2 Ways to Enable Windows Defender GUI on Windows Server

Prajwal Desai
Posted by Prajwal Desai
Enable Windows Defender GUI on Windows Server

This article covers the steps to enable Windows Defender GUI on Windows Server. You can turn on Defender GUI using PowerShell or via the Add Roles and Features Wizard in Windows Server.

By default, Microsoft Defender Antivirus is installed and functional on Windows Server. Sometimes, the user interface (Defender GUI) is installed by default. Many organizations prefer to use the GUI for Microsoft Defender Antivirus.

Windows Defender is a reputable antivirus program included with Windows 10 and Windows 11. Windows Defender Antivirus protects email, apps, the cloud, and the web in real time from software threats like viruses, malware, and spyware.

Microsoft Defender Antivirus is available in the following editions/versions of Windows Server:

Ad imageAd image

Take a look at the upgrade paths for all the Windows Server versions.

Ways to Turn on the GUI for Windows Defender

There are three ways to turn on the defender GUI:

  • PowerShell
  • Using the Windows Server – Add Roles or Features
  • Using Group Policy

Most of the new Windows Server operating systems come with Windows Defender already installed and working. However, a feature of Windows Defender, the GUI, isn’t set up. You can enable it using any of the methods described above.

When is the GUI for Windows Defender enabled by default? The Defender GUI feature is by default enabled when installing the Server OS from an updated ISO copy obtained from MSDN or VLSC. But if you don’t see that feature enabled, you can use the methods described in this post to activate it. Remember that disabling the Windows Defender core feature prevents you from enabling the interface.

Enable Windows Defender GUI on Windows Server

Perform the following steps to turn on the Defender GUI using the Add Roles and Features Wizard:

  • Launch the Server Manager.
  • Click on Tools > Manage.
  • Click Add Roles and Features.
  • When you get to the Features step of the wizard, under Windows Defender Features, select the GUI for Windows Defender option.

The Add Roles and Features Wizard will now appear. For Installation Type, select the option “Role-based or feature-based installation” and click Next.

Enable Windows Defender GUI on Windows Server
Enable Windows Defender GUI on Windows Server

Click Next on the Server Selection and Server Roles page. On the Features page, from the list of features, look for “Windows Defender Features“, and enable the option “GUI for Windows Defender.” Click Next.

Note: In case you don’t find the Windows Defender features in the list of server features, it means that the Windows Defender core feature has been disabled on the server.

Enable Windows Defender GUI on Windows Server 2016
Enable Windows Defender GUI on Windows Server

On the confirmation page, click “Install.” In the below example, the option “Restart the destination server automatically if required” is enabled. In the event that a role or feature requires a restart during its installation or uninstallation, the reboot will occur automatically with this option enabled.

Turn on the Defender GUI using the Add Roles and Features Wizard
Turn on the Defender GUI using the Add Roles and Features Wizard

We see that the GUI for the Windows Defender feature is enabled successfully on the server. Click Close. You may choose to reboot the server if there is a pending restart. You should now be able to access the Defender GUI after starting the Windows Defender tool.

Turn on the Defender GUI using the Add Roles and Features Wizard
Turn on the Defender GUI using the Add Roles and Features Wizard

Use PowerShell to Turn on Windows Defender GUI on Server

You can use PowerShell to turn on Windows Defender GUI on Windows Server operating systems. Using the PowerShell command is probably much easier and quicker than the previous method. You can also hide Windows Defender’s user interface (GUI) or uninstall it with a PowerShell command.

To turn on the Defender GUI on Windows Server, run the PowerShell as administrator. Run the below command to enable the Windows Defender interface.

Install-WindowsFeature -Name Windows-Defender-GUI
Use PowerShell to Turn on Windows Defender GUI on Windows Server
Use PowerShell to Turn on Windows Defender GUI on Windows Server

To hide the Windows Defender GUI, type the below command. Note that Windows Defender AV will still run normally without the user interface.

Uninstall-WindowsFeature -Name Windows-Defender-GUI
Share This Article
Prajwal Desai
Posted by Prajwal Desai
Follow:
Prajwal Desai is a Microsoft MVP in Intune and SCCM. He writes articles on SCCM, Intune, Windows 365, Windows Server, Windows 11, WordPress and other topics, with the goal of providing people with useful information.
1 Comment