How to Turn Off an Antivirus

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Antivirus software is necessary to help keep a computer safe from threats.

An antivirus program is designed to protect a computer from threats that can destroy software programs and steal computer information. Examples of these threats are viruses, keyloggers, spyware and malicious software (malware). It is vital to have an antivirus program running at all times. However, there are times when it's necessary to turn off an antivirus program temporarily in order to perform specific tasks. One example is when you have to install another program or use specialized fix tools. The antivirus program should be turned back on as soon as possible.

Turn Off Using Antivirus Icon

Step 1

Determine what type of antivirus program the computer uses. The process to disable the program may vary based on the type of antivirus program.

Step 2

Inspect the taskbar of the computer, at the bottom of the screen. Locate the system tray, on the far right of the taskbar. The system tray will show the active programs on the computer, including icon for the the antivirus program.

Step 3

Right-click the antivirus icon. For some antivirus programs, you have to double-click the icon. This should open the antivirus program menu. Click the "Disable" or "Stop protection" option to stop the program from running.

Antivirus Icon Not on System Tray

Step 1

Click the "Start" menu at the far left of the taskbar if the antivirus program icon is not on the system tray. Locate the antivirus program on the list of programs on the Start menu. If it is not there, click "Search" on the Start menu.

Step 2

Type the name of the antivirus software in the Search box. Click the antivirus program to open the menu.

Step 3

Click the "Disable" or "Stop protection" option.

Check Antivirus Settings

Step 1

Click "Start" menu, then click "Control Panel" to verify the status of the antivirus software.

Step 2

Find and click "Security Center" or "Action Center" (the name may vary).

Step 3

Select the "Security" or "Virus protection" option. The antivirus protection status will appear. This will show if the antivirus program is active or disabled. If the antivirus program is active, right-click the antivirus icon on the taskbar. Select the "Disable" or "Stop activation" option on the antivirus program menu.


Antivirus programs come with a "Help" feature that typically can be accessed from the program's main menu.

Because new computer threats continually emerge, it is highly recommended that users regularly update the antivirus program.


If you disable the antivirus program to install software, enable it as soon as you finish the installation. When the antivirus software is disabled, a computer is vulnerable to viruses and other threats.

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