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How to prevent Windows Defender from purging your files

Windows Defender is a free antivirus program that comes pre-installed on the Windows operating system. It’s free and fully integrated into the Windows environment.

For this reason, you can be sure of protection against viruses and malware that may attack the system without having to install any third-party software.

However, such efficacy comes with one small shortcoming. Windows Defender may delete some of your programs and files by mistaking them for malware even if you deliberately installed them.

Why does Windows Defender delete some of your files?

The antivirus is likely to delete files like cracked executable files and unofficial software because it is programmed to purge any foreign elements.

I’m going to show you how to stop Windows Defender from deleting your files. The following are the settings that you’ll need to tweak to solve this vexing problem.

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Turning off Windows Defender

You’ll have to temporarily turn off Windows Defender before undertaking any of the following steps that you’re going to see below.

To turn off Windows Defender go to Start>Settings>Update & Security>Windows Security>Virus & threat protection>Virus & threat protection settings/Manage settings.

Turn off Real-time protection. Now you can move on to the next step of adding your files to an exclusion list.

Adding files to an exclusion list 

This involves excluding files from deletion. To achieve this setting go to Settings, click on Update & security, and then click on Windows Security.

A tab with several options will come up. Go to Virus & protection from these options. Click on Manage settings from the resulting menu.

An exclusion tab will come up where you’ll have the option to select, add, or remove exclusions. Go to Add exclusion and select all files and processes that you want to exclude from being scanned by the Windows Defender antivirus program.

Your files will now be sparred from quarantine or deletion without your explicit permission.

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Restoration of quarantined items 

In the event that Windows Defender already got rid of your files, there’s a chance of restoring them. In the Virus & threat protection menu, tap on the Threat history option.

You’ll then be directed to a list of quarantined threats. From the list, select the files you want to restore by clicking on the Restore button. The file will be restored back to where it was saved on your hard drive.

Remember to add the restored files to the Windows Defender exclusion list to ensure they don’t get removed again.

Deciding whether to stick with Windows Defender

Once you’ve restored and excluded the files you want to protect, you can follow the steps in the first section and turn on Real-time protection once again.

Windows Defender works quite well as an antivirus. For this reason, you don’t have to install any other antivirus.

The advantage of sticking with Windows Defender is that you’ll spare extra computer resources. If you decide to use any other antivirus software, you can turn Windows Defender altogether. Most won’t unexpectedly delete any of your files.

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Windows Defender is quite effective if you keep it up-to-date. It is also lightweight and doesn’t take up much space and memory like other third-party software programs.

The only challenge when using Windows Defender comes when you want to store any form of unofficial .exe files or crack files on your computer.

Before transferring or downloading such files, ensure you turn of Windows Defender and tweak the settings mentioned above. Turn it back on once you’ve performed these tweaks to continue enjoying real-time protection.

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Any questions? Leave them in the comments section below?


  • Brian Abuga is the Founder and Editor at He's a full-time blogger who spends most of his free time playing Clash of Clans.

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