What Does Antivirus Service Executable Mean? The Ultimate Guide in 2023!

The antimalware service executable, also known as MsMpEng.exe, may be wasting your resources if your computer is running slowly. While it is possible to disable it, it is advisable to be aware of the process’s goals and how doing so can compromise your PC’s security.

What Is Antimalware Service Executable?

The antimalware service executable, as its name suggests, assists in protecting your computer against malware and other infection threats. It is the background process for the built-in Microsoft Defender antivirus program and is shown in Task Manager as MsMpEng.exe. Windows Defender was the previous name for Microsoft Defender.

It is intended to function similarly to other antivirus programs by operating continuously in the background. This aids in defending you against threats in real-time. When it’s operating, it performs routine antivirus activities including scanning downloaded and opened files, checking your computer for threats, updating itself, and more.

The antimalware service executable process requires greater resources when doing scans and updates. Many kinds of antivirus tools share this trait. They frequently consume more resources when consumption is at its peak. After a scan or update, though, the utilization ought to decrease once more. As you can see in the screenshot above, RAM use increased as I ran an update. This decreased after the upgrade was complete to roughly 150 MB or less.

Should the Antimalware Service Executable Process Be Disabled?

antimalware service executable

You can leave the antimalware service executable process active as long as it isn’t running constantly at full speed. But, you might wish to disable it if you’re experiencing problems with ongoing resource consumption.

Disabling the process and even Microsoft Defender is perfectly OK. Although it’s included, you’re not obligated to utilize it. Install a different antivirus program first, as doing so risks making your system vulnerable. While Windows Security is a fairly thorough system, you can be safe without antivirus with the proper precautions.

The Antimalware Service Executable process can be momentarily disabled in Task Manager, but it will reactivate after a machine restart.

If the task is giving you problems, press Win + X to access the Power User menu and end it. Then, choose “Task Manager.”

“End task” can be chosen by right-clicking the Antimalware Service Executable.

Microsoft Defender is turned off for the remainder of your session.

Disable Microsoft Defender

You can momentarily turn off Microsoft Defender if you’d prefer not to utilize it. By doing this, the anti-malware service executable will no longer run. That will only disable Microsoft Defender; it won’t remove it. Some users find that it stays off after a restart, but usually, it comes back on.

  • “Settings -> Update & Security -> Windows Security” should be visited.
  • In the right pane, click “Open Windows Security” to access Microsoft Defender settings. “Virus & threat protection” should be selected.
  • Under “Virus & threat protection settings,” click “Manage settings.
  • ” Real-time protection” and “Cloud-delivered protection” should be toggled off.

However, this is only a short-term solution. The Group Policy Editor allows you to permanently disable it, although Windows 10 and 11 Home editions don’t have this feature. Even the Group Policy option is not available in some more recent versions of Windows 10 or 11 Pro.


1. Antimalware Service Executable high CPU usage

antimalware service executable

This service’s high CPU use is primarily caused by the fact that it is checking your computer for malware. You can select “Quick scan” as the default scan type in the “Virus & threat protection” screen (under “Windows Security”) to use fewer system resources.

2. “Access Denied” to Antimalware Service Executable

antimalware service executable

If you attempt to terminate the executable process using Task Manager but receive the error message “Access Forbidden,” you must first turn off Microsoft Defender using the steps from earlier in the tutorial before attempting to terminate the process using Task Manager.

Read More: What Is Apex Launcher? Everything You Need to Know in 2023!

3. Two Antimalware Service Executable process running at once.

antimalware service executable

Occasionally, more than one Antimalware process may be active at once, as you may have noticed in Task Manager. This is entirely typical. You should be able to expand one of the processes to observe that Windows Defender/app, Security’s “Microsoft Defender Antivirus Service,” is active.

The “Content Process,” the second process, controls virus definitions. To maintain the service operating effectively, both of these are crucial.

You will have to find a different way to resolve the heavy use problem because you cannot permanently shut down the service. Keeping Microsoft Defender up to date is the simplest solution. The Windows Updates contain these. To solve any problems you might be encountering, install the most recent updates.

Download and use the Microsoft Safety Scanner program if you think you might already be infected. Possible culprits include malware that managed to evade Microsoft Defender and cause havoc. This utility contains the most recent virus definitions to get rid of malware and restore your machine to working order.

The antimalware service executable is generally not a cause for concern. See our article on whether you need antivirus software if you already have Windows Defender for more information on Windows security. Check out our list of the most recent Windows update issues and solutions as well.

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