Enable Windows Defender GUI on Windows Server 2016

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This simple post covers the steps to enable Windows Defender GUI on Windows Server 2016. Windows Defender is a trusted antivirus protection built in to Windows 10. Windows Defender Antivirus delivers real-time protection against software threats like viruses, malware and spyware across email, apps, the cloud and the web.

By default, Windows Defender AV is installed and functional on Windows Server 2016. However the GUI for Windows Defender which is a feature isn’t installed. If you install the Server 2016 OS from updated ISO copy from MSDN or VLSC, the feature is enabled by default. But if you don’t see that feature enabled, you can use the steps mentioned in this post. Note that you cannot enable interface when you have disabled core Windows Defender feature.

Enable Windows Defender GUI on Windows Server 2016

To enable Windows Defender GUI on Windows Server 2016.

  • Launch the Server Manager
  • Click on Tools > Manage.
  • Click Add Roles and Features.

You will now see Add Roles and Features Wizard. Select Role-based or feature based installation. Click Next.

Enable Windows Defender GUI on Windows Server 2016

Click Next until you get the option to select Features. Under Windows Defender Features, check the box “GUI for Windows Defender“. Click Next.

Enable Windows Defender GUI on Windows Server 2016

On the Confirmation page, click Install.

Enable Windows Defender GUI on Windows Server 2016

The GUI for Windows Defender feature is installed successfully. Click Close. Reboot the server and launch Windows Defender.

Enable Windows Defender GUI on Windows Server 2016

Using PowerShell to enable Windows Defender GUI on Windows Server 2016

An alternate way to enable Windows Defender interface on Windows Server 2016 is by using a PowerShell command. Probably using the PowerShell command is way easier than above method. You can also hide the GUI for Windows Defender using PowerShell command. Run the PowerShell as administrator and run the below command to enable Windows Defender interface.

Install-WindowsFeature -Name Windows-Defender-GUI

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
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