Fix: Antimalware Service Executable high CPU / Disk usage

Sinziana Mihalache
by Sinziana Mihalache
Author
Affiliate Disclosure

  • Your device's CPU might spike up occasionally because of Antimalware Service Executable.
  • The process is part of Windows Defender and you should think twice before deactivating it.
  • If you're using Microsoft's antivirus solution as the main protection, our Defender Hub might come in handy.
  • Our Security section covers the most important topics in the domain so make sure you stay informed.
antimalware service executable
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A lot of users have taken to the dedicated forums lately concerned about the fact that Antimalware Service Executable is eating a lot of their device’s resources.

This is how a user described the impact on his device:

I noticed my PC running Antimalware Service Executable as a background process. All day, my CPU has gone from idling at about 3%, to then suddenly spiking up to 100% usage. This happens every 30 sec. for a duration of about 5 sec.

Bottom line, the service comes installed on any computer and one only notices it when it truly starts working, which might coincide with your working hours.

Why is antimalware service executable using so much memory?

The service is part of Windows Defender, and it runs in the background on a daily basis. It might even start upon booting, especially if the antivirus solution is marked to also wake up upon startup.

You can notice the service if you open Task Manager.

Indeed, the Antimalware Service Executable will use a large amount of the CPU when scanning the device for malware, or when a certain running program causes Windows Defender to monitor it in real-time.

Is it safe to disable antimalware service executable? There are 3 working solutions to reduce antimalware service executable memory usage listed below. If you choose to stop the service, make sure to check out this guide on how to disable antimalware service executable safe and secured.

How do I fix antimalware service executable high CPU usage?

1. Turn off or replace Windows Defender

what is antimalware service executable

Turning off Windows Defender altogether might help, however your device will remain unprotected. Which is not the desired result.

Instead, you should install a third-party antivirus to still be covered against threats, while disabling Defender at the same time.

On this note, our recommendation is Bitdefender, which currently ranks as the no.1 antivirus solution that detects zero-day exploits and threats that are still in their incipient stage.

The solution also scores excellent when it comes to false postivies, that is blocking unharmful programs as being potentially threatening.

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2. Find the monitored program and whitelist it

  • In Settings, open Update & Security, then Windows Security.
  • Choose Virus & Threat protection.
  • Search for Virus & Threat protection settings and click on Manage settings.
defender exclusion list
  • Scroll down to Exclusions, click on Manage exclusions, and add the respective program. (It can also be a file or process.)

3. Disable Windows Defender auto-scan

The program has a Reputation-based protection feature, which, if activated, will automatically scan for potentially malicious files, apps, and websites.

So you might also want to deactivate it from App & browser control > toggle the respective button.

defender reputation-based protection

Apart from this, turning off real-time protection might also help. Do this from Virus & Threat protection settings and toggling the Real-time protection button.

Note that the option will be reactivated automatically after a while.

Hopefully, it is now clearer why Antivirus Service Executable takes up so much CPU and how or if you should stop it.

Let us know your experience with this service in the comments.

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