Would you like to learn how to use a group policy to enable the Windows Defender cloud-based protection on Windows? In this tutorial, we will show you how to create a group policy to enable the cloud-based protection built-in the Windows Defender application on the domain computers.

• Windows 2012 R2
• Windows 2016
• Windows 2019
• Windows 10

Equipment list

Here you can find the list of equipment used to create this tutorial.

This link will also show the software list used to create this tutorial.

Tutorial GPO - Windows Defender cloud-based protection

On the domain controller, open the group policy management tool.

Windows 2012 - Group Policy Management

Create a new group policy.

Windows 2012 - Group Policy Objects

Enter a name for the new group policy.

Windows - Add GPO

In our example, the new GPO was named: MY-GPO.

On the Group Policy Management screen, expand the folder named Group Policy Objects.

Right-click your new Group Policy Object and select the Edit option.

Windows - Edit GPO

On the group policy editor screen, expand the Computer configuration folder and locate the following item.

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Access the folder named Windows Defender Antivirus.

GPO - Windows defender configuration

Access the sub-folder named Real-time protection.

GPO - Windows defender real-time protection

Disable the item named: Turn off real-time protection.

GPO Windows Defender - Turn off real-time protection

Enable the item named: Scan all downloaded files and attachments.

GPO Windows Defender - Scan all downloads

Access the sub-folder named MAPS.

GPO - Windows defender MAPS

Enable the item named: Join Microsoft MAPS.

Select the Advanced MAPS option.

GPO Windows Defender - Cloud-based protection

Enable the item named: Send file samples when further analysis is required

Select the Send safe samples option.

GPO Windows defender - Send samples

Enable the item named Block at First Sight.

GPO Windows Defender - Block at first sight

To save the group policy configuration, you need to close the Group Policy editor.

Congratulations! You have finished the GPO creation.

Enable the Windows Defender cloud-based protection

On the Group policy management screen, you need to right-click the Organizational Unit desired and select the option to link an existent GPO.

Windows-2012-Applocker application

In our example, we are going to link the group policy named MY-GPO to the root of the domain.

GPO- tutorial linking

After applying the GPO you need to wait for 10 or 20 minutes.

During this time the GPO will be replicated to other domain controllers.

On a remote computer, Verify the Windows Defender configuration.

GPO Windows defender - Cloud protection

In our example, the Windows Defender application was configured to use cloud-based protection.