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How to disable Avast Antivirus

Every antivirus solution makes occasional errors and Avast is no exception. Even with modern heuristics and advanced antivirus tech, false positives are possible, resulting in Avast blocking websites or executables. Luckily, you can easily deactivate antivirus software, including Avast, if it incorrectly marks a file as malicious.

Disabling Avast entirely is a fairly aggressive measure. You can retain some protection if you disable individual Avast shields instead. In this article, we’ll cover both methods so that you can choose the right one for your situation.

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How to temporarily disable Avast: 3 steps

Deactivating Avast entirely means you’ll be left with no protection; it’s like having no antivirus at all. That’s great if you’re having trouble opening a certain file (that you’re sure isn’t malware), but it should be used temporarily and sparingly. Here’s how to pause Avast antivirus:

Step 1: Right-click the Windows Taskbar icon

Interface after clicking on Avast taskbar icon

Look for the Avast logo in the bottom right corner of your screen (called the taskbar notification area). It might be hidden in the overflow menu, so check there if you can’t find it elsewhere.

Once you’ve right-clicked on the Avast icon, navigate to “Avast shields control” and choose how long you want to disable Avast.

Step 2: Accept the warning

Warning after attempting to disable Avast shields

After attempting to disable all of Avast Shields, Avast will make sure that you intentionally performed this action. Sometimes, malware will automatically disable antivirus to more deeply infiltrate your system. Avast wants to verify that you actually meant it to prevent this type of attack.

Step 3: Retry the blocked action

Now that you’ve completely disabled your Avast protection, retry the action that Avast originally prevented. Whether it’s opening a program or visiting a website, Avast won’t get in your way anymore. If you chose to disable Avast for a set amount of time, it will automatically enable itself again after that time is up.

How to disable individual Avast Shields

Turning off every Avast shield is usually overkill. If you just want to open a blocked website or email attachment, you’re better off disabling those specific shields instead of turning the entire program off.

Step 1: Open the Avast User Interface

To accomplish this, you can either type “Avast” into the Windows Start menu or click on Avast’s notification area icon. You should see an Avast window pop up.

Step 2: Find Protection > Core Shields

Avast core shields screen

In the Avast interface, click “Protection” on the left side of the window. Navigate to “Core Shields” and determine which shield you want to disable.

Step 3: Disable the right Shield and retry the action

Disabled avast core shields screen

Find the shield you’re looking to disable and click the switch to toggle it off. If you need to access a website, turn off the “Web Shield”. If there’s a file you need to open, turn off the “File Shield”.

No matter which shield you choose to disable, you’ll need to choose how long to disable it for. Select the shortest amount of time that allows you to get your work done so that you won’t be left unprotected for long.

As soon as you’ve disabled the right shield, try opening that file or visiting that website again.

Final thoughts

Although antivirus doesn’t incorrectly mark websites and files as malware nearly as often as it used to, false positives still happen on occasion. Luckily, it’s easy to disable Avast with a few clicks. You can disable every one of its components or just a single shield, giving you control over your security and convenience.

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