Here’s what to do when antivirus blocks EXE files against your will

Aleksandar Ognjanovic
by Aleksandar Ognjanovic
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Whether you use a third-party antivirus solution or Windows-made built-in antimalware tool, the only important thing is that you’re safe from malware intrusion.

Their job is to protect your PC and, while doing so, to restrain from bothersome actions. However, sometimes the antivirus is overzealous to block or subdue any EXE (executable file) that even scents suspicious. And, to do so against your will.

Below, we explained how to resolve this problem in a few simple steps. So make sure to check the list below and find the way to prevent your antivirus from blocking or deleting the EXE files you find harmless.

Here’s how to unblock the EXE files your antivirus blocks in a few simple steps

  1. Avast
  2. ESET
  3. Avira
  4. Bitdefender
  5. Malwarebytes
  6. Windows Defender

Disable antivirus temporarily and add an exclusion

Even though this action completely negates the purpose of an antivirus solution, sometimes the valiant protector is too diligent for its own good. False positive detections are still a thing and they can cost you a lot of nerves and time. Say, you try to install a program and antivirus keeps blocking it repetitively. To make the things even worse, it quarantines EXE files as they’re often considered a threat. Such a nightmare!

The first thing you can do is to disable it for the real-time protection for some time and try reinstalling the program. But, that doesn’t mean antivirus won’t block the program from executing later on. For the permanent solution, you should try out the exclusions.

Exclusions are the only permanent solution. Every antivirus allows users to, at their own risk, exclude the files or even folders from future scans. So, after you re-enable a real-time protection, the antivirus will subtly skip on the chosen folder or file. Below we enlisted the instructions for most used antivirus solutions. Make sure to check it out in order to create an exclusion.

Important note: You do this at your own risk. Once you whitelist the EXE file, it’s an open season for malware. So, act with caution.

1. Avast

  1. Disable real-time protection and install the program.
  2. Open Avast user interface from the notification area.
  3. Open Settings.
  4. Choose General.
  5. Open Exclusions.antivirus blocking exe files
  6. Click on the ”File Paths” and then on Browse.
  7. Navigate to the folder where the EXE file is stored.
  8. Here you can choose to exclude an entirety of the folder or just an individual EXE file.
  9. Confirm changes and enable real-time protection.


  1. Kill the real-time protection and install the program.
  2. Open ESET from the notification area and press F5 to open the Advanced Setup.
  3. Open Antivirus and antispyware.
  4. Select Exclusions.
  5. Click on ”Add…” in the right pane.antivirus blocking exe files
  6. Follow the path to the EXE file and exclude it. You can exclude the containing folder, as well.
  7. Confirm changes and turn on the real-time protection again.

3. Avira

  1. Right-click on the Avira icon in the notification area and disable the real-time protection.
  2. Install the program.
  3. Now, expend the Avira from the notification area.
  4. Click on Extras.
  5. Select Configuration from the contextual menu.
  6. Open PC protection and then Scan.
  7. Select Exceptions and then Add.antivirus blocking exe files
  8. Exclude an individual file or the whole folder.
  9. Now, get back to PC protection and expand Real-time protection.
  10. Click Exceptions and then Add.
  11. Exclude the same file/folder as above.
  12. Confirm changes and enable Real-time protection.

4. Bitdefender

  1. Disable the real-time protection and install the troubling program.
  2. Click on Protection.
  3. Choose View features.
  4. Select Settings.
  5. Open the ”Exclusions” tab.antivirus blocking exe files
  6. Click on the ”List of files and folders excluded from scanning” and then Add.
  7. Add the file or folder you want to exclude.
  8. Confirm selection and re-establish the Real-time protection.

5. Malwarebytes

  1. Open Malwarebytes.
  2. Select Settings.
  3. Choose Malware Exclusions.antivirus blocking exe files
  4. Click Add file if you want to exclude the EXE file or Add folder if you want to exclude the whole folder.
  5. Follow the path and select the file/folder you want to make invincible for further scans.
  6. Confirm selection and run the program.

6. Windows Defender

  1. Open Windows Defender from the notification area.
  2. Select Virus & threat protection.
  3. Open Virus & threat protection settings.
  4. Scroll down and select Add or remove exclusions under the Exclusions section.antivirus blocking exe files
  5. Click on Add an exclusion and select file or folder you want to exclude.
  6. Confirm selection.

That should do it. Again, we must stress your computer is at risk if you decide to whitelist an EXE file that’s actually a malware. So, again, act with caution. Feel free to share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.