How to fix high CPU usage by Antimalware service executable

Have you ever noticed your CPU is struggling to perform even though you haven’t’ opened any application? It happens often and it happens to a lot of people. It is not some kind of external application or virus that is harming your computer or lap but it is an application by windows itself. It’s called  Antimalware service executable. Antimalware service executable is a major part of windows defender which comes along as a package with windows 10. Even though it is an essential part of windows defender is also known to consume a lot of CPU usage which causes troubles and even errors if you try to launch any other power-consuming application.

If you are a user of windows defender then you for sure would have experienced antimalware service executable consuming your CPU for no reason but that is nothing to be worried about. In this article, we are going to look at some steps using which we can stop it from high CPU usage. 

How do you check it?

If you use windows defender on your computer or laptop then open task manager by pressing Ctrl + Shift + Esc. In that list, you can see an antimalware service executable running in the background constantly. You can also notice that it takes up a lot of space. If it is not visible then in the background windows defender maybe running a full scan on your computer which consumes much more of your CPU and makes it tough for multi-tasking.

This is normal for all the antivirus or malware software as they constantly monitor your activities and protect your computer from any external threats but the problem with windows defender is that it consumes a lot of CPU usage compared to all other antivirus software. 

Should you uninstall or stop windows defender?

If you are using only windows defender and not any other antivirus for your system then please do not uninstall or stop it because it is the only application that protects you from threats but what we can do is minimize its CPU usage.

1) Change the schedule of scanning

A huge chunk of CPU is consumed by windows defender because it constantly monitors your activities and it scans the computer whenever it wants which is good but for our comfort what we can do is, we can fix a particular schedule in which the windows defender can run its full scan.

  1. Open task scheduler by typing it in the search bar near the start menu.
Change the schedule of scanning
  1. Now on the left pane click on the task schedule library
change the schedule of scanning
  1. Double click it and a list will open where you should double click the Microsoft folder. Double click on the windows folder in it and then search for the windows defender folder
change the schedule of scanning
  1. Open the windows defender scheduled scan folder, go to the Conditions tab and uncheck all the options. To create new schedules for the scan, double click the windows defender scheduled scan folder go to the Triggers tab, and click the new option.
  1. Set the schedule according to your convenience so that it doesn’t affect your day to day activities.
  1. Repeat the same process for Windows defender cache maintenance, windows defender cleanup, and windows defender verification too

2) Add Antimalware service executable to the exclusion list

Whenever windows defender is running a scan it will check each and every folder including its own. This will result in some uncommon interaction and consume a huge chunk of CPU. in order to avoid this from happening you can include windows defender in its exclusion list so that it doesn’t scan itself.

  1. Open windows defender by typing it out in the search bar near the start menu. 
  2. Click on the virus and threat protection tab and select virus and threat protection settings
  3. If you scroll down you will see an option called exclusions. Click that and add antimalware service executable

3) Disabling windows defender

If it still causes you lots of problems, errors, and high CPU usage then your best option is to disable windows defender. But if you do so remember that your system will be vulnerable to all kinds of threats and viruses. So make sure to install external antivirus software. 

  1. Press Windows + R to open the run dialog box
  2. Type Regedit and click ok
  3. In the left panel navigate to the following folder address HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender.
  4. You will find a registry called 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 DWORD (32 bit) value


Antimalware service executable consuming high CPU usage is a very simple problem and the first thing you must do is install external antivirus software because it automatically disables the windows defender. Do not follow the 3rd solution unless and until the first two solutions don’t work because disabling windows defender does more harm and benefit. 

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