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How to fix ‘Antimalware Service Executable High Memory Usage’ issue?

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Windows 10 comes with its own native antivirus software called Windows Defender. Now while the tool itself is actually really good and capable at protecting your system, it monitors your PC in real-time to make sure that no threats might escape unchecked. 

What is Antimalware Service Executable?

Antimalware Service Executable or MsMpEng.exe is a process that Windows Defender runs in the background so it can keep an eye on what’s going on with your system in real-time.

The problem with this is that in the process of monitoring your system, Windows Defender, or specifically speaking the service, can eat up CPU and other vital system resources.

Luckily enough, the problem is rather easy to solve. In this article, we’re going over five ways you can resolve this.

Also read: What is code-signed Malware and ways to protect your device

Check for malware infections

The first thing that you should do is run a full system scan using anti-malware software that’s not Windows Defender. You can use Malwarebytes, Bitdefender or Avira

We recommend against using Windows Defender for scanning here because if the antimalware service is suddenly hogging up a lot of your system resources, there’s a chance that it might’ve been infected by malware which it might be able to detect.

Change Windows Defender’s scheduling options

The Antimalware Service Executable will eat up your CPU typically when Windows Defender is running a full scan. You can easily get around this by changing scheduling options for Windows Defender so it doesn’t run scans or any process while you’re usually using your PC.

Step 1: Press the Windows key and search for Task Scheduler. 

How to fix 'Antimalware Service Executable High Memory Usage' issue?

Step 2: Double click Task Scheduler and navigate to the following directory.

Library/Microsoft/Windows/Windows Defender.

From here you can either disable all these processes completely or make a schedule for them to run when you’re not typically using your computer. 

Step 3: To create a new schedule, double click on the task you want to schedule, head over to the Triggers tab and click New.

You’ll now be able to create a new scan schedule that better suits your usage hours. 

Also read: How to fix ‘Printer not activated error code 30’?

Add Antimalware Service Executable as a Windows Defender exception

When Windows Defender runs a full scan, it scans everything, including itself. While this normally goes on fine, it can at times cause weird issues and system lag. To avoid this, you simply need to add Windows Defender as an exception to itself.

Step 1: Right click on the taskbar and click on Task Manager.

Step 2: Find the Antimalware Service Executable in the Process tab. Right-click it and select Open File Location. 

Step 3: Once Windows Explorer opens, copy the file path or take a note.

Step 4: Press the Windows key and type in Windows Security. Launch the program from there.

Step 5: Click on Virus & threat protection followed by Manage settings.

Step 6: Scroll down until you find Exclusions. Click on it and then click on Add or remove exclusions.

Step 7: Navigate to the Antimalware Service Executable exe file, called MsMpEng.exe and select it as an exclusion. 

Also read: 9 common types of Malware explained

Disable real-time protection

A temporary workaround to the situation is to disable real-time protection for the time being. Note that it does put your computer at risk so we recommend being careful with this solution.

Step 1: Press the Windows key and type in Windows Security. Launch the program from there.

Step 2: Head over to the Virus & threat protection tab and click on Manage settings.

Step 3: Turn the Real-time protection toggle off. 

Disable Windows Defender

The last resort to resolve the situation is to disable Windows Defender from the registry and use an alternative, lightweight antivirus software instead. 

Step 1: Press Windows Key + R to open the Run prompt. Type in regedit and hit enter. 

Step 2: Navigate to the following directory.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender.

Step 3: Find the registry entry named DisableAnitSpyware. Double click it and change its Value to 1.

In case you don’t see the aforementioned entry, you can make it by right-clicking in the registry and click on New followed by DWORD (32 bit).

You can also read our detailed guide on how to disable Windows Defender here.

Also read: Is Windows Defender good enough for your PC?

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah is a Computer Science graduate who writes/edits/shoots/codes all things cybersecurity, gaming, and tech hardware. When he's not, he streams himself racing virtual cars. He's been writing and reporting on tech and cybersecurity with websites like Candid.Technology and MakeUseOf since 2018. You can contact him here:

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