How to get Windows Defender antivirus to protect your PC


If you’ve recently bought a new PC or are running the latest Windows operating system, there’s a good chance you’ve got a trial version of an antivirus program such as McAfee, Norton or Trend Micro preloaded on it.

The thing about free antivirus software is that when it’s about to expire or has recently, you get bombarded with endless pop-ups that convey a mix of urgency and dread.

Are you paying for antivirus protection? Windows Defender comes preloaded and FREE

While we all need strong antivirus programs to help our computers run safety and securely, what many Microsoft users may not know is that their computers are still protected.

Your PC comes with its own antivirus program called Defender. The thing is, McAfee and those other trial antivirus programs suppress Defender and keep it in the background. The effect is that you get all those virus alerts that say the sky is falling, when really, all you need to do is shut your trial antivirus program down so Defender can do its job.

The following steps for Windows 10 are not only going to get Defender working for you, but will also create a shortcut on your desktop. This process and the accompanying screenshots were shared with me by IT professional, Milton Carroll, owner of General Systems Consulting. So, hat tip to him!

Here’s how to get Defender working on your PC

The first thing you want to do is right-click on your screen and select Personalize.

When you do that a vertical menu will pop up. Look down a ways and click on Themes.

Next, select Themed Backgrounds from the theme menu.


When the pop-up appears, make sure you scroll down to your Desktop Icon Settings and have the Computer, User’s Files, Recycle Bin and Control Panel all selected. When you click Apply and OK, these icons should all be on your desktop.

Go to your Control Panel (it should now be on your Desktop, or you can type into the search bar at the bottom on your screen and it will come up) and click Uninstall a Program under Programs.

To uninstall the McAfee antivirus software, or any program, simply click it or highlight it and click Uninstall / Change. Once you do that, the computer will process your command.

Once you’ve uninstalled the program (it may tell you to restart your computer or it may not) you’re ready to put Windows Defender on your desktop.

Go back to your desktop and click on This PC, which may not be in the same spot it is on this screenshot below.


After you click on This PC, a screen will pop open. Inside it, you will find the Windows (C:) drive, which is where your operating system lives.

Next, scroll down until you seen Program Files and click on it.

Scroll down until you see a file called Windows Defender. Click it.

Right-click on the file called MSASCui (it has a blue shield icon) to create a Desktop Shortcut. This will send Windows Defender to your Desktop for easy access.

When you open Windows Defender, this is what it looks like. Here you can see whether your firewall is up, any threats that have been detected and the general health of your device.


You now have Windows Defender not only activated and protecting you, but you have a Desktop Shortcut for accessibility. As an added step, you can right-click on MSASCui, (which stands for Microsoft Anti Spyware Command Line User Interface) and rename it Windows Defender.

Now that you’ve taken care of your PC, here’s how to make sure your router is protected.

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