How to Disable Avast Antivirus

Temporarily or permanently disable Avast antivirus

Image of a security icon on a computer screen

 Werner Moser/Pixabay

There are times when you may need to disable Avast antivirus so that you can install software or test whether Avast is causing network related problems.

There are several ways to disable Avast, depending what you're trying to test. You can either partially disable Avast by disabling individual shields, or by disabling the software entirely.

With Avast, a shield is a term used to identify specific areas of protection the software provides. These shields of protection include files, applications, web traffic, and email.

How to Temporarily Disable Avast by Turning Off Individual Shields

If you need to test a web application, you can disable only the Avast shield for web protection, but leave all other shields active so you can maintain your security while testing.

To disable Avast shields individually:

  1. On the Windows taskbar, left-click the orange Avast icon to open the Avast user interface.

    Screenshot of opening Avast from the taskbar.
  2. Select the Protection icon in the left pane to open the areas of Avast protection. Then select Core Shields to view which shields are enabled.

    Screenshot of the Avast Protection area.
  3. In the Core Shields window, select the green checkbox next to a shield type to disable that individual Avast shield.

    Screenshot of where to disable Core Shields in the Avast Protection area.
  4. You'll see a pop-up box asking you to verify that you want to disable the individual shield. Select the timeframe that you want to temporarily disable Avast for that shield.

    Screenshot of the confirmation for disabling an Avast shield.
  5. You may see a secondary warning window asking if you want to continue with disabling Avast with that shield. Just select OK to confirm.

    Screenshot of second confirmation/warning about disabling an Avast shield
  6. Once confirmed, you'll see that the status for that shield shows OFF.

    Screenshot of the Avast Mail Shield showing a status of OFF.
  7. Now you can proceed with your testing. Once you're done, you can return to the Avast Shields screen and select the OFF button to turn that shield back On.

How to Disable Avast by Turning Off All Shields

If you're not sure which shield you need to disable, you can opt to completely disable Avast by turning off all shields at once.

This is especially useful if you've tried testing with one shield enabled but are still experiencing problems.

To completely disable Avast:

  1. Right-click on the orange Avast icon in the taskbar and hover over Avast shields control. Here you can select the time frame which you want to disable Avast entirely.

    Screenshot of selecting Avast shields control in the taskbar
  2. Once you select the amount of time you want the shields to be disabled, you'll see a pop-up window asking you to confirm your selection. Select OK to finish.

    Screenshot of confirming disabling Avast.
  3. You can confirm that Avast is actually disabled by left-clicking the orange Avast icon to open the Avast user interface. You should see a status that all Avast shields are currently turned off.

  4. If you want to enable Avast protections, you can just select the Resolve button to turn all shields back on again.

    A screenshot of Avast with shields off, prompting the user to Resolve the issue.

How to Close Avast

Avast only lets you disable certain security protections, but none of the menus allow you to completely close or exit the software.

Even if you attempt to kill the Avast task in the Task Manager, you'll see an error. This is because Avast has built-in self-protection that prevents you (or any malware your computer is infected with) from disabling Avast's virus protection.

However, you can disable this feature so that you can close and disable Avast.

  1. On the Windows taskbar, left-click the orange Avast icon to open the Avast user interface. Select Menu, and then select Settings from the drop-down list.

    Screenshot of selecting Settings option in Avast.
  2. In the Settings menu, select General from the left pane, and Troubleshooting from the submenu.

    Screenshot of the Troubleshooting window in Avast.
  3. In this window, you can deselect the Enable Self-Defense checkbox. This will turn off all Avast self-defense features so you can kill the Avast task.

    Screenshot of disabling the Avast self-defense feature.
  4. You will be prompted to confirm that you want to disable self-defense. Click OK to confirm.

  5. Next, right-click the Windows taskbar and select Task Manager to open the Task Manager.

    Screenshot of opening Task Manager in Windows.
  6. In the Task Manager, select the Processes tab. Scroll down to the Avast Antivirus task, right-click it, and then select End task. Repeat this process for all other running tasks that start with the word "Avast".

    Screenshot of disabling the Avast Antivirus task in Windows Task Manager.
  7. The task will disappear without any error or warning message. You will notice the orange Avast icon is no longer present in the Taskbar. This means Avast is no longer running.

It's never a good idea to keep your computer connected to a network or the internet without any virus protection. Only end the Avast service long enough to finish your testing, and then launch the Avast application again to re-enable all security protections.

Disable Avast by Uninstalling It

If you're thinking of installing different antivirus software and you want to completely disable Avast by uninstalling it, you can do this just like you would any other software.

However, before you can do so, you'll need to follow the same procedure above to turn off the Enable Self-Defense feature in Avast Settings.

Once this is disabled, you can uninstall Avast.

  1. Select the Start menu, type Control Panel, and select the Control Panel app.

    Screenshot of opening the Control Panel in Windows.
  2. In the Control Panel, select Programs and Features.

    Screenshot of opening Programs and Features in Windows.
  3. In Programs and Features, scroll through the list to find and select Avast Free Antivirus. Then select Uninstall to launch the uninstallation process.

    Screenshot of uninstalling Avast Free Antivirus.
  4. You'll see a pop-up window with several options. Select the Uninstall button at the bottom of this window.

    Screenshot of triggering the Avast uninstallation routine.
  5. This will launch the uninstallation process, and Avast will be completely removed from your computer.

Only uninstall Avast if you have another antivirus application in mind to install, or any other method of protecting your computer from the threat of viruses and malware from the internet.