Turn On or Off Windows Defender Application Guard in Windows 10

If you work in an office environment or are currently at school, you likely use Windows Defender Application Guard. Designed to protect your security, it generally shouldn’t be trifled with, but you may want to turn it on or off on your personal PC.

What is Windows Defender Application Guard

Windows Defender Application Guard and its enforcer, Windows Defender Application Control, are tools to keep employees productive and prevent attacks. Under the system, administrators can prevent regular access to anything other than manually selected work-related sites.

Instead, Windows Defender Application Guard uses a sandbox. When a user enters an untrusted site through Microsoft Edge or Internet Explorer, it’s opened in a Hyper-V container that’s separate from the current session.

By doing so, it ensures that any damage or malware that infects the virtual machine won’t spread to the rest of the system. For many enterprises, this much preferred to solutions like Windows Defender Application Control, which shuts off access to sites and apps entirely.

Running things in a sandbox can get frustrating, so we’re going to show you how to turn it off and on at will. However, bear in mind that if you’re on Windows 10 Enterprise Build 16323 or higher, the application guard has a feature that enables data persistence, and this can mitigate much of the annoyance.

Windows 10 Pro users can also make use of Application Guard, as can Windows 10 Education. Windows 10 Home users are unfortunately out of luck.

As an alternative to Windows Defender Application Guard, you can also use the Windows 10 Sandbox Feature to use a fully shielded and unchangeable temporary Windows 10-system inside a virtual machine window.

How to Turn Windows Defender Application Guard On or Off via Windows Features

Perhaps the fastest way to disable or enable Windows Defender application guard is through the Windows Features menu, which many will already be farmilier with.

  1. Open Windows features


    Press the “Windows” key and search for “features”, clicking the result that says “Turn Windows Features on or Off”.

    Windows 10 - Search - Features

  2. Tick or Untick the Microsoft Defender Application Guard feature


    You may have to scroll down the list a little way to find it. Once you’re done, click “OK” and restart your PC.

    Windows 10 - Turn Windows Features on or off

How to Turn Windows Defender Application Guard On or Off via Windows Security

This method is also very user-friendly if the above doesn’t work alone.

  1. Open Windows Security


    Press “Start” and search for “Windows Security”, then click the top result.

    Windows 10 - Search - Windows Security

  2. Click “App & browser control”


    Windows 10 - Windows Security

  3. Click “Install Microsoft Defender Application Guard”


    This can be found under the “Isolated browsing heading”. Alternatively, click “Uninstall” to get rid of it.

    Windows 10 - Windows Security - App & Browser Control

  4. Enable/disable the Windows Feature


    Now that you’ve installed it via Windows Security, the feature should no longer be greyed out in Windows Features. Type “Features” in the Start menu to open the list, then tick “Microsoft Defender Application Guard” and Press “OK”. Restart your PC.

How to Enable Windows 10 Application Guard via PowerShell

If you prefer the command line, you can also enable application guard for Edge via PowerShell or Command Prompt. Let’s cover PowerShell first:

  1. Open an elevated PowerShell


    Press “Windows + X” and click “Windows PowerShell (Administrator)”.

    Windows 10 - Open PowerShell as Admin

  2. Turn Application Guard on or off via the Command line


    To turn the feature on, type the following and press “Enter”.

    Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -FeatureName "Windows-Defender-ApplicationGuard" -Online

    Or to turn it off, enter the following:

    Disable-WindowsOptionalFeature -FeatureName "Windows-Defender-ApplicationGuard" -Online

    When PowerShell asks if you want to restart the computer, type “Y” and press “Enter”

    Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -FeatureName "Windows-Defender-ApplicationGuard" -Online

How to Turn Windows Defender Application Guard for Microsoft Edge On or Off via Command Prompt

If you prefer command prompt, you can also use that and DISM to turn the feature on or off.

  1. Open Command Prompt as an admin


    Press “Windows” and type “cmd”, then right-click the top result and choose “Run as admin”.

    Windows 10 - Open CMD

  2. Run the command to turn application guard on or off


    To turn the feautre on, enter:

    Dism /online /Enable-Feature /FeatureName:"Windows-Defender-ApplicationGuard"

    To turn it off, enter:

    Dism /online /Disable-Feature /FeatureName:"Windows-Defender-ApplicationGuard"

    Restart your PC to apply the changes.

    Windows 10 - cmd admin - enable Windows Defender Application Guard

How to Open a Windows 10 Application Guard Tab in Microsoft Edge

Though Application Guard should kick in automatically for websites not on your whitelist, you can also open a specific Application Guard tab if you know what you’re about to do may be unsafe.

Open a new Application Guard window

In Microsoft Edge, click the three dots in the top-left corner, then press “New Application Guard Window”. You’re good to go.

Windows 10 - Microsoft Edge - New Application Guard Window

If you enjoyed this tutorial about increasing your Windows security, consider reading our guide on how to configure the Windows Maintenance schedule and enable BitLocker.