How to disable Antimalware Service Executable (MsMpEng.exe)

When your computer starts slowing down, you look for the causes and begin to remove or stop processes (like the Antimalware Service Executable) that might seem to impact your CPU usage. In some cases, that’s perfectly fine and won’t cause you any problems. However, if you stop processes that have an essential function in your system, you could be creating larger issues than the one you’ve set out to solve.

Stopping or disabling a process like MsMpEng.exe is a potentially risky thing to do, as that process has a significant role within your system, and disabling it can lead to a lot more trouble than a slow system.

Antimalware Service Executable as shown in the Task Manager

It’s vital to learn more about the Antimalware Service Executable (aka MsMpEng.exe) within your Windows system and the potential dangers of interfering with its operation. We’ll also show you how to disable the Antimalware Service Executable (MsMpEng.exe) for situations when that action is your only option.

What is Antimalware Service Executable (MsMpEng.exe)? 

Antimalware Service Executable (or MsMpEng.exe) is a process that Windows Defender uses to monitor your PC continuously, looking for any potential threats.

Rather than check files when they are downloaded (which only catches files with recognizable virus structures), Antimalware Service Executable allows Windows to check all actions taken by users and any incoming files, processes, and web code being run for spyware, worms, and viruses.

The Antimalware Service Executable not only provides real-time protection by constantly scanning files, but it also runs a full scan of all files on a set schedule, usually when the system wakes up or connects to another network.

What is MsMpEng.exe?

MsMpEng.exe is the central process of Windows Defender. It’s the process that Windows Defender uses to start the antimalware checks and procedures on your computer. Without this process running, your computer won’t be checked for viruses or spyware unless you’ve loaded other third-party software to monitor your system.

MsMpEng.exe executable in the Windows Defender folder

What issues are associated with Antimalware Service Executable?

While Antimalware Service Executable’s service is an important one, and stopping spyware and viruses is critical, there are some issues with having that process running all of the time on your system. 

The biggest problem with the service is that because it has to check files and connections constantly, it requires CPU usage, and sometimes, it needs a lot of CPU resources. When a full scan runs, users with an already taxed CPU may experience lags, delayed response, or even a freeze of their system.


Is Antimalware Service Executable a virus?

Antimalware Service Executable is not a virus; it’s actually the opposite. Its role is to monitor your system to find potential threats and spyware that can cause viruses. If you notice that MsMpEng.exe is using many system resources, this could be a sign that your system has some kind of malware. 

Hackers can also take advantage of the knowledge that MsMpEng.exe is a safe executable by naming a malware process something similar or attempting to alter that file itself.

Do I need Antimalware Service Executable?

While Antimalware Service Executable isn’t a critical file for your system, it’s important to remember the role that it plays. MsMpEng.exe acts as a security guard for your system, monitoring and looking for spyware, viruses, and other hacker-created tools that could endanger your system. 

If you are ready to take on that role manually, you might not need to use Antimalware Service Executable. Alternately, you could use a third-party software program to handle system security and checks. 

If you decide to do this, be careful about where you download your third-party program and find one from a reputable company, as many so-called antivirus programs are actually viruses or spyware themselves.

Is it safe to disable Antimalware Service Executable?

Because Antimalware Service Executable checks your system in real-time for spyware, cracks, or viruses, it’s not a great idea to disable MsMpEng.exe. If you decide to disable it, you’ll be opening your system up to a greater risk from hackers and malware. 

While disabling Antimalware Service Executable won’t cause any immediate issues with system performance, it’s essentially unlocking the door and turning your back on any attacks or viruses that might be getting in. Unless you have a reputable third-party antimalware program running, it might be a bad idea to disable MsMpEng.exe.

Fixes for MsMpEng.exe using too much of your system resources

1. Scan your system for malware

The first step in the process would be to ensure that your MsMpEng.exe file itself hasn’t been corrupted or hijacked. This can be accomplished by finding a reputable third-party antivirus program like Malwarebytes and downloading it. Once the program is loaded, run it against your system to check for problems with MsMpEng.exe. If there are no issues with the Antimalware Service Executable, it’s safe to assume the MSMpEng.exe file hasn’t been hacked, and you can proceed to other steps to reduce the CPU usage it may be causing.

2. Change Windows Defender’s scheduled settings

If the idea of disabling Windows Defender is too intimidating for you, you can simply adjust the settings so that Windows Defender won’t run as often and schedule the deep scans for times when you’re unlikely to be using your computer.

To change the Windows Defender settings:

  1. Type “task scheduler” in the Windows Bar.
  2. Click on Task Scheduler.
Task Scheduler
  1. Navigate the Task Scheduler menu to Task Scheduler (Local)/ Microsoft/ Windows/ Windows Defender.
  2. In the center pane, click on Windows Defender Scheduled Scan.
  3. Click the Conditions tab in the lower middle pane.
  4. Uncheck any Conditions that have a checkmark.
Windows Defender Scheduled Scan
  1. Click on the Triggers Tab, then click New.
  2. Create a new scan schedule. It’s recommended that you scan at least once a week.
  3. Repeat this process for the three remaining Windows Defender services (Windows Defender Cache Maintenance, Windows Defender Cleanup, and Windows Defender Verification) in the upper center pane.

3. Stop Windows Defender from scanning MsMpEng.exe

During the Windows Defender scanning process, it will check all of the files on your system, including the process itself. If you’re confident that your Windows Defender hasn’t been corrupted or tampered with, you might save time and processing power by telling Windows Defender not to check itself. 

  1. Press Ctrl+Shift+Esc to open Windows Task Manager.
  2. Search for Antimalware Service Executable and right-click on the process.
  3. Select Open File Location.
  4. Click on the address bar where the full path of the Antimalware Service Process now shows, and choose to copy the full path.
  5. Type “Windows Security” in the Windows Bar and click on the icon.
  6. Click Virus & Threat Protection, then Manage Settings under Virus & Threat Protection.
Virus & threat protection
  1. Scroll down to Exclusions, and click Add or remove exclusions.
  2. Choose to Add an Exclusion, and choose Folder, then paste the path you copied earlier.
  3. Click Open.

It’s important to be careful when changing or disabling Windows Defender, as you could leave your system open to malware or viruses. 

Read more about what you can do when Antimalware Service Executable shows high disk usage.

Methods to disable Antimalware Service Executable (MsMpEng.exe)

1. Stop the Windows Defender Service

A good temporary solution would be to stop the Antimalware Service Executable for a short period to see if the resource issue is solved. It’s important to remember that you’ll have no virus protection on your system unless you have a third-party monitoring program running while the process is stopped.

To stop the Windows Defender Service:

  1. Press Windows Key + R to bring up a Run dialog box.
  2. Enter “services.msc” and hit Enter.
  3. When the Services window opens, scroll down to Windows Defender Antivirus Service.
When you stop the Windows Defender Antivirus Service you also disable Antimalware Service Executable (MsMpEng.exe)
  1. Double click Windows Defender Antivirus Service.
  2. Change the Startup Type to Automatic and click the Stop button.
  3. Click Apply and OK to save your changes.

2. Disable Antimalware Service Executable (MsMpEng.exe) using the Registry Editor

Another way to solve the Antimalware Service Executable using CPU resources issue is to disable Windows Defender. There are several ways to do this.

To disable Windows Defender via REGEDIT:

  1. Press Windows Key + R to bring up a Run dialog box.
  2. Type “regedit” and hit Enter to bring up the Registry Editor.
  3. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SOFTWARE/Policies/Microsoft/Windows Defender
  4. Right-click on Windows Defender and select New and DWORD.
Disable Antimalware Service Executable (MsMpEng.exe) using a new DWORD in Regedit
  1. Double click DWORD, rename it DisableAntiSpyware and set the value to 1.
  2. Exit the Registry Editor.

3. Disable Antimalware Service Executable (MsMpEng.exe) using the Command Prompt

If you can’t or don’t feel comfortable editing the registry settings on your system, you can disable the Windows Defender, and with it, the Antimalware Service Executable (MsMpEng.exe), using a Command Prompt.

  1. Type “cmd” in the Windows Search Box and click “Run as administrator” (it’s important to run as administrator, as you won’t be able to disable Windows Defender using this method otherwise).
  2. When the Command Prompt appears, type in the following and press Enter:
    REG ADD “hklm\software\policies\microsoft\windows defender”/v DisableAntiSpyware /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f
Disable Windows Defender and Antimalware Service Executable (MsMpEng.exe) using the command prompt
  1. Exit the Command Prompt window.
  2. This disables the Windows Defender Process in the registry editor.

4. Disable Antimalware Service Executable (MsMpEng.exe) through the Local Group Policy Editor

Another method for disabling the Windows Defender process is to make a change in the Local Group Policy for your system. In order to do that:

  1. Press Windows Key + R to bring up a Run dialog box.
  2. Type “gpedit.msc” and click Enter.
  3. Navigate to Computer Configuration/ Administrative Templates/ Windows Components/ Microsoft Defender Antivirus/ Real-time Protection
  4. Double click Turn off real-time protection.
Turn off real-time protection to disable Antimalware Service Executable (MsMpEng.exe)
  1. Select “Enabled” and click Apply, then OK to save your changes.
  2. This disables both Microsoft Defender as well as Antimalware Service Executable (MsMpEng.exe).

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