Do you know what is the Windows Defender exclusions? Do you have any idea how to exclude a folder from Windows Defender Windows 11/10? What if Windows Defender exclusions not working? Read this post given by MiniTool to get the answers.

A Brief Introduction to Windows Defender Exclusions

Microsoft Defender Antivirus protects your Windows device and data from viruses, ransomware, Trojans, and other malware by scanning files and fixing threats. For example, you can make Windows Defender automatically scan your USB drive.

To speed up the file scanning process, you can add trusted files to the Windows Defender exclusion list to prevent Windows Defender from scanning it.


Note: Only add files that you know are safe for exclusions. Adding exclusions for unsafe programs can put your system and data at higher risk.

However, some users reported that they are encountering the problem of “Windows Defender exclusions not working”. How to fix this issue? Here we list a couple of useful ways.

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How to Fix Windows Defender Exclusions Not Working Windows 11/10

Fix 1. Restart the Microsoft Defender Antivirus Service

Sometimes temporary glitches result in the Windows Defender exclusions not working matter. In this case, you can try to restart the Microsoft Defender Antivirus Service to deal with these glitches.

Step 1. Type services in the Windows search box, and then click the Services feature from the best match result.  

Step 2. In the new window, scroll down to find and double-click Microsoft Defender Antivirus Service. After that, click the Stop button then Start.


Tip: If the Stop and Start buttons are grayed out, you do not need to take any action on the Microsoft Defender Antivirus Service. You can turn to other methods below.

Fix 2. Re-Add the Windows Defender Exclusions

When you change the file path after adding the file exclusion list in Windows Defender, Windows Defender may not be able to locate the file path. In this situation, you can try to re-add the target file or folder to the Microsoft antivirus exclusions by referring to this guide: Something You Should Know on Windows Defender Exclusions.

Fix 3. Check Windows Registry Values

Windows Defender exclusions also do not work when the Windows registry value is configured incorrectly. Now you can follow the steps below to rule out this reason.


Note: For your data and system security, it is strongly recommended to back up the registry in case of any accidents.

Step 1. Press Windows + R key combinations to open the run window.

Step 2. Type regedit and press Enter. You need to select the Yes button in the UAC window.

Step 3. In the top address bar, navigate to this location:

Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender\Exclusions

Step 4. In the right panel, double-click every REG_DWORD value to check whether its value data is set to 1. If yes, you need to change the value data to 0.

change the value data to 0

Step 5. Restart your computer and check if the “Windows Defender exclusions not working” issue has gone.

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Fix 4. Update Windows

Sometimes an outdated Windows version can prevent Windows Defender exclusions from working properly. So, when Microsoft antivirus exclusions are not working, you can update the Windows system to the latest version. Here you may be interested in this post: Windows 10 Update Methods: 5 Ways to Update Windows 10.

Top Recommendation

Will upgrading to Windows 10 delete my files? Will updating Windows erase all my data? When it comes to Windows updates, lots of users ask these questions.

In general, updating Windows will not affect your personal files. However, many cases of data loss caused by updating Windows have been proven to happen from time to time. In this situation, you can use MiniTool Power Data Recovery, the best free data recovery software, to recover your files.

MiniTool Power Data Recovery is effective in many types of file/folder recovery. For example, it can help to retrieve the missing Pictures folder, recover the missing Users folder, and restore Office files, videos, audio, emails, etc.

Besides, this data recovery service works great on HDD data recovery, SD card data recovery, data recovery from external hard drive, USB data restoration, and so on.

Click the button below to download MiniTool Power Data Recovery and have a try.

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Wrapping Things Up

In a word, this article talks about how to fix the trouble of “Windows Defender exclusions not working”. Hope it is beneficial to you.

If you have found any other great solutions to this issue, welcome to share them with us by leaving your comments below.

Should you have any questions about MiniTool Power Data Recovery, please feel free to contact us via [email protected].

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