If you are a Windows user then sometimes while using your PC or laptop you feel all of a sudden your PC starts to work slowly or starts lagging. Or in the case of a laptop, you suddenly think that it is getting hot along with lagging. When you look into task manager it shows a high memory usage with device temperature above 70˚C.
Upon a deeper inspection, it comes out that the MsMpEng.exe aka AntiMalware Service Executable aka Windows Defender Program is consuming this high memory bandwidth.
This was introduced by Microsoft itself after Windows XP and has continued since in all other new versions. Its main purpose is to make you do away with third-party Antivirus apps. In case you wish to use other antivirus software, then you can certainly do so.
In this fixing guide, you are going to see different methods to fix this issue. So let’s begin.
Fix MsMpEng.exe’s High Memory usage on Windows
Fix 1: Check if Windows defender is scanning the PC
Windows defender is automatically scheduled to scan for threats. Since our personal devices are not always open a result it is not able to scan at scheduled times. As a result, what happens is, it starts scanning for threats when you are doing some work or playing games. Hence it starts to take up memory or CPU clock cycles repeatedly as a result some devices might crash or some heat up or some start lagging.
Here is how you can check whether windows defender is running or not:
Step 1: In the Start menu search for Virus and threat protection and open the same from the search results.
Step 2: Now check if a system scan is going on. It will display like this if it is scanning for viruses.
Step 3: In such a case you can patiently wait for the scan to complete to be on the safer side. Or you can cancel it by clicking on the Cancel button.
Step 4: However if there is no scanning going on, you should see a screen similar to as shown below.
Fix 2: Exclude unnecessary files & folders from the scan
To reduce the time of the scanning, you can exclude some folders and files that are too big and contains files that are not necessarily needed to be scanned.
Step 1: Search for the Virus and threat protection open the same from the search results.
Step 2: Click Virus & threat Protection settings.
Step 3: Here, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click on the Add or remove Exclusion option.
Step 4: Click on the Add an exclusion option followed by File or Folder, depending on what you want to add to the exclusion list.
Step 5: You’ll now see a Select Folder popup window. Navigate to the file/folder that you want to exclude and select it.
Fix 3: Prevent Windows Defender from scanning its own folder
Sometimes what happens while running a scan is when windows defender starts scanning its own folder, it takes up a lot of memory because as you already know, all the threats that are detected by it and the history of all the scanning, and everything it does saved there. Preventing windows defender from scanning its own folder will save us both, time and processing power. Here is how you can do that:
Step 1: Search and open the Virus and threat protection on your PC and go to Virus & threat Protection settings.
Step 3: Scroll to the bottom and click on the Add or remove Exclusion option.
Step 4: Click on the Add an exclusion option and select the Folder option from the drop-down list.
Step 6: A Select Folder window will appear on the screen. Here, copy and paste the following path in the Folder text field and click on the Select Folder button.
C:\Program Files\Windows Defender
Once done, the Windows Virus & threat protection scan will not scan for its own folder and this should allow the scan to complete early. If this does not solve the problem then proceed to the next fix.
Fix 4: Disable Real-time protection
When Real-time protection is enabled on your PC, it will surely interrupt your work because it will take up memory and CPU space. We can consider disabling the Real-time protection so that it will not interrupt the workflow. you can enable it again (or it will start again automatically after some time) while we are not doing heavy work or just chilling on the internet. Here is how you can do it:
Step 1: Open Virus & threat protection by searching for the same and then go to the Virus & threat Protection settings option.
Step 2: Here, you’ll see the Real-time protection section. Switch its toggle to off in order to disable the Real-time protection.
Fix 5: Reschedule your windows defender
Windows defender schedule is automatic so when it is not able to scan on the automatic timing then it starts scanning at the time you turn on the laptop starting to interrupt the work that you are doing. So you best can reschedule it for the time when you don’t have much work or important work to do. Here is how you can do it.
Step 1: Search for Computer Management on the Start menu and open the same from the search results. Alternatively, you can also right-click on the This PC icon on your desktop and select Manage.
Step 2: This will bring up the Computer Management window on your PC. Here, navigate to the following path:
Task Scheduler > Task Scheduler Library > Microsoft > Windows > Windows Defender.
Step 3: Now, in the right pane, right-click on Windows Defender Scheduled Scan and go to Properties.
Step 4: On the properties window that pops up, switch to the General tab and uncheck the Run with hightest privilages box.
Step 5: Now, switch to the Conditions tab and uncheck all the boxes available there.
Step 6: Likewise, now switch to the Triggers tab and click on the New button.
Step 7: On the New Trigger window that appears, select the Begin the task option to On a schedule and set the Start time as per your convenience and click on OK.
Step 8: Finally click on OK on the Windows Defender Scheduled Scan windows to save the changes.
Fix 6: Turn off Windows Defender
If the above-mentioned fixes are not able to solve the problem then you can consider disabling the Windows Defender on your PC. Here is how you can do it:
Step 1: Open the Run dialog box and run the regedit command.
Step 2: On the Registry Editor window, navigate to the following address:
You can also copy and paste the above path into the address bar of the Registry Editor.
Step 3: Now, in the right pane, right-click on the empty space and go to New > DWORD (32-bit) Value.
Step 4: Name this DWORD Value “DisableAntiSpyware“.
Step 5: Now, double click on this newly created Registry value, set its Value data to 1 and click on OK to save the changes.
Warning: This fix disables the Windows Defender hence leaving your computer prone to virus attacks. Therefore proceed accordingly.
Doing so will completely disable the Windows Defender on your PC. As an alternative, You can consider installing a reliable third-party antivirus software available in the market like avast, MacAfee, Quick heal etc. Buy a premium version of any as per your choice cause it is not good to leave your PC prone to Malware and Viruses.
And with that said, here comes the end of this fixing guide. I am hoping that the aforementioned fixes would have helped you in one way or the other in resolving MsMpEng.exe’s high memory usage on your Windows 11 or Windows 10 PC. The high memory or CPU usage by the MsMpEng.exe process generally occurs due to the ongoing system scanning in the background.
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