Where Does Windows Defender Quarantine Files?

Windows Defender stores quarantined files in specific folders on your device. The exact location may vary depending on the version of Windows you are using.

Windows Defender is a built-in antivirus program that helps protect your Windows device from malware, viruses, and other security threats. When Windows Defender detects a suspicious file, it may quarantine it to prevent any potential harm to your system. But where exactly does Windows Defender quarantine these files?

In this article, we will explore the different locations where Windows Defender stores quarantined files and how you can restore them if needed.

Understanding Windows Defender Quarantine

Before we dive into the specific locations where Windows Defender quarantines files, let’s first understand what quarantine means in the context of antivirus software. When Windows Defender encounters a file that it deems potentially harmful, it isolates or quarantines the file. This action prevents the file from running on your system, minimizing the risk of infection or damage.

Quarantined files are essentially held in a secure location on your Windows device, separate from the rest of your files and applications. This isolation allows you to review and analyze the file before deciding whether to restore it or permanently remove it from your system.

Default Quarantine Locations

By default, Windows Defender stores quarantined files in specific folders on your device. The exact location may vary depending on the version of Windows you are using. Here are the default quarantine locations for different Windows versions:

  1. Windows 10:
  • For individual user accounts:C:Users{username}AppDataLocalPackagesMicrosoft.Windows.SecHealthUI_cw5n1h2txyewyLocalStateQuarantine
  • For all users:C:ProgramDataMicrosoftWindows DefenderQuarantine
  1. Windows 8 and 8.1:
  • For individual user accounts:C:Users{username}AppDataLocalPackagesMicrosoft.Windows.SecHealthUI_{some-random-string}LocalStateQuarantine
  • For all users:C:ProgramDataMicrosoftWindows DefenderQuarantine
  1. Windows 7:
  • For individual user accounts:C:Users{username}AppDataLocalMicrosoftWindows DefenderQuarantine
  • For all users:C:ProgramDataMicrosoftWindows DefenderQuarantine

It’s important to note that the above paths are the default locations, and they can be modified by system administrators or through Group Policy settings. If you or your system administrator have changed the default quarantine locations, you may need to refer to your system’s specific configuration to locate the quarantined files.

Restoring Quarantined Files

If you believe that a file quarantined by Windows Defender is a false positive or a file that you want to restore, you can follow these steps to restore the file:

  1. Open Windows Security on your Windows device.
  2. Select “Virus & threat protection” from the menu.
  3. Under the “Current threats” section, click on “Protection history.”
  4. In the Protection history window, you will see a list of items. You can filter the list to show only quarantined items if needed.
  5. Locate the file that you want to restore from the list and select it.
  6. Choose the appropriate action, such as “Restore,” to bring the file back to its original location.

It’s important to exercise caution when restoring quarantined files. Before restoring a file, make sure you are confident that it is safe and not a potential threat to your system. If you are unsure about the file’s safety, it’s recommended to consult with a cybersecurity professional or perform a thorough scan using reputable antivirus software.

Best Practices for Dealing with Quarantined Files

To ensure the security and integrity of your system, here are some best practices when dealing with quarantined files in Windows Defender:

  1. Regularly review your quarantine history: It’s a good practice to periodically review the files in your quarantine history to identify any false positives or potential threats that require further action.

  2. Keep your antivirus definitions up to date: Windows Defender relies on regularly updated antivirus definitions to detect and quarantine threats. Ensure that your Windows Defender is set to automatically update its virus definitions to stay protected against the latest threats.

  3. Exercise caution when restoring files: Before restoring a quarantined file, carefully evaluate its source and potential risks. If you are unsure about the file’s safety, consider seeking expert advice or performing additional scans using multiple antivirus tools.

  4. Enable cloud-delivered protection: Windows Defender offers a feature called “cloud-delivered protection,” which enhances the detection and response capabilities of the antivirus program. Enabling this feature can provide additional security against emerging threats.


Windows Defender is a powerful antivirus program that helps protect your Windows device from various security threats. When it encounters potentially harmful files, it quarantines them to prevent any damage to your system. Understanding where Windows Defender stores these quarantined files and how to restore them is essential for maintaining a secure and efficient computing environment. By following best practices and exercising caution, you can effectively manage quarantined files and ensure the safety of your system.