Msmpeng.exe High Memory Usage: Best Ways to Stop it

Changing exclusion settings can quickly fix this problem

Reading time icon 4 min. read

Readers help support Windows Report. We may get a commission if you buy through our links. Tooltip Icon

Read our disclosure page to find out how can you help Windows Report sustain the editorial team Read more

task-w10 msmpeng exe high cpu

MsMpEng.exe, a core component of Windows Defender, can sometimes cause high memory usage on your PC, leading to performance issues. This guide will walk you through various solutions to mitigate this problem effectively.

Why is MsMpEng.exe using so much memory?

MsMpEng.exe’s high memory usage can stem from several causes, including the process of scanning its directory, low hardware resources, and adware.

How do I fix MsMpEng.exe high memory usage?

Before we start, ensure that your PC is malware-free, as sometimes malware can cause this problem. Also keep Windows Defender up to date if you’re using Windows Server.

1. Prevent Windows Defender from scanning its directory

1. Press Windows then type Windows Security in the search bar.

2. Click on Windows Security from the results.

3. Click on Virus & threat protection.

4. Under Virus & threat protection settings, click on Manage settings.

Click on Manage settings under Virus & threat protection

5. Scroll to Exclusions, click on Add or remove exclusions.

6. Select Add an exclusion and choose Folder.

add exclusion

7. Select the following path:C:\Program files\Windows Defender

8. Validate the change by clicking on Exclude this folder.

Keep in mind that other applications, such as modeling applications, can cause this problem, so it’s advised to find and exclude them from scanning.

You might also be interested to read our guide on what is MsSense.exe and how to fix its issues because it is a related process.

2. Limit CPU usage

  1. Right-click the Start button and choose Task Manager.
  2. Go to the Details tab.
  3. Find msmpeng.exe, right-click it, and select Set affinity.
  4. Specify the CPU cores the process can use.

3. Try a more reliable antivirus

Consider replacing Windows Defender with a more advanced antivirus solution to reduce memory usage effectively.

The solution recommended below employs the latest technologies for identifying and eliminating the latest malware, and it will protect all your devices, including your webcam and router.

This is one of the best antiviruses on the market right now, but you can still test it for 30 days before buying it, so try it now.

ESET HOME Security Essential

Get rid of any high memory usage issues and protect all your devices with this great antivirus.
Free Trial Visit Website

4. Start your computer in Safe Mode

  1. Go to Settings then select Update & Security and click on Recovery.
  2. Under Advanced startup, click Restart now.advanced-startup-restart-now msmpeng exe high cpu
  3. On the Choose an option screen, select Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Startup Settings and click Restart.
  4. Press F4 to start your PC in Safe Mode.

5. Reschedule Windows Defender

  1. Press Windows and enter task scheduler. Select Task Scheduler from the list of results.
  2. Navigate to Task Scheduler Library > Windows Defender.
  3. In the right pane, double click on Windows Defender Scheduled Scan.
    windows defender scheduled scan Msmpeng.exe slow boot
  4. When the Properties window opens, go to the Conditions tab. Make sure that Start the task only if the computer is idle, Start the task only if the computer is on AC power, and Start only if the following network connection is available options are disabled. Click OK to save the changes.start-off msmpeng exe high cpu
  5. Open the Properties window again and go to the Triggers tab. Click on New.
    new trigger task scheduler Msmpeng.exe memory leak
  6. Choose Weekly or Monthly and select the desired properties. Once you’re done, click the OK button to save the changes.
    trigger properties task scheduler Msmpeng.exe end process Access Denied
  7. Now go back to Task Scheduler and make the same changes for all Windows Defender tasks. You should have these tasks remaining: Windows Defender Cache Maintenance, Windows Defender Cleanup, and Windows Defender Verification.

6. Try to disable Windows Defender

6.1 Use the Group Policy Editor

  1. Press Windows + R and enter gpedit.msc. Press Enter or click OK.
    gpedit.msc run window Msmpeng.exe excessive disk usage
  2. Navigate to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Defender Antivirus.
  3. In the right pane, double-click on Turn off Windows Defender Antivirus.
    turn off windows defender antivirus Msmpeng.exe encountered a problem
  4. When the Properties window opens, select Enabled and click on Apply and OK to save the changes.
    enable policy Msmpeng.exe running constantly

If you have a Home version of Windows, you will not have the Group Policy Editor available and you need to use Registry Editor instead.

6.2 Use the Registry Editor

  1. Press Windows + R and enter regedit. Press Enter or click OK.
    regedit run window Msmpeng.exe slow boot
  2. When the Registry Editor opens, navigate to the following path in the left pane: Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender
    registry editor windows defender key Msmpeng.exe keeps running
  3. In the right pane, look for DisableAntiSpyware DWORD. If this DWORD isn’t available, right-click the empty space and choose New and select DWORD (32-bit) Value from the menu. Now enter DisableAntiSpyware as the name of the new DWORD and double-click it.
    new dword registry editor Msmpeng.exe memory leak
  4. Set the Value data to 1 and click on OK to save the changes.
    disableantispyware dword Msmpeng.exe end process Access Denied

In addition, you can try disabling Antimalware Service Executable if you’re having this problem.

7. Disable Sample Submission

  1. Open Settings and go to Update & security.
    update & security settings app Msmpeng.exe eating memory
  2. Click on Windows Security > Open Windows Security.
  3. Go to Virus & threat protection > Manage settings.
  4. Turn off Automatic sample submission.
    disable automatic sample submission Msmpeng.exe running constantly

As this is an antivirus-related issue, you should also take a look at our selection of the best antiviruses with unlimited license validity for your PC and choose the right product for you.

This isn’t the only problem, and many reported that Windows Defender caused high HDD and CPU usage, but we have a guide that addresses those issues.

Other users reported Microsoft Defender Antivirus Service high memory usage, but we also covered that problem in another article.

If you have other suggestions or ideas, don’t hesitate to leave your thoughts in a comment below.

More about the topics: CPU, Windows Defender issues