Fix High CPU Usage Caused by Antimalware Service Executable

05/20/2019     Author: Billy Gray

Antimalware Service Executable was introduced in Windows 7 and continues to run on Windows 10. It takes up a lot of CPU usage. Here’s what it is and how to solve it.


Antimalware Service Executable was introduced in Windows 7 and has stuck around since to protect your computer against external threats. It is part of the Windows Defender program and it’s actually a good thing to have active if you’re looking to keep your device secure.

A good example of how it works is when you connect an external hard drive or USB stick to your computer. Antimalware Service Executable will scan its contents and isolate any potential threats it finds before they can infect your device.

Thing is, this service can take up a massive amount of your computer’s CPU power. At times it can push it to 100% of power usage – which is very bad for your computer.

What is Windows Antimalware Service Executable?

As mentioned above, Windows Antimalware Service Executable is the default antivirus program for the latest versions of Windows.

So, why is it taking up so much of my CPU?

If Antimalware Service Executable is taking up lots of your CPU power, then it’s likely that it’s performing a scan on your device. Like any other antivirus software, it will search for malware that has infected your computer, isolate it, and remove it.

You might already have an antivirus program installed, such as Avast or McAfee, but if it’s out of date then Windows Defender will step in and take over. Basically, it’s going to work keeping your device secure.

Is it dangerous to remove it?

Not if you’re using another antivirus program. But it’s important that whatever you’re using is constantly up-to-date. Viruses are always changing and the latest updates to antimalware programs are designed to meet the latest threats head on. If yours is out of date, then it can’t protect you against the latest viruses.

Computer viruses have their own form of evolution. In fact, they’re the closest thing humanity has made to real AI. Once a computer virus is out there infecting computers, sometimes it will randomly mutate. As antimalware programs kill the original virus, the mutated version will sometimes be better at evading this and thus it will start infecting more computers. This means that a virus is now out there that no human programmed – it created itself and will continue to evolve in order to escape antimalware programs.

How to remove Windows Antimalware Service Executable

Assuming you’ve decided that you want to get rid of Antimalware Service Executable, here’s how to do so. As mentioned above, make sure you have another antivirus program installed and kept up-to-date.

The first way to do this is to change the Windows schedule.

  1. First, press Windows + R to open the Run box.
  2. Type msc to open the Task Scheduler box.
  3. Then follow this path: Task Scheduler (Local) > Task Scheduler Library > Microsoft > Windows > Windows Defender.
  4. Find the Windows Defender Scheduled Scan task and double-click it.
  5. Once the Properties tab is open, navigate to Conditions tab and uncheck all the boxes.
  6. Press OK.

    Nuclear option: Turn off Windows Defender

    The above method will stop Windows Defender from scanning in these particular cases while still keeping the software active, thus protecting your device. Although, if you want an easier method then you can simply go to Settings > Update and Security > Windows Defender > Turn off.

    Turning off Windows Defender is only a good idea if you have a good antivirus protection software installed and constantly kept up-to-date.

    We only recommend this if you’re getting really high CPU usage out of Windows Antimalware Service Executable. If this is the case, then it’s likely that there’s something wrong with Windows Defender and it’s probably best to just turn it off.

    In any case, keeping your device secure is always a priority. But if doing this with Windows Defender means running your CPU to near burn-out levels, then we don’t recommend using it anymore. There are plenty of quality antimalware software out there nowadays that are kept up-to-date against the latest threats. Good luck.

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