Add exceptions to Windows Defender

Why add exceptions to the antivirus

Microsoft has improved in recent years the interface of Windows Defender. It has made it have more visible options and we can modify some aspects. Always, yes, maintaining the objective of safety. But there are times when we need to add exceptions so that a file is ignored.

Why is this happening? Mainly because of what is known as false positive. Basically it is when the antivirus warns that there is a virus or some security problem, but in reality it is not. We know that the file that we are downloading or that we want to install is safe, but for Windows Defender it is a threat.

This is something that can happen with any antivirus and Windows Defender is no exception. For example, when trying to download a file from Chrome or Firefox, it may block it and warn us that it is potentially dangerous. We know it’s not, but there’s no way to open or install it.

To be able to open those files we have a couple of options. One of them is disable antivirus. But of course, this is not the most advisable since a real threat could enter. The other option, the one we are going to explain, consists of create an exception in Windows Defender so that it ignores a file or folder.

Steps to create an exception in Windows 10

First of all, we are going to explain how we can create this exception in Windows 10. It is a simple process. To do this we have to go to Start, we enter Settings, we go to Update and security and there we click on Windows Security and enter Protection against viruses and threats.

When we are at this point, we must access Antivirus and threat protection settings and click Manage settings. This will take us to a new window with different options. The one that interests us is the Exclusions and we will have to click on Add or remove exclusions.

Windows Defender - Exclusions

There we will have to choose if we want to apply that exception to a specific file or to an entire folder. The latter is useful if we have several files saved and we do not want the antivirus to block it. We can also apply a rule for a system process, as this could also be blocked by antivirus.

Windows Defender - Add exclusions

We simply have to apply the type of exception we want and that’s it. From then on, Windows Defender will start ignoring any threats that may be in that rule. Yes, we will have to be very clear about what we are adding. That is, it would be a mistake to add the downloads folder or drive C to the exceptions. There we could have files that are really a virus.

How to avoid false positives in Windows 11

In Windows 11, the latest version of Microsoft’s operating system, we will also be able to configure exceptions so that it does not detect false threats and we have problems downloading a file or installing any program. Windows Defender also works very well there and is an essential tool for security, but sometimes false positives appear.

The first thing we have to do is go to Start, there we click on Settings, go to Privacy and security and access windows security, which appears among the options that it will show us on the right. There we can access the different sections such as antivirus protection, firewall, etc.

Security and privacy in Windows 11

Once here, we have to click on Protection against viruses and threats. Different options will appear there, but the one that interests us is the one for Antivirus configuration and protection against threats. You have to click on Manage settings, which appears below.

Configure antivirus in Windows 11

This will take us to a new window. Options similar to those we saw in Windows 10 will appear. You have to look for Exclusions. We will see that they inform us that Windows Defender will not exploit elements that we have added as an exclusion. Basically it will ignore any file or folder that we put, as if there was no threat.

It will probably show you a message to allow the app to make changes to your computer. You just have to accept. It is one more security measure that the operating system has for when we make a sensitive change, such as accessing the antivirus security.

Add exclusions in Windows 11

When we are inside, a button will appear to add exclusion. You just have to click there and choose file, folder or process. A new window will open with the Windows explorer to go to the corresponding path. We mark the file and click OK. From that moment Windows 11 will not consider that file or folder to consider it a threat.


In short, in Windows it is very simple avoid false positives with Microsoft antivirus. We just have to create exceptions, either in Windows 10 or Windows 11, of those files or folders that interest us. From that moment on, we will be able to download that problematic file or install that program that was detected as a security threat.

However, we must be careful with what we mention. We must be 100% sure that the file that we want to exclude from the antivirus is really reliable. For example, we should never apply it to a document that we have downloaded from a source that we do not know or that has reached us by email without knowing the sender. In those cases, it is very likely that we are dealing with a real virus.

Windows Defender is not the only antivirus that detects false positives, far from it. We could find ourselves with this same situation in any other security program that we have installed, such as Avast or Bitdefender. If this happens to you with another application, you can also make configuration changes to create exceptions. Of course, the process will be different and will change depending on the case.

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