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How to turn off Avast Antivirus

Some software requires you to disable your antivirus during installation. Here are two ways to do that for both the free and paid versions of Avast.

Like all full antivirus suites with real-time scanning, both the free and paid-for editions of Avast take over from Windows Defender in protecting your PC and monitoring for malware.

Sometimes you’ll want to disable it entirely for a few minutes to follow the installation requirements of another piece of legitimate software that needs to modify your registry, Windows services, or other tasks that may trigger behavioural threat detection in your antivirus.

You may also wish to do this so you can run software that you know to be safe, but which Avast might class as potentially unwanted and quarantine. However, I strongly advise against disabling your antivirus to run a potentially unwanted program unless you’re a developer or a software professional working with trusted – or at least known – material, ideally on an air-gapped system

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What we used

  • Any Windows 10 or 11 computer with Avast installed

The Short version

  1. Open Avast’s right-click notification area menu
  2. Select how long you want to disable shields for
  3. Confirm that you wish to disable all shields
  4. Re-enable Avast’s shields
  1. Step
    1

    Open Avast’s right-click notification area menu

    Click on the ^ arrow in Windows’ notification area at the bottom right of the screen, then right-click on Avast’s icon to open a menu. From here, click on “Avast shields control.”Avast's right-click notification area menu

  2. Step
    2

    Select how long you want to disable shields for

    A sub-menu will ask if you wish to disable shields for 10 minutes, an hour, until the next reboot, or permanently (until you manually re-enable them). I recommend avoiding the last one, as it’s easy to forget that you’ve disabled your AV. I’ll opt for 10 minutes in this example.Avast notification area menu - the option of disabling shields for 10 minutes is highlghted

  3. Step
    3

    Confirm that you wish to disable all shields

    A pop-up will appear asking if you want to do this. Click the OK, STOP button. Windows pop-ups just above the notification area will invite you to turn on virus protection, as you currently don’t have any.Avast disable shield confirmation

  4. Step
    4

    Re-enable Avast’s shields

    When you’ve finished the operation that required you to shut down Avast’s malware defenses, re-open Avast’s notification area right-click menu, go to Avast shields control and click “Enable all shields”.Enable shields option on Avast's notification area icon

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Troubleshooting

Are there any other ways to do this?

You can also disable Avast’s shields through the main Avast client’s Settings menu and, on a more granular basis, via the Core Shields options in its Protection tab.

Why would I need to disable this software?

On Windows 10 and Windows 11, it’s rare to encounter software that really does need you to disable your antivirus, so unless there’s very specific reasoning as to why this is necessary, or a particularly dire warning, I would first attempt installation without disabling your AV.

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