MsMpEng.exe causes high CPU usage: 3 solutions to fix this issue

Andrew Wafer By: Andrew Wafer
4 minute read
msmpeng.exe antimalware service executable error

Home » Windows » MsMpEng.exe causes high CPU usage: 3 solutions to fix this issue

When we choose our hardware configuration we often go for the best performance that can fit our budget. We usually tend to raise this budget so that more powerful components are included into our next computer or notebook. Of course, we choose to install the latest Windows OS in order to experience smooth, light and fast software. The bottom line is the results we obtain are never enough, regardless of the apps and processes we choose to run.

So, when a high CPU usage problem occurs we sort of panic. Nobody wants to deal with hangs, lags or any other bugs that can mess up your daily work – even if you just play your favorite game, experiencing hangs and lags is really annoying and frustrating.

Now, a common Windows 10 error that will issue high CPU usage is associated with the Windows Defender program. This is a built-in service that tries to keep your data and your personal info safe and secured all the time. This is Windows’ own antimalware program that can ensure a minimum of protection while you download stuffs, install new apps or web searching different pages.

Even though the Windows Defender is not a high performance-consumer, from time to time you can get errors within Task Manager. Yes, I’m talking about the MsMpEng.exe antimalware service executable issue that leads to high CPU usage.

Understanding why the MsMpEng.exe issues occur

The Windows Defender program is granting Real Time Protection which means that the antimalware software should scan everything that you do on your Windows 10 system. Additionally it will also perform a full scan – all your files and data will be verified. During this full scan the antivirus will require more resources than usual and that’s when you might experience the high CPU usage issue. Of course, if the scan runs it’s recommended to let the program do its job – do note that depending on the amount of files this scan can run between a few minutes and a few hours.

But, if the problem persists even after the scan ended you must act wisely in order to fix this Windows 10 error. And you might have to apply different troubleshoot solutions in order to solve the msmpeng.exe antimalware service that causes the high CPU usage issues. Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered.

How to solve MsMpEng.exe high CPU usage

Solution 1 — Adjust the Windows Defender schedule

If the MsMpEng.exe service is not set properly the antivirus program will initiate a full scan each time you switch-on your Windows 10 system or even after you return from Sleep mode. So, the first fix refers to adjusting the Windows Defender schedule, which can be achieved by following the next steps:

  1. Power-on your computer and from Desktop press the Win+R keyboard keys.
  2. The Search box will be displayed; there type: taskschd.msc. Click OK when done.taskschd.msc windows 10
  3. From Task Scheduler double-click on the Task Scheduler Library; from the expanded menu pick Microsoft and then click on Windows.task scheduler windows 10
  4. Scroll down until you find the Windows Defender entry. Click on it.
  5. From the main panel of the window double-click on Windows Defender Scheduled Scan.windows defender windows 10
  6. From the window that will be displayed switch to General tab and uncheck the Run with highest privileges option.
  7. Then, switch to Conditions tab and just uncheck all the checkboxes that are displayed under this tab.
  8. Save all these settings.

Include Antimalware service executable (MsMpEng.exe) to Windows Defender Exclusion list

If the steps from above aren’t working for you then you should add the msmpeng.exe executable file to the Windows Defender Exclusion list. In this way the program will no longer use high CPU resources, though it will be still running as usual.

  1. Open Windows Settings on your computer – press the Wind+I key combination.
  2. From there click on Update & Security.windows settings windows 10
  3. From the left panel choose Window Defender.
  4. Under Exclusions click on ‘Add an exclusion’.windows defender add an exclusion
  5. From the window that will be displayed scroll down and pick ‘Exclude a .exe, .com, or .scr process’.
  6. When asked, add msmpeng.exe to the list.

Turn off Windows Defender

Even though we don’t recommend this solution, if the high CPU usage issue is still there after completing the steps from above, you should consider disabling Windows Defender. But, you should use this troubleshooting method only if you have a security alternative already installed on your Windows 10 system. Anyway, here are the actual steps that can help you turn off Windows Defender:

  1. Press Win+R keyboard keys for accessing the Search box.
  2. Type gpedit.msc and click on OK.
  3. The Local Group Policy Editor will be now brought on your computer.
  4. From Group Policy use the left panel and navigate towards ‘Computer Configuration – > Administrative Templates – > Windows Components – > Windows Defender’.
  5. Head your attention towards the main panel of the window and find the option named Turn off Windows Defender; access this option.
  6. From the dialog that will show up select ‘disabled’ and click OK.
  7. That’s it; reboot the Windows 10 system in the end.

Conclusions

It’s never a good idea to play with security settings. That’s why, make sure you properly understand the high CPU usage by MsMpEng.exe antimalware service executable error first. Then, if you choose to disable the default Windows antimalware program, try to install another antivirus software. Do not any under circumstance use your Windows 10 computer without running an antivirus – this is the only way in which you can keep your personal files safe all the time.

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