How to fix high CPU usage by Antimalware Service Executable

Sometimes you might have noticed that your system is slow and the CPU is being consumed despite not running any applications. This has happened to many of us. This is due to the inbuilt Microsoft protection application, Windows defender, and its component called antimalware service executable. Windows defender constantly keeps monitoring all of our activities in order to protect the system from any potential threats. To monitor continuously, the application takes a big chunk of CPU. It is an essential part of your system but still, if it takes a high CPU then it becomes a problem for us. Antimalware service executable is one such application that takes high CPU memory. If you use windows defender as your default antivirus protection then you might have noticed it many times.

How do you check it?

To check whether the antimalware service executable is using your CPU memory just go to task manager by pressing the shortcut Ctrl + shift + Esc. There will be a list of programs that are consuming your CPU memory at the moment. In case the antimalware service executable is not there but still, your CPU memory is being drained then it might be the work of windows defender again. It may be running full scans in the background. 

All antivirus and malware software constantly do this, full system scan whenever it feels like there may be a threat. But the problem with windows defender and antimalware service executable is that it takes up a high amount of memory in the CPU.

Should you uninstall or stop windows defender?

It is dangerous to uninstall windows defender if you are not using any other third-party antivirus software. Windows defender is the only thing that protects your system from external threats but what we can do is try to minimize its CPU usage. In this article, we are going to look at ways to achieve that.

Change the scanning schedule

Windows Defender by default has the freedom to utilize your CPU any time it wants to scan the system. It may run in the background constantly that will interrupt your normal activities so it will be good to make a schedule for the scan so that it does not run in the background without permission.

  1. Open task scheduler from the search bar
Open task scheduler from the search bar
  1. Click on task scheduler library under task scheduler
Click on task scheduler library under task scheduler
  1. Once you double click the task scheduler library a list will drop down, double click on Microsoft once again and select the windows folder
Click on task Scheduler
  1. Now open the windows defender scheduled scan folder, go to the Conditions tab, and uncheck all the boxes. Go to the Triggers tab to create a new schedule by clicking the new option.
  1. Set the schedule according to your desire such that it does not affect your activities
  1. Repeat the same for Windows defender cache maintenance, windows defender cleanup, and windows defender verification.

Adding Antimalware service executable to the exclusion list

   During the scan, the windows defender will check each and every folder including its own. This may result in some confusion and delay in the scan. The best option here to avoid that interaction will be to add the antimalware service executable to the exclusion folder so that it does not get scanned.

  1. Open windows defender through the search bar at the start 
  2. Navigate to the virus and threat protection tab and click on the virus and threat protection settings.
  3. Search for the exclusions option, it will appear if you scroll down. Click add and add antimalware service executable.

Disable windows defender

If it still has been causing errors and problems then you are only left with the option of disabling windows defender. But keep in mind that this is bad for your system unless you install third-party antivirus software.

  1. Press Windows + R and the Run dialog box will open
  2. Type Regedit and click ok
  3. Through the left panel go to the following folder address HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender.
  4. There will be a registry of the name DisableantiSpyware, double click it, and set the value to 1
  5. If you do not find that folder then right-click on the main registry editor pane, select new, and enter the DWORD (32 bit) value


Antimalware service executable has been known for consuming high CPU memory and is a common issue faced by many people. Please do not disable windows defender as the very first measure it is the only thing that protects your system from external threats. Check the remaining running applications and check how much CPU are they consuming to know what exactly the problem is.

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