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How To Install Microsoft Defender In 3 Simple Steps

7 Min. Read

Installing Microsoft Defender on your device is one of the best ways to keep destructive viruses at bay. And here’s how you can do it in only three simple steps!

Viruses are the last thing you want to be on your device—they can delete important programs, allow access to sensitive information, manipulate and delete files, reformat the hard drive, flood a network with traffic, and cause other annoying problems to your device.

And since prevention is better than cure, having an antivirus program on your device is crucial to keep viruses off your device. One of the best and most reliable software to do so is Microsoft Defender, which can accurately identify legitimate attack patterns and allow secure software to pass simultaneously.

Fortunately, Microsoft Defender makes it easy for anyone to enjoy its useful security features. So keep reading as we cover everything you need to know about Microsoft Defender—how to install Microsoft Defender and reinstall it on all types of devices, how to check if it’s active on your device, how to fix common problems that you may have while installing and running it, and more.

With that said, let’s get down to business!

About Microsoft Defender

Before we get into the installation process, it makes sense to let you know more about Microsoft Defender itself…

About Microsoft Defender
About Microsoft Defender

Microsoft Defender, also known as Windows Defender, is a free anti-malware tool from Microsoft that is included in Windows 8, 10, and 11. It was first released for Windows XP as a downloadable free anti-spyware program and was shipped with Windows 7 and Windows Vista. And now, Microsoft Defender is solely an antivirus program that replaces Microsoft Security Essentials.

Windows Defender offers four scan modes: full scan, custom scan, offline scan, and quick scan. You can run Microsoft Defender on Windows 10 and 11 and turn off or on the real-time protection, change the automatic scanning settings, disable or enable firewall and network protection, and change the advanced protection settings.

One of the best things about this effective antivirus program is that it is free to use, does not require any extra installation, and is routinely updated.

Related: What is Microsoft Defender for Cloud Apps?

Before Anything Else

Before proceeding to install Microsoft Defender, there are a few things you need to do:

  • Ensure that you have a stable internet connection.
  • Make sure that you have enough free space on your hard drive.
  • Check for updates to your operating system and install them if necessary.
  • Choose the location where you want to install Microsoft Defender.

How To Install Microsoft Defender

Fortunately, Microsoft makes installing Windows Defender a breeze. Follow the three simple steps below to install it on your device:

Install Microsoft Defender
Install Microsoft Defender

1) Open

2) Select Get in Store App. In the Microsoft Store, select Install.

3) After installing Microsoft Defender, sign in with your personal Microsoft account (such as,, or associated with your Microsoft 365 subscription.

Sign in with your Microsoft account
Sign in with your Microsoft account

Once installed, Microsoft Defender will automatically scan your computer for malware and remove any threats it finds

Tip: Microsoft encourages to install on up to five devices per person.

How To Install Microsoft Defender Definitions

You can easily install the Microsoft Defender definitions and signature updates using the control panel by following these steps:

1) Press the ‘Win key + R‘ ->

2) Type Control Panel

3) Select OK

4) Select System and Security from the control panel

5) Click on Administrative Tools

6) Choose Task Scheduler

7) Choose to Create Basic Task from the Task Scheduler.

8) After opening Create Basic Task Wizard, give a name and description, then select Next.

9) Select how often you want this task to run from the options listed, then select Next.

10) Set the Start and End time of this task, then select Next.

11) Click on Start a program.

12) In the Program/script box, write “C:\Program Files\Windows Defender\MpCmdRun.exe“.

"C:\Program Files\Windows Defender\MpCmdRun.exe"

13) In the Add arguments (optional) box, add the parameter -SignatureUpdate as shown in the figure below.

How To Install Microsoft Defender Definitions
How To Install Microsoft Defender Definitions

14) After entering the details and choosing all the required options, select Finish.

Related: How to Use Microsoft 365 Defender? Everything You Should Know!

Download Microsoft Defender from Google Play Store for Android

Follow the three simple steps below to install and download Microsoft Defender on any Android device:

1) Open the Play Store on your device.

2) Look for Microsoft Defender.

3) Download and install Microsoft Defender by tapping the Install button.

How To Check If Windows Defender Is Active

After installing, some users want to ensure that Microsoft Defender is active on their computers. Follow these four simple steps to do so:

1) Click on Update and Security.

2) Click on Windows Security.

3) Go to Virus & threat protection.

4) You can enable Virus & threat protection if it is not enabled.

How To Fix Windows Defender Can’t Start on Windows 10 and 11

Fix Windows Defender Can’t Start
Fix Windows Defender Can’t Start

If Windows Defender doesn’t open on your computer, there are nine different methods you can follow to fix the problem:

  • Method 1: Update Windows systems.
  • Method 2: Run SFC scan. Performing a system scan can help repair corrupted system files on your computer.
  • Method 3: Restart your device and open Microsoft Defender again.
  • Method 4: Uninstall and reinstall Windows Defender.
  • Method 5: Reset the Windows Defender app.
  • Method 6: Try installing third-party antivirus software.
  • Method 7: Try disabling third-party antivirus software on your device that may be conflicted with the Microsoft Defender antivirus software.
  • Method 8: Try starting Windows in Safe Mode.
  • Method 9: If all else fails, reinstall your Windows OS. It’s highly recommended that you back up the Windows system and any important data before reinstalling your Windows OS.

Sharing Security Status with Family Organizers

The final step is to decide whether or not you want to share your security status with your family organizers if you have a Microsoft 365 Family subscription. The person who created the Microsoft 365 Family subscription is the family organizer, and every family member of that person has chosen to be a family organizer.

Letting the family organizers know about your security status makes it easier for them to keep your devices and personal information secure.

Note: This does not share any other information about your device or files; it only shares security and identity threat monitoring data from Defender.

Visit Protect the whole family with Microsoft Defender for more information about sharing security status with family organizers.


There you have it. This was pretty much everything you need to know to enjoy the protection of Microsoft Defender!

Microsoft Defender for Endpoint is an enterprise endpoint security platform that scales your security resources, empowers your enterprise to stop attacks quickly, and evolves your defenses by delivering endpoint security across Windows, Android, iOS, macOS, Linux, and network devices.

Bear in mind, though, that Microsoft Defender is NOT the perfect anti-malware program—it doesn’t have accountability if your device is infected by malware, it lacks an integrated dashboard for all devices, it has limited features for large-scale use, and it may slow down installation of frequently-used applications.

Nevertheless, it’s still a great, easy-to-use software that helps protect your device and important data against viruses, trojans, ransomware, and other malware.

See Also: Add Custom Recommendations in Microsoft Defender for Cloud


Is Windows Defender already installed on Windows 10/11?

The Windows Defender app is part of Windows Security in Windows 10, version 1703, and later. The new app, which is installed by default by Windows 10, version 1703, features all settings of Windows Defender and main Windows Settings.

In fact, Windows Defender has been renamed to Windows Security in Windows 10 and 11. So if you can’t find Windows Defender on your PC, Microsoft renamed it to Windows Security. Both are the same, but Windows Security is just the suite.

Does Microsoft Defender protect against viruses?

Yes, it does. Microsoft Defender is a malware-detecting program that can help protect your computer against viruses and other malware. It also comes with Windows and receives regular updates via Windows Update.

Does Windows Defender automatically scan?

Yes, Windows Defender Antivirus automatically scans your device to provide the protection you need while you are not using your device to prevent interference with your work.

How do I enable Windows Defender again?

Enabling (bringing back) Windows Defender is easy; all you have to do is to follow these seven simple steps:

1) Click on Start.

2) Head to Settings.

3) Choose Update and Security.

4) Click on Windows Security.

5) Select Virus & threat protection.

6) Click on Manage settings.

7) Switch the Real-time protection setting to On/Off and confirm by choosing Yes.

Can I uninstall Windows Defender and reinstall it?

Microsoft Defender is not installed on computers like normal programs, meaning it cannot be installed like typical software.

Does Windows 10/11 have a built-in antivirus?

Microsoft has provided anti-malware protection for many years, but the most recent version offers strong protection against viruses. Microsoft Defender is a built-in program in Windows 10 and Windows 11 that you can trust to keep viruses and malware at bay.

How do I reset Windows Defender?

Launch PowerShell as administrator and reset the Windows Security app by running the following command if Windows Security App can’t open, or if Windows says you need a new app to open the Microsoft Defender link.

Get-AppxPackage Microsoft.SecHealthUI -AllUsers | Reset-AppxPackage

Don’t forget to install all the AppX, delete third-party security software, and install the recent updates.

Close PowerShell and retry.

Can Windows Defender remove Trojan?

Naturally, the Microsoft Defender Offline scan can efficiently detect and get rid of viruses and malware. However, there are some cases where Windows Defender doesn’t live up to your expectations since it cannot handle all types of trojans, malware, viruses, and other security threats.

Why was my Windows Defender turned off?

If your Microsoft Defender is turned off, you first want to check for Malware. This is because Malware may turn off the program and keep it, even if you do everything to re-enable it.

We recommend Installing and running any other malware detector on your device and see if you can detect and remove the infection.

Is it possible to get Windows Defender for iOS?

Yes, it is possible to get Microsoft Defender for iOS.

Microsoft Intune (formerly called Microsoft Endpoint Manager, or MEM) can deploy Microsoft Defender for Endpoint on iOS, and both unsupervised and supervised devices are supported.

Does Defender for Endpoint include antivirus?

Yes, it does. Microsoft Defender for Endpoint (MDE) offers several useful features, such as Microsoft Defender Antivirus, Automated Investigation and Remediation (AIR), Attack surface reduction (ASR), and Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR).

Microsoft Defender for Endpoint is available in two plans, Defender for Endpoint Plan 1 and Plan 2 and requires a paid subscription.

How do I install Microsoft Defender for Endpoint?

You can manually deploy Microsoft Defender for Endpoint on any supported operating system.

The following steps describe how to deploy Microsoft Defender for Endpoint on macOS:

Manual deployment for Microsoft Defender for Endpoint
Manual deployment for Microsoft Defender for Endpoint

1) Go to Microsoft 365 Defender portal, head to Settings > Endpoints > Device management > Onboarding.

2) Set the Deployment method to the Local script and operating system to macOS.

3) Click on the Download installation package.

4) Save the package as “wdav.pkg” to a local directory.

5) Finally, select the Download onboarding package and save it as to the same local directory.

How many devices can Microsoft Defender Endpoint cover?

Microsoft offers Windows Defender for Endpoint licensing per user per month. For that specific user, this licensing provides coverage for five concurrent devices.

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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