Enable or disable Windows Defender's cloud and real-time protection

One of the less visible features of Windows 10 is that Windows Defender offers improved security using cloud-based antivirus protection. When enabled, Windows Defender sends information to Microsoft about any problems it finds. This information is then used to gather more information about the problems affecting you and other users of Windows 10. With your help, Microsoft can develop new anti-malware signatures and fixes that will help deal with malware in a more effective manner. Here’s how to enable or disable the cloud-based protection and the real-time protection offered by Windows Defender in Windows 10:

NOTE: The features shared in this article apply only to Windows 10 with Anniversary Update or to Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 14367 or newer. Windows 10 Anniversary Update will be available for free, to all Windows 10 users, as of July 2016.

Step 1. Open the Settings app and go to Windows Defender

The first thing you have to do in order to be able to change the cloud and real-time scanning settings for Windows Defender is to open the Settings app. A fast way to do that is to click or tap on the Settings icon from the Start Menu . If you’d like to know all the ways in which you can launch Settings in Windows 10, read this article: 6 ways to open the Settings app in Windows 10.

Inside the Settings app , click or tap Update & security .

In the menu on the left, click or tap on Windows Defender .

Step 2. Enable or disable real-time and cloud-based protection

Once you’ve reached Windows Defender’s settings, on the right side of the window you’ll find an option called “Real-time protection” and another called “Cloud-based Protection” .

“Real-time protection” is a feature of Windows Defender that “helps find and stop malware from installing or running on your PC” . It’s highly advisable to leave this option turned on, unless you have another antivirus product installed.

The “Cloud-based Protection” is also turned on by default and it gives you “Real-time protection when Windows Defender sends info to Microsoft about potential security threats” . It also states that “this feature works best with Automatic sample submission enabled” which sends samples of suspicious files to Microsoft without prompting you to do so.

If you are highly concerned about your privacy, you may consider disabling these two settings. However, if security is more important to you, then leave both “Cloud-based Protection” and “Automatic sample submission” turned on.

Note that, i f you want to find more details about what information is sent to Microsoft and how it is used, you can always click or tap the Privacy statement links found beneath these settings.


As you can see, enabling the real-time and cloud-based protection features offered by Windows Defender in Windows 10 is really easy. We recommend that you leave both these settings turned on, as they will help Windows Defender protect you better against malware and other threats. If you are looking for more security related tips and tricks, also check the related articles we shared below.