Windows Security to remove or quarantine the threat immediately.


  1. Open Settings.
  2. Navigate to Privacy & security.
  3. Go to Windows Security.
  4. Open Virus & threat protection.
  5. Enable Real-time protection.


Turning on Windows Defender in Windows 11 is a must for anyone looking to keep their computer safe from malicious threats. This built-in tool is designed to offer comprehensive protection right out of the box, ensuring you don’t have to worry about complex setups or third-party software.

Windows Defender is not just an antivirus; it’s a robust security suite designed to keep your Windows 11 device safe. By following the simple steps outlined above, you’re taking an essential step in safeguarding your computer.

For further reading, consider exploring additional Windows Security features like Firewall and Network Protection, App & Browser Control, and Device Security. These layers of security work hand-in-hand with Windows Defender to provide a well-rounded defense system. So, take a few extra minutes to familiarize yourself with these tools—they’re there to protect you!

Ready to turn on Windows Defender? Go ahead, take control of your system’s security, and enjoy a safer computing experience!

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