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How to stop Windows Defender deleting an executable file on Windows 10

Windows Defender is always running and it scans your system whenever it is idle. On average, the anti-virus will scan your system twice a week to make sure nothing malicious is running on it. That doesn’t mean it’s ‘off’ or ‘disabled’ outside those scan periods. Not only does it scan new files on your system, but it also proactively deletes anything that it thinks is malicious. What this means is, if you download an executable file that Windows Defender thinks is malicious, it will delete it before you can even open File Explorer to the file’s download location. Here’s how to stop Windows Defender from deleting an executable file.

A word of caution

Windows Defender flags files that it thinks are dangerous and should not be allowed to run on your system. It is extremely rare that it should get a false positive but it can happen. To that end, you should know that you are taking a huge risk by running an app that Windows Defender has flagged. Do every bit of due diligence before you actually run the app. If it is malicious, it might not be obvious right away and by the time you realize the app has hijacked something, you may not be able to get rid of it.

Allow executable in Windows Defender

All executable files that Windows Defender flags are quarantined and removed from your system. In order to allow a quarantined file to run on your system, you must first open Windows Defender.

Go to Virus and threat protection and click Protection History under ‘Current Threats’. You will see a list of all threats that Windows Defender has blocked. The list doesn’t give much away except the date and time the threat was detected and blocked, and how serious it was. To get more information, you need to click the ‘Severe’ dropdown. At this point, you will need to authenticate with the admin user to proceed.

After authenticating with the admin user, you will see more details about the threat that was blocked. You will see what Windows Defender did to it i.e., quarantined it or removed it. You will also see why it was flagged i.e., what threat was detected, and which file it was that had the threat. To allow the file to run, open the Actions dropdown and select the ‘Allow’ option.

You may have to download the file again and this time, Windows Defender won’t block or delete it automatically. Once again, remember to be very careful when you decide to ignore warnings from Windows Defender.

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