How to fix ‘Antimalware Service Executable’ high CPU usage

Windows Defender is an in-built tool that comes with Windows 10. It uses the Antimalware service executable process to perform its functions. You also have noticed that antimalware service executable consumes high CPU usage and this results in slower speed of your system. If you are facing the error then you are not only one many users are there who have faced the same issue. The best thing is that you can fix the issue without taking any technician help. 

In this post we have listed some of the best methods that can help you to prevent antimalware service executable from taking over your system resources. Before going to the methods let’s know about antimalware service executable. 

What is msmpeng.exe Antimalware service executable?

Antimalware service executable

Windows Defender protects your PC from viruses, malware and other cyber threats. It is a built-in antivirus software in Windows 10. The Antimalware service executable process runs in background in Windows Defender. Msmpeng.exe runs Antimalware service executable to let the Windows Defender to continuously rectify your Windows PC against the cyber threats. It also ensures that Windows Defender is providing real time protection against malware, viruses and cyber attacks. It runs background scanning to find if there is anything harmful for your PC. But you have noticed that msmpeng.exe causes high CPU and memory usage. 

Top 5 Methods to Fix Antimalware Service Executable high CPU Usage

To get rid of Antimalware service executable high memory issue you can perform several methods given in this article. 

Method 1: By changing Windows Defender’s schedule

The antimalware service executable high CPU usage occurs when running the full system scan so to avoid this error you need to schedule the scan period. Sometimes, changing Windows Defender’s schedule may fix the error. Below are the steps you need to follow to set a scanning schedule:

antimalware service executable

  • Press Windows + R keys to open a Run box and type taskschd.msc and hit enter key. 


  • When Task scheduler windows appears, navigate to the left side of the page and double click task scheduler library then Microsoft and then Windows.

task scheduler library

  • Now, double click on Windows Defender. 
  • Next, double-click on Windows Defender scheduled scan given in the middle pane. 

Windows Defender scheduled scan

  • In the general tab uncheck run with highest privileges. 
  • Now, go to conditions tab and then uncheck all the items and then click kn ok. 

Above steps will clear all the scheduled scans on your PC. Now you need to reschedule the scans. For this follow the below steps: 

  • Firstly, double click Windows Defender schedule scan and choose the triggers tab and then click new. 
  • Now, create a new scan schedule, whether monthly or weekly scan depending on your requirement that keep balance between protection and system efficiency. 
  • Now, select the day of the scan and click ok. 
  • At last you need to repeat the same process for three services: Windows Defender Clean-up, Windows Defender Cache Maintenance and Windows Defender Verification. 

Restart your PC and check if you are still facing Antimalware Service Executable high CPU usage error. 

Method 2: By Scanning Malware

There is a possibility of having malware in your system that is why antimalware service executable takes up huge disk usage and CPU. So, run a security scan to check if your PC is infected with any malware. You can use a lightweight and reliable third party tool for system scanning. As windows defender comes preinstalled in your Windows 10 then you can use it for system scan by following the given steps:

  • Open, Windows security by pressing win + S keys.
  • Go to the virus and threat protection tab in the left pane. Then click on scan options link.

virus and threat protection tab 

  • Select the full scan option that will scan all the system files. It will take up to 2 hours to complete scanning process.
  • Now, click on scan now to start the scanning process. If any threat is there Windows will automatically removes it. You can even see the scan results later to check what infected files were deleted. 

Method 3: Add Antimalware Service Executable to the Windows Defender’s exclusion list 

During the scanning process, Windows Defender scans each and every file including itself. It is one of the common cause of system lag. So, you need to perform this method to exclude Windows Defender from scanning itself. Below are the steps you need to follow to add Antimalware service Executable to the Windows Defender’s exclusion list:

  • Press windows + I keys to open the settings window. 
  • When you landed on settings window click on update and security.

Update and Security

  • At the right side of the page, under Windows security click on virus and threat protection. 
  • Now, under the virus and threat protection settings choose manage settings given in blue. 
  • After that, under exclusions, click add or remove exclusions. 
  • Now, click on add an exclusion and choose process. 
  • In a pop-up box, then write antimalware service executable and click add.  

By following the above steps, we have added antimalware service executable to Windows defender in the exclusion list. 

Method 4: By Disabling Windows Defender Service

If you still facing the high CPU usage then it is time to disable Antimalware Service Executable in Windows 10. This method is quite risky as disabling Windows defender leads you to attacked by several cyber attacks. Below are some steps that you should follow for disabling Windows Defender service:

  • Press Windows + R keys to open a Run box and type Regedit and hit enter key. 
  • When the Registry Editor window appears then go to the left navigation pane and double click the folders to go to the following path:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender

  • Now, search for a registry named DisableAntiSpyware and double click on it. 
  • Set the value data to 1. 
  • If there is no registry entry named DisableAntiSpyware then navigate to the main registry editor pane and right click on it. Select new and then DWORD (32-bit) value. 

antimalware service executable high memory

  • Now, give this new registry entry the name DisableAntiSpyware and double-click on it then set its value data to 1. 

Method 5: Turn off real time protection settings 

Below are the steps to turn off real time protection. 

  • Press windows + I keys to open setting window. 
  • Click on update and security. 
  • Now, below Windows security, tap on virus and threat protection. 
  • Turn off the real time protection and wait for while. Then again turn on it. 

All these above methods can fix antimalware service executable high memory. 


Can I end the antimalware service executable?

Yes, you can end the antimalware service executable. It is alright to disable the process. But make sure install a new antivirus software to prevent from cyberattack. To disable antimalware service executable right click on antimalware service executable and then choose end task. 

How do I stop antimalware service executable from using so much CPU?

You can stop antimalware service executable from using so much CPU by  using the methods that are mentioned in in the above article. Some of the methods are:

  • Scanning for malware
  • Repairing corrupt defender files 
  • Turn off windows defender

Why is antimalware service executable always running?

The antimalware service executable process always runs in the background for scanning the malware, viruses and other cyberattacks. Like any other antivirus tools, Windows Defender runs in background for system scanning. 

How much RAM should antimalware service executable be using?

Antimalware service executable consumes 50% of RAM for performing real time scan, full system scan and updating virus definitions. 

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