Windows Defender runs in the background to keep your system safe from malicious apps and processes. It will routinely give you alerts to let you know it ran a scan and found nothing. It also tells you when it’s found a potential threat though sometimes, it does identify the wrong file as malicious. This tends to happen with anti-virus apps and services. VirusTotal will sometimes get a false positive and even Chrome will incorrectly block certain files. Sometimes Windows Defender will flag a safe file as malicious. In that case, you can exclude a file from Windows Defender.
SPOILER ALERT: Scroll down and watch the video tutorial at the end of this article.
A Word Of Caution
While it is entirely possible that Windows Defender is flagging the wrong file, we should caution you nevertheless on adding the file as an exception. If the file is an app EXE and it’s suddenly being flagged as malicious after being updated, it might actually have a problem. Sometimes, in rare cases, something malicious ends up becoming part of an otherwise safe app when it’s updated so you should try and scan the app with a different anti-virus.
If you’ve downloaded an app from an unreliable source, it may be worth getting a second opinion on it. Sometimes apps that are otherwise safe are bundled with malicious code and made available for download on online repositories. Make sure you get the file from a reliable source.
Exclude A File From Windows Defender
You can exclude a file, folder, process, or a certain type of file from Windows Defender. You will need administrative rights to add an exception to Windows Defender.
Open Windows Defender and click the ‘Settings’ button on the left column at the bottom.
On the Settings screen, scroll down to the Virus & threat protection notifications section, click the Virus & threat protection settings option.
Scroll down to the Exclusions section and click ‘Add or remove exclusions’.
On the Exclusions screen, click the ‘Add an exclusion’ button and select what you want to exclude from being scanned by Windows Defender.
It’s at this point you will need to authenticate with the admin username and password to allow the exclusion to be added. This is also where you can remove any exclusions that you’ve added and that too will require administrative rights.
Normally, these permissions are never reset but if you happen to update an app file that you added to the excluded files list, you might want to check and make sure that it hasn’t been removed. You should also know that this is specific to files. If you exclude a file, delete it later, and download a copy of it, it will not automatically be excluded from Windows Defender.
If Windows Defender is giving you momentary problems e.g., it won’t let you install a file, you should try disabling it for a while instead of adding a file exception.