For many people, the computer has become a staple in everyday life, simply because some day-to-day tasks require a form of input or output on this device. The computer is designed to execute tasks quickly and efficiently. However, some issues cause the system to lag, thereby slowing your computer and freezing it while you are doing something. One culprit is the Antimalware Service Executable which causes high CPU usage.
Windows 10 has a Windows Defender that serves as a built-in antivirus provided by Microsoft for its users. It lessens the burden of having to purchase a costly antivirus to protect the system from malware such as trojans, worms, and the likes. This program works by running a background process called the Antimalware Service Executable or the MsMpEng.exe as found in the operating system files of Windows.
Antimalware’s task is to scan and check files when accessing them. This happens through background scans for threats, updates on antivirus definition, and any other task that Windows Defender does to protect the Windows. It takes up a huge amount of space within the memory, disk, and RAM, and sometimes also takes a chunk off of the network bandwidth. This in turn uses up many computer resources and even becomes a lot larger when subjected to Windows 10 updates.
There are two common scenarios wherein the Windows Defender program uses up a lot of resources resulting in high CPU usage:
1. The program service Real-time Protection aspect that continuously performs tasks in real-time, such as scanning files and connections, inspecting applications and actively protecting the Windows system from any cyberattack or malware threats. The program works nonstop and therefore demands a lot from PC resources.
2. When performing a Full Scan via Windows Defender, it scans virtually all the files within the system. A full system scan means that the antimalware performs a thorough scan of every element from every file, and this takes a lot of time to execute. This results in delays in software response, and you may experience system lags and hangs because a full scan requires high CPU usage.
When running a full scan, the Windows Defender takes up a huge chunk of PC memory, so it is wise to schedule this task during non-peak hours, or at a time when you don’t use your computer too much.
1. Click on the Windows icon and type on the search bar: task scheduler. Click on the top result to launch it.
2. In the Task Scheduler’s navigation pane found on the left, double click on Task Scheduler Library. Expand folders and locate Library/Microsoft/Windows/Windows Defender.
3. Double click on the Windows Defender Scheduled Scan in the middle pane.
4. On the Conditions tab, uncheck all the options and select OK. This clears the existing scheduled scans.
5. On the Triggers tab, select New. This is to set a new schedule that does not sacrifice the PC’s performance.
6. Set the new schedule for scans by selecting the frequency and time you most likely won’t be using your PC. You can set weekly scans, for example.
7. Locate the other services such as Windows Defender Cleanup, Windows Defender Verification and Windows Defender Cache Maintenance in the Library/Microsoft/Windows/Windows Defender expanded folders and then repeat steps 3-6 for each one.
1. Click on Win + I to open Settings.
2. Choose Update & Security.
3. Select Windows Defender on the left side of the window and tap on Add an Exclusion.
4. Select Exclude a .exe, .com or .scr process and type in MsMpEng.exe on the dialogue box that appears.
If the two fixes above do not work, you can just disable Windows Defender. However, this is at the risk of making your PC vulnerable to threats, so be sure to use another antimalware service in its place.
1. Press Win + R to open Run.
2. In the dialogue box that appears, type in regedit and select OK.
3. In the Registry Editor window, navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender
4. In the entry DisableAntispyware, edit the value by right-clicking and then set value data to 1.
If none of the fixes are working, it may be that your system has been attacked by malware, disrupting PC performance. You can detect this by using lightweight antivirus software and let it scan through your files and applications for the culprit.
Windows Defender is a very useful tool, and it’s a great addition to Windows 10’s safety features. However, if it is causing the high CPU usage and slows down the computer system dramatically, it’s high time to take the steps to ensure that it does not cause further damage. A disruption in work because of lags and delayed response can be solved by controlling the Antimalware Service Executable demand on CPU usage.