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5 Steps On How To Download A File That Defender Is Blocking – Discover Here

5 Min. Read

In this guide, we will walk through the five different steps that you can take to download a file that Defender is blocking.

As a security software, Microsoft Defender is designed to protect your computer from potential threats. It filters through files to identify malware, spyware, and other malicious data. Since Microsoft Defender is a proactive solution it often takes the first step to block files that it deems potential threats.

Of course, like all software, Microsoft Defender isn’t foolproof, and on occasion, the system may block files that you know are safe. If you are trying to download a file and receive a warning that it is blocked by Microsoft Defender, there are several steps you can take to resolve the issue.

How To Download A File That Defender Is Blocking

Please note that disabling or excluding Microsoft Defender can make your computer more vulnerable to malware and other threats. So, use the following options with caution and only when you are sure that the file you are downloading is safe.

Step 1: Check the File’s Reputation

If Microsoft Defender is blocking your download attempts you should start by considering the file’s reputation. It’s an easy way to check whether a file is from a trusted source and safe to download using an online tool.

You can use trusted resources such as VirusTotal to scan the file and check its reputation. Simply upload the file to the website and run the sequence to test it. This will run the content of the file through multiple antivirus engines and determine whether it is safe.

Check File Reputation by VirusTotal
Check File Reputation by VirusTotal

VirusTotal has developed its own file reputation system. Whenever you submit a file or URL, you’ll see a chart that shows the reputation of the file or URL and ranges from -100 (fully malicious reputation) to 100 (fully harmless reputation).

VirusTotal File Reputation Report
VirusTotal File Reputation Report

The reputation of each file or URL is built by (among other factors) VirusTotal Community user votes, which are recorded by clicking either the malicious or harmless icon below the reputation chart.

Step 2: Disable Microsoft Defender Temporarily

Once you are certain that the file you are trying to download is safe, you can temporarily disable Microsoft Defender and start the download process as described below:

1) Open the Windows Security app by clicking on the “Windows Security” icon in the system tray.
2) You can also search for “Windows Security” in the Windows search bar.
3) Click on “Virus & Threat Protection” and then click on “Manage Settings“.
4) Under “Virus & Threat Protection Settings“, turn off “Real-Time Protection“.

Windows Security - Virus & Threat Protection
Windows Security – Virus & Threat Protection

Taking these steps will bring you one step closer to being able to download your files. However, keep in mind that disabling Microsoft Defender increases cyber threats. If you choose to disable Microsoft Defender even temporarily you do so at your own risk.

Step 3: Whitelist the File in Microsoft Defender

Temporarily deactivating Microsoft Defender is a great one-time solution. However, if these are repeated warnings because of a certain file type, folder, or process that your security system repeatedly flags as malware there are other steps you can take.

One method to download files from a trusted source and circumvent the Microsoft Defender protection barriers is by adding the file to the exclusions list. Doing this allows you to download your files without Windows Security alerting you or blocking the program.

The method you follow to shut down the security system and whitelist the file may vary slightly depending on which version of Windows you have.

Add the file that you want to exclude from Microsoft Defender
Add the file that you want to exclude from Microsoft Defender

Add an Exclusion File in Windows 10

For Windows 10 you can:

  • Go to “Start” and then “Settings”.
  • Click on “Update & Security” and then “Windows Security”.
  • Open the Windows Security app.
  • Find “Virus & Threat Protection” and then select “Manage Settings”.
  • Under “Virus & Threat Protection Settings,” click on “Add or remove exclusions”.
  • In the “Exclusions” section, choose “Add an exclusion” and go to “File”.
  • Choose the file in question, then select it for opening.
  • The file will be placed on the list of trusted files in Microsoft Defender.
Windows Security Exclusions
Windows Security Exclusions

Add an Exclusion File in Windows 11

For Windows 11 you can:

  • Go to “Start” and then “Settings”.
  • Look for “Privacy & Security”.
  • Click on “Virus & Threat Protection” and then click on “Manage Settings”.
  • Under “Virus & Threat Protection Settings,” click on “Add or remove exclusions”.
  • In the “Exclusions” section, choose “Add an exclusion” and go to “File”.
  • Choose the file in question, then select it for downloading.
  • The file will be placed on the list of trusted files in Microsoft Defender.

Step 4: Download the File from a Different Source

If you’ve tried steps 2 and 3 above but still can’t download the file there is one more method you can try. Download the file from a different source and move past the issue of Microsoft Defender security protocols.

This method works if the reason for the downloading crisis was a compromised file. It is also helpful in cases when the original source is an untrusted source but the contents of the file are safe to access.

Using alternate methods can help access your data without upsetting your Microsoft Defender security solution. However, keep in mind that each of these options comes with its fair share of risks. If you’re overriding Microsoft Defender’s settings to retrieve the data from a specific file or folder you may be exposing your system to malware or cyber threats.

Step 5: Download Another Security Software

In some cases, Microsoft Defender may simply be incompatible with the file, file type, or data source your organization uses. If this is the case then Microsoft Defender is not the best security solution for your business. Instead, you should pursue other security software that can provide the same level of security without creating a nuisance. Learn more about Microsoft Defender for Endpoint (MDE) for your business.

Installing another security software like Singularity Platform by SentinelOne or Trend Micro XDR and downloading the file with that software may resolve the issue. This only works if the file is being blocked by Microsoft Defender due to a software compatibility issue.

See Also: How To Install Microsoft Defender in 3 Simple Steps.

Final Thoughts

Overall, there are several methods you can try to access data that is being blocked by Microsoft Defender. No matter which option you pick the first step is to check the file’s reputation and ensure there are no malware or cyber threats involved.

Next, you can temporarily disable Microsoft Defender if you want to download a single file. Alternatively, you can whitelist the file in Microsoft Defender. This works best when there is a repeat issue because of a file type or source. Another potential solution is to download the file from a different source. Finally, you can try downloading the file with another security software.

Always be cautious when downloading files from the internet no matter which solution you choose. When you’re overriding your security solution’s recommendation to download a file there are always some risks involved. However, if you check the file’s reputation and follow all the right steps you can protect your computer from potential threats and access your data.

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Thank you for reading my blog.

If you have any questions or feedback, please leave a comment.

-Charbel Nemnom-

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About the Author
Charbel Nemnom
Charbel Nemnom is a Senior Cloud Architect, Swiss Certified ICT Security Expert, Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP), Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP), and Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT). He has over 20 years of broad IT experience serving on and guiding technical teams to optimize the performance of mission-critical enterprise systems with extensive practical knowledge of complex systems build, network design, business continuity, and cloud security.

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