Steps to Prevent High CPU Usage by Antimalware Service Executable

You must be familiar with Windows 10 in-built security programs that are known to offer real-time protection from threats and viruses. Yes, it is the Windows Defender program that is famous for consuming a good share of CPU processing power more than it has been designed to consume. Not only this, but it is also responsible for reducing your computer’s speed to a huge extent.

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If you have been struggling with Windows Defender’s high CPU usage for longer periods, there are ways to fix it and that is what we are going to discuss in this article. Here you will find ways to keep Antimalware Service Executable away from affecting your system’s resources on Windows 10.

What is msmpeng.exe Antimalware Service Executable?

If you use Windows Defender to secure your computer, you must be aware of the Antimalware Service Executable process which is an important part of this security program. Open Windows Task Manager (Ctrl+ Shift+ Esc or press Start Menu and then click Task Manager). Check the list of background processes and you will find a process named ‘Antimalware Service Executable’ along with its corresponding file ‘msmpeng.exe’.

With the help of this process, Windows Defender keeps an eye on your device for potential risks and threats and also offers real-time protection against cyber attacks and malware.

Reasons for High Memory Usage by Antimalware Service Executable

The major drawback of the ‘antimalware service executable’ process is high memory usage but what makes it behave like that.

Let’s find out.

One thing that can get your system slowed down is the Full Scan performed by Windows Defender; during the full scan, it does a complete inspection of all your computer files. To conduct the full scan, it uses all the resources of CPU and as a result, you will experience delays, lags, and other system interruptions while it is running the scan.

Although it is completely fine for an antivirus program to use system resources during a scan but not if it is going overboard with it. Windows Defender consumes way more resources than it should be and that too for longer time-periods. Not only this, but it can also annoy you by performing a scan while you are in the middle of sending an urgent email or just checking something important.

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How to Fix High Memory Usage by Antimalware Service Executable?

Even if it is frustrating to face system lags, still you cannot go on disabling Windows Defender straight away without having any other security service in place. So let the program do its job and apply these methods to get the problem fixed:

1. Adjust Windows Defender’s Schedule

Mostly, the high memory usage issue occurs when the Windows Defender is doing a full scan. You can prevent the system lagging by scheduling the scan at the time of your choice. To alter the Windows Defender schedule, here is what you need to do:

  • Press Windows logo key and R to launch the Run box; type taskschd.msc and hit enter.
  • Double-hit on Task Scheduler Library > Microsoft > Windows

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  • Next, double-hit on Windows Defender from the list and then click on Windows Defender Scheduled Scan.
  • In the Windows Defender Scheduled Scan Properties window, uncheck the box for Run with highest privileges.
  • In the Conditions section, uncheck all the items and click ‘Ok’.
  • Now to create new scans, move to the Triggers tab and click New.
  • Create a new scan schedule as per your needs, and this will keep a balance between protection and system efficiency.

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2. Add ASE to Exclusion List

Windows Defender checks every single file (including itself) during every scan and that is what leads to disruptions with the computer. To fix the problem, you can instruct it to skip checking itself (Antimalware Service Executable) during the scan as follows:

  • Open the Settings section by pressing the Windows logo key and I at the same time.
  • Click on the Update and Security option to do the exclusion.
  • Then click on Windows Defender; for Exclusions heading, click on Add an Exclusion.
  • Click on Exlcude a .exe, .com or .scr process

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  • In the given space, type MsMpEng.exe and finally click on Ok.

3. Disable Windows Defender from Registry Editor

If the problem is still there, you will feel the urge to disable Windows Defender. However, before you do that, remember that you are going to make your device vulnerable to malware and cyber-attacks. So it would be better if you proceed with this step only after installing an effective antivirus solution.

  • Launch Run dialog box by pressing Windows key and R at the same time; type regedit and click on Ok; this will open the Registry Editor.
  • Double click the folders in the navigation pane on the left; go to

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREPoliciesMicrosoftWindows Defender

  • If there is a registry entry named DisableAntiSpyware, set its value data to 1 by double-clicking on it.
  • If you don’t find an entry as DisableAntiSpyware, right-click in the main Registry Editor pane and create a news registry by selecting New > DWORD (32 bit) Value. After that, name this new entry as DisableAntiSpyware and double click and set its value data to

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4. Disable Windows Defender

To disable Windows Defender, follow these steps:

  • Press Windows Key + I to go to the Settings section of Windows and click on the Update and Security option.

From the left menu, select Windows Defender and in the right pane, click on Open Windows Defender Security Center.

  • In the windows that appear, select the option ‘Virus and threat protection’.
  • Choose Virus and threat protection settings

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  • Disable real-time protection to disable Windows Defender and you will no longer face issues with Antimalware Service Executable.

5. Use Group Policy Editor

The next thing you can do to disable the Antimalware Service Executable is making certain changes to the group policy as follows:

  • Press Windows Key + R and type gpedit.msc in the blank space. Click OK to start Group Policy Editor.
  • Go to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Defender Antivirus > Real-time Protection and then in the right column, double click on Turn off real-time protection.
  • Click on Enabled followed by Apply and finally click on Ok.

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This will disable the Antimalware Service Executable and Windows Defender making your system vulnerable to risks, so you must use this method only during emergencies.

6. Check Malware Infection

Windows Defender is there to protect your device; however, this is also possible that its performance is getting disrupted by something more malevolent. You can use any strong powerful antivirus program to check your system for malware by performing a full scan. There may be some malware in your system affecting its efficiency and ability to run smoothly.

7. Delete Windows Defender Directory

The high memory usage issue with Antimalware Service Executable can be fixed by deleting the Windows Defender directory.

Note- This method can create other issues as Windows Defender is an important part of Windows 10 and deleting the directory can be precarious, so do it at your own risk.

Before you proceed towards deleting the directory, create a backup of your files as well as a System Restore point so that you can restore everything whenever you want.

Here are the steps that will help in deleting Windows Defender:

  • Go to C: Program Files directory and look for Windows Defender folder.
  • Take ownership of the Windows Defender folder and delete its directory.

This will remove Windows Defender from your device and check if the issue got fixed.

However, with every Windows Update, Windows Defender will get installed again so you will need to do this all over again.

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8. Stop the Windows Defender Service

To stop the antimalware service executable process from using high disk space, you can stop the Windows Defender Service as follows:

  • Open the Run dialog box by pressing the Windows key and R; enter services.msc in the text field and click on Ok.
  • Double click on the Windows Defender Antivirus Service in the service window
  • Put the Startup type to Automatic; click on Stop button followed by Apply and then click on OK to save it.

Hopefully, all these steps will resolve the issues regarding the antimalware service executable process of Windows Defender on Windows 10.

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