The Windows Security app

Applies to

  • Windows 10
  • Windows 11

This library describes the Windows Security app, and provides information on configuring certain features, including:

In Windows 10, version 1709 and later, the app also shows information from third-party antivirus and firewall apps.

In Windows 10, version 1803, the app has two new areas: Account protection and Device security.

Screenshot of the Windows Security app showing that the device is protected and five icons for each of the features.


The Windows Security app is a client interface on Windows 10, version 1703 and later. It is not the Microsoft Defender Security Center web portal console that is used to review and manage Microsoft Defender for Endpoint.

You can't uninstall the Windows Security app, but you can do one of the following actions:

For more information about each section, options for configuring the sections, and how to hide each of them, see the following articles:

  • Virus & threat protection, which has information and access to antivirus ransomware protection settings and notifications, including Controlled folder access, and sign-in to Microsoft OneDrive.
  • Account protection, which has information and access to sign-in and account protection settings.
  • Firewall & network protection, which has information and access to firewall settings, including Windows Defender Firewall.
  • App & browser control, covering Windows Defender SmartScreen settings and Exploit protection mitigations.
  • Device security, which provides access to built-in device security settings.
  • Device performance & health, which has information about drivers, storage space, and general Windows Update issues.
  • Family options, which include access to parental controls along with tips and information for keeping kids safe online.


If you hide all sections then the app will show a restricted interface, as in the following screenshot:

Windows Security app with all sections hidden by group policy.

Open the Windows Security app

  • Select the icon in the notification area on the taskbar.

    Screenshot of the icon for the Windows Security app on the Windows task bar.

  • Search the Start menu for Windows Security.

    Screenshot of the Start menu showing the results of a search for the Windows Security app, the first option with a large shield symbol is selected.

  • Open an area from Windows Settings.

    Screenshot of Windows Settings showing the different areas available in the Windows Security.


Settings configured with management tools, such as group policy, Microsoft Intune, or Microsoft Configuration Manager, will generally take precedence over the settings in the Windows Security.

How the Windows Security app works with Windows security features


Microsoft Defender Antivirus and the Windows Security app use similarly named services for specific purposes.

The Windows Security app uses the Windows Security Service (SecurityHealthService or Windows Security Health Service), which in turn utilizes the Windows Security Center Service (wscsvc). This service makes sure that the app provides the most up-to-date information about the protection status on the endpoint. This information includes protection offered by third-party antivirus products, Windows Defender Firewall, third-party firewalls, and other security protection.

These services don't affect the state of Microsoft Defender Antivirus. Disabling or modifying these services won't disable Microsoft Defender Antivirus. It will lead to a lowered protection state on the endpoint, even if you're using a third-party antivirus product.

Microsoft Defender Antivirus will be disabled automatically when a third-party antivirus product is installed and kept up to date.

Disabling the Windows Security Center Service won't disable Microsoft Defender Antivirus or Windows Defender Firewall.


If you disable the Windows Security Center Service, or configure its associated group policy settings to prevent it from starting or running, the Windows Security app may display stale or inaccurate information about any antivirus or firewall products you have installed on the device.

It may also prevent Microsoft Defender Antivirus from enabling itself if you have an old or outdated third-party antivirus, or if you uninstall any third-party antivirus products you may have previously installed.

This will significantly lower the protection of your device and could lead to malware infection.

The Windows Security app operates as a separate app or process from each of the individual features, and will display notifications through the Action Center.

It acts as a collector or single place to see the status and perform some configuration for each of the features.

If you disable any of the individual features, it will prevent that feature from reporting its status in the Windows Security app. For example, if you disable a feature through group policy or other management tools, such as Microsoft Configuration Manager. The Windows Security app itself will still run and show status for the other security features.


If you individually disable any of the services, it won't disable the other services or the Windows Security app.

For example, using a third-party antivirus will disable Microsoft Defender Antivirus. However, the Windows Security app will still run, show its icon in the taskbar, and display information about the other features, such as Windows Defender SmartScreen and Windows Defender Firewall.