Windows Data Recovery- Professional

‘Antimalware Service Executable’ High CPU Usage Issue

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    Summary: The Antimalware Service Executable or MsMpEng.exe is a critical Windows Defender background process that regularly scans the computer for malicious code and viruses. However, this process can sometimes run into problems causing increased CPU and memory utilization. In this post, we will look at the causes behind this issue and methods to fix it.

    Windows Defender is a vital system application that keeps the computer safe from unwanted and malicious pieces of code. The Antimalware Service Executable or MsMpEng.exe is one such process that is responsible for real-time scanning in Windows 11/10/8.

    However, the Antimalware Service Executable has been showing high CPU or memory usage in the Task Manager. This is causing lowered performance and even the computer to crash. Let’s look at this issue in detail and understand the reasons causing it to consume an absurd amount of system resources.

    What is Antimalware Service Executable or MsMpEng.exe?

    Antimalware Service Executable or MsMpEng.exe is an integral process of Windows Defender. It is available on Windows 11/10 and 8. This process runs in the background without affecting other activities and scans for any malicious code, virus, etc. It checks files for malware and installs various antivirus updates.

    Lately, some Windows 10 users have reported seeing this process consuming a lot of system resources and take CPU or disk usage to as high as 90%. Let’s look into the details to find out why this is happening.

    Why is the Antimalware Service Executable or MsMpEng.exe Showing High Disk Usage?

    The MsMpEng.exe process is a CPU-intensive process. Ideally, it should run normally without increasing the disk usage. However, this error message popping up on the screen indicates a problem with the process. The Antimalware Service Executable error results in an increase in CPU usage and drains computer resources, which negatively impacts performance.

    Another reason why this could be happening is because it is always running in the background and regularly scans the C:\Program Files\Windows Defender folder. Listed below are some reasons causing this issue to occur on Windows 10 PCs –

    • Corruption in Windows Defender files
    • MsMpEng.exe task frequency too high
    • Windows Defender overlapping with another antivirus instance
    • Malware attack
    • Bad Windows update

    Methods to Fix the Antimalware Service Executable High CPU Usage Issue

    Method 1: Scan for Malware

    This is the most basic and easiest way to fix the issue causing the Antimalware Service Executable process to show high memory usage. Virus-infected files in a computer could cause programs to malfunction. If you have a reliable antivirus installed on your computer or use Windows Defender, then use either of them to perform a complete scan of your computer. This should bring the malware out and eliminate it from the system.

    Method 2: Exclude Antimalware Service Executable

    If you are encountering that the Antimalware Service Executable is consuming high memory, you can add it to the exclusion list and fix the issue. To do this –

    • Press WINDOWS + I to open Settings.
    • Click on Update & Security.
    open settings
    • Click on Windows Defender in the left pane.
    • Navigate to the Exclusions section and click on Add an exclusion.
    open windows defender settings to add Antimalware Service Executable
    • Click on the Exclude a.exe, .com, or .scr process option under the Processes section.
    add exclusion
    • Type MsMpEng.exe in the blue box and click on OK.
    Add msmpeng.exe or Antimalware Service Executable to the list

    Method 3: Prevent MsMpEng.exe from Scanning its own Folder

    As mentioned earlier, the Antimalware Service Executable regularly scans its own folder – ‘C:\Program Files\Windows Defender’. This causes it to consume resources in an abnormal way, thus taking the usage percentage as high as 80-90%. You can stop this process from scanning its folder, thereby reducing the CPU usage. Here are the steps to do this –

    • Press WINDOWS + I to open Settings.
    • Click on Update & Security.
    • Click on Windows Security in the left pane and then click on Virus & threat protection.
    • In the Virus & threat protection window, locate Manage settings. Click on it.
    • Scroll down to Exclusions and click on Add exclusions.
    Open windows defender settings in the settings app to fix the high cpu usage issue
    • In the next window, click on Add an exclusion and then select Folder from the list.
    click to add folder to exclusion
    • Paste the following address – C:\Program Files\Windows Defender and click on the Select Folder button.
    Add folder to exclusion
    • Click on Yes on the pop-up.

    Method 4: Disable Real-time Protection and Reschedule Scans

    You can easily disable real-time protection and reschedule scans to keep the Antimalware Service Executable high CPU and memory utilization at usual levels. Here is how to do this –

    • Press WINDOWS + R and type taskschd.msc. Press Enter.
    Type command in run
    • On the left-hand side, expand Task Scheduler Library, then Microsoft, and then Windows.
    expand side menus
    • Locate Windows Defender in the list and double-click on it.
    click on windows defender settings
    • On the right-hand side, right-click on Windows Defender Scheduled Scan and click on Properties in the context menu.
    go into windows defender scan properties
    • In the Properties window, click on the General tab and uncheck the Run with highest privileges option.
    change general settings to fix the high cpu usage issue
    • Navigate to the Conditions tab and uncheck all the boxes there.
    change conditions
    • Then, click on the Triggers tab and click on New…
    change triggers
    • In the New Trigger window, you can customize the frequency, scan time, and date of the scan.
    change trigger settings to fix the Antimalware Service Executable issue
    • Click on OK.
    • Restart your computer.

    Doing so should lower the Antimalware Service Executable high CPU or memory usage issue.

    Method 5: Turn Off Windows Defender Using Local Group Policy Editor

    You can turn off the Window Defender once and for all to eliminate the Antimalware Service Executable high CPU utilization issue. However, you should make sure that you have a reliable third-party antivirus software to safeguard your computer from malware. Carefully follow the steps as mentioned here –

    • Press WINDOWS + R and type gpedit.msc. Press Enter.
    type gpedit to open group policy editor
    • In the Local Group Policy Editor window, expand the following in the left pane – Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components.
    expand menus
    • Look for Windows Defender Antivirus in the list and select it.
    select windows defender settings
    • In the right pane, double-click on the Turn off Windows Defender Antivirus.
    enable the settings to fix Antimalware Service Executable high cpu issue
    • In the next Window, choose the Enabled option.
    • Click on Apply and then OK.
    • Restart your computer to apply the changes.
    Pro Tip – The above-mentioned methods should help you resolve the high memory utilization issue with the Antimalware Service Executable. It is a known fact that high CPU usage could lead to random system crashes, computer stuck in a boot loop, or even data loss in severe cases.
    use stellar windows data recovery to recover files and fix the high cpu usage issue

    If the MsMpEng.exe issue has caused high memory and CPU usage on your computer and led to crashes causing unbootable computer, you can recover your data from it using a professional data recovery software like Stellar Data Recovery Professional.

    Download for Windows

    This is a powerful tool that can easily help you retrieve your lost data in all kinds of data loss scenarios like data corruption, formatting, unbootable computer, and more. It supports recovery of almost every type of file ranging from .docx to CR2 and CR3 files. It allows affected users to use a bootable media for recovering lost files & data from a crashed or unbootable computer.

    Final Thoughts

    The Antimalware Service Executable or MsMpEng.exe is an important process of Windows Defender. It is a background process that keeps an eye on malicious viruses and keeps them out of your system. While it is a critical system process, it can sometimes run into problems causing issues related to high CPU and memory usage.

    In this post, we discussed the Antimalware Service Executable high system resource utilization issue and explained various methods that can be employed to fix this. We also looked at a professional data recovery software and how it can help you retrieve data in case your system is rendered unbootable due to unprecedented system crashes. We hope this guide helped you resolve the pressing issue at hand and get your computer back to normal usage patterns.


    Q. How do I stop Antimalware Service Executable from using so much CPU?

    A. Turn off the real-time scanning in Windows Defender. Type Windows Security in the search bar and click on the result. Find Virus & threat protection > click on Manage Settings > Toggle Real-time threat protection button to OFF state.

    Q. Why is Antimalware Service Executable at 100% CPU usage?

    A. This could be due to the process running in the background. It could also be due to the process being broken or a virus mimicking the process, causing increased CPU usage.

    Q. What is MsMpEng.exe?

    A. MsMpEng.exe is a background process of Windows Defender that looks for malware and viruses in the files and quarantines them.

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    About The Author

    Keshav Katyal

    A passionate writer, driven by his interest in everything tech, Keshav Katyal has always been captivated by the latest gadgets since childhood. His interest in gadgets grew when he got his first gaming console, the Nintendo Game Boy Advanced. Hours and days of tinkering with gadgets encouraged the inner geek in him who now loves writing about the latest technologies.

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