Full Fix: Kill Antimalware Service Executable in Windows 10

By: Madeleine Dean
7 minute read

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Microsoft Antimalware is an antivirus software that protects your system against malware attacks. This tool uses the same virus definitions and scanning engine as other Microsoft antivirus products, constantly monitoring activities on your computer.

Microsoft Antimalware installs a series of files on your system aimed at protecting your computer against threats. Sometimes, the tool has a negative impact on users’ system performance, which determines them to uninstall it.

However, they soon realize this is not an easy task, because there always seems to remain a hidden file running in the background. The Antimalware Service Executable, MsMpEng.exe runs even after users have removed Microsoft’s AV tools, oftentimes leading to a high CPU usage.

I don’t want an antimalware. […] So far I tried turning off Windows Defender, but the process is still running. My last resort would be deleting MsMpEng.exe from C:Program FilesWindows Defender.

If I try to end it from Task Manager, it says “The operation could not be completed… Access is denied”. I really do not want it running and I feel that it is slowing down my computer. How can I turn it off?

Here’s how to Kill Antimalware Service Executable in Windows 10

Antimalware Service Executable is associated with Windows Defender, and many Windows 10 users reported issues with this process. Speaking of issues, these are some common problems that users reported:

  • Antimalware Service Executable disable Windows 10 – There are several ways to disable Antimalware Service Executable on your Windows 10 PC, and in this article we’ll show you three different methods how to do that.
  • Antimalware Service Executable high memory, eating memory, memory leak – Many users reported memory issues due to this service. In order to fix the problem, it’s advised to disable Windows Defender and check if that solves the issue.
  • Antimalware Service Executable high disk usage Win 10, high CPU Windows 10 – Several users reported high CPU and disk usage due to this error. However, you can fix the issue simply by installing a third-party antivirus.
  • Antimalware Service Executable Windows 8.1, Windows 7 – Problem with this process can affect both Windows 8.1 and 7, but even if you’re not using Windows 10, you should be able to fix the problem with one of our solutions.
  • Antimalware Service Executable running all the time, slowing down computer – Many users reported that this service keeps running all the time on their PC. However, you should be able to fix that using one of our solutions.
  • Antimalware Service Executable can’t end task – If you can’t end this task on your PC, you’ll have to disable or delete Windows Defender from your PC to solve the problem.

Solution 1 – Disable Windows Defender from the Registry Editor

  1. Press Windows Key + R, type regedit in the search box and hit Enter to launch the Registry Editor.
    Antimalware Service Executable high CPU Windows 10
  2. Go to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender
  3. Right click on Windows Defender > select NewDWORD.
    disable windows defender registry editor windows 10
  4. Double click the newly created DWORD > name it DisableAntiSpyware > set the value to 1.

If you’re not too fond of Registry Editor, you can also disable Windows Defender by using the Command Prompt. By using Command Prompt you can change your registry with just a single line of code. This is quite simple and you can do it by following these steps:

  1. Press Windows Key + X to open Win + X menu. Now choose Command Prompt (Admin) or PowerShell (Admin) from the menu.
    Antimalware Service Executable memory leak
  2. When Command Prompt opens, run REG ADD “hklm\software\policies\microsoft\windows defender” /v DisableAntiSpyware /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f command.
    Antimalware Service Executable high disk usage Win 10

After running this command, your registry will be modified and Windows Defender will be disabled. Using the command line to disable Windows Defender is a faster method, and if you’re an advanced user, you might want to try it out.

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  • Step 1Download this PC Scan & Repair tool
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Solution 2 – Use Group Policy Editor

According to users, you can stop Antimalware Service Executable simply by making a few changes to your group policy. This is relatively simple, and you can do it by following these steps:

  1. Press Windows Key + R and enter gpedit.msc. Now press Enter or click OK. This will start Group Policy Editor. Keep in mind that Group Policy Editor isn’t available on Home versions of Windows 10, however, there’s a way to run Group Policy Editor on Home versions of Windows with a little trick.
    Antimalware Service Executable can't end task
  2. In the left pane navigate to Computer Configuration/Administrative Templates/Windows Components/Windows Defender Antivirus/Real-time Protection. In the right pane, double click on Turn off real-time protection.
    Antimalware Service Executable disable Windows 10
  3. Select Enabled and click on Apply and OK to save changes.
    Antimalware Service Executable eating memory

After doing that, Windows Defender will be disabled as well as Antimalware Service Executable. It’s also worth mentioning that this solution will disable antivirus protection on your PC, so your PC will be vulnerable. In order to protect your PC, you should use this method only as a temporary solution.


Solution 3 – Install a third-party antivirus

Antimalware Service Executable is a process closely related to Windows Defender. However, Windows Defender won’t run side by side with a third-party antivirus, so if you’re having problems with Antimalware Service Executable, you might want to install a third-party antivirus.

There are many great antivirus tools available on the market, but the best are Bitdefender, Panda Antivirus, and BullGuard so feel free to try any of them. After you install a third-party antivirus, Windows Defender will automatically turn itself off and your problem should be resolved.


Solution 4 – Disable Windows Defender

If you’re having problems with Antimalware Service Executable, you might be able to solve them by disabling Windows Defender. This is a rather simple process, and you can do it by following these steps:

  1. Press Windows Key + I to open the Settings app.
  2. Now navigate to Update & Security section.
    Antimalware Service Executable disable Windows 10    Antimalware Service Executable running all the time
  3. From the menu on the left select Windows Defender. Now in the right pane click on Open Windows Defender Security Center.
    Antimalware Service Executable high memory
  4. A new window will now appear. Select Virus & threat protection.Antimalware Service Executable high disk usage Win 10
  5. Choose Virus & threat protection settings.
    Antimalware Service Executable Windows 8.1
  6. Disable Real-time protection. If you want, you can disable all other options on this page as well.

After doing that, Windows Defender will be disabled and you won’t have any more problems with Antimalware Service Executable.


Solution 5 – Delete Windows Defender directory

According to users, they managed to fix the problem with Antimalware Service Executable simply by deleting Windows Defender directory. We have to mention that Windows Defender is a core component of Windows, and by deleting it you can cause other issues to appear, so you’re deleting this directory at your own risk.

Before you delete the directory, it’s a good idea to create a backup of your files and a System Restore point so that you can easily restore your PC if anything goes wrong. To delete Windows Defender, you need to do the following:

  1. Navigate to C:\Program Files\ directory and locate Windows Defender folder.
  2. Take ownership of Windows Defender folder.
  3. Now delete Windows Defender directory.

After removing this folder, Windows Defender will be deleted from your PC, and your issue should be resolved. Keep in mind that Windows Update will install Windows Defender again after every update, so you’ll need to repeat this process after every update.

Deleting core Windows components is a risky solution intended for advanced users, and we’re not responsible for any new issues that can appear after deleting Windows Defender directory.


Solution 6 – Stop the Windows Defender service

If you’re having problems with Antimalware Service Executable, you might be able to solve the issue simply by disabling Windows Defender service. This is quite simple and you can do it by following these steps:

  1. Press Windows Key + R to open the Run dialog. Now enter services.msc and press Enter or click OK.
    Antimalware Service Executable Windows 7
  2. Services window will now appear. Double click the Windows Defender Antivirus Service to open its properties.
    Antimalware Service Executable slowing down computer
  3. Set the Startup type to Automatic and click the Stop button to stop the service. Now click Apply and OK to save changes.

After you disable this service, the problem should be completely resolved.


Solution 7 – Disable scheduled tasks

In order for Windows Defender to work properly, certain tasks had to be scheduled, and that can cause problems with Antimalware Service Executable. However, you can fix the issue simply by disabling the scheduled tasks. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Press Windows Key + S and enter task scheduler. Now choose Task Scheduler from the menu.
    Antimalware Service Executable can't end task
  2. When Task Scheduler opens, in the left pane navigate to Task Scheduler Library > Microsoft > Windows > Windows Defender. In the right pane, you should see 4 tasks available. Select all four tasks and disable them. Some users are suggesting to delete them, so you might want to try that as well.
    Antimalware Service Executable disable Windows 10

Once you disable these tasks, the problem with Antimalware Service Executable should be completely resolved.

Even if you choose to turn off Windows Defender, don’t leave your system unprotected. You can use this article to decide what antivirus software to install.


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in July 2016 and has been since completely revamped and updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.


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