How to Fix Antimalware Service Executable High CPU Usage?

You ever notice your PC running unusually slow at times? Instinctively, you open up Task Manager to find an unknown culprit known as “Antimalware Service Executable” consuming over 90% of your computer’s CPU. However, don’t panic and reset your entire PC. This is a rather common issue faced by many Windows users.

In fact, Antimalware Service Executable is a service application built by Windows itself. It’s a background process that runs within Windows Defender, Windows 10’s security, and anti-virus software. In this guide, we’ll show you how you can get rid of this pesky application, but first, let’s understand what this service really is.

What Is Antimalware Service Executable?

Why exactly does this service operate? Well, Antimalware Service Executable plays an important role in how Windows Defender monitors your Windows computer. Essentially, it’s a real-time protection feature that allows your computer to be continuously monitored for viruses, threats, and other forms of malware. Despite being a useful feature, it can cause the disproportionate use of your computer’s CPU.

Moreover, it’s common for users to experience this issue after updating to a later version of Windows or Windows Defender. After an update, Windows Defender resets its cache of trusted files, and therefore, has to be rebuilt. Unfortunately, this causes longer scans and increased cache-building work which ultimately results in elevated CPU levels.

You can also experience high CPU levels after performing a “Full Scan” through Windows Defender. This type of scan meticulously goes through each and every file in your computer, consequently exhausting your CPU. Even performing menial tasks such as watching videos during a Full Scan will feel like a stuttering nightmare.

Can This Service Be Stopped?

You’ve probably tried ending Antimalware Service Executable through task manager and ended up with something like this.

This may be discouraging, but don’t worry, this application can absolutely be stopped. It’s a background process, hence it’s not as simple as closing a front-end application on Windows. Nevertheless, we’ll guide you through the most resolute and efficient methods to get rid of Antimalware Service and bring your PC back up to the standard performance.

How To Stop Antimalware Service Executable?

Listed below are the best ways you can reduce the high CPU usage caused by Antimalware Service Executable. Note, some of these methods will alter system settings and if done incorrectly could cause irreversible damage to your computer. Therefore creating a restore point or backup is highly recommended.

Method #1: Disable Windows Defender Through Task Scheduler

By default, Windows Defender will perform scans when your computer is plugged into a power outlet. Hence by unchecking all task-scheduling conditions, you’ll essentially disable Windows Defender.

  1. Open the “Run” box by pressing WINDOWS KEY + R. Type in “taskschd.msc” and hit Enter.
  2. Now on the left-hand side of the Task-Scheduler application, navigate through the folders Task Scheduler Library>Microsoft>Windows and then double-click on the Windows Defender Folder.
  3. Double-click Windows Defender Scheduled Scan.
  4. In the General tab, uncheck “Run with highest privileges”.In the Conditions tab, make sure everything is left unchecked and press OK.

Method #2: Disable Windows Defender Using Registry Editor

Now this more of a permanent solution to disable Windows Defender, and hence stop Antimalware Service Execetuable’s high CPU usage. Before you perform any edits to the registry, we recommend you perform a backup of the current state your registry keys. We’ll explain everything in the instructions below.

  1. Open the “Run” box by pressing WINDOWS KEY + R. Type in “regedit” and hit Enter.
  2. In the registry editor select File, then “Export” and choose any save location to create a backup of your registry editor. If anything goes wrong, you can choose “Import” to bring your Registry to its previous state.
  3. Now within the Registry Editor, navigate through the folders in the following order: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender
  4. Double-click on the ‘DisableAntiSpyware’ located on the right-hand side. A new window will open to edit the DWORD. Change the “Value Data” to 1.

Method #3: Use A Third-Party Antivirus Software

If the issue still persists (unlikely after following the methods above), we recommend you replace Windows Defender with free third-party software. The instant you install another antivirus software, Windows Defender will disable itself and prevent the Antimalware Service Executable process from running. Additionally, when you install another antivirus product, you’ll get access to Windows Defender’s “Limited periodic scanning” feature. This feature will only perform quick scans and keep real-time protection disabled. Hence, there shouldn’t be any issues with elevated CPU usage.

Which third-party antivirus software you choose to use is completely up to you. However, I have personally experimented with Kaspersky Security Cloud Free and found it to be the most secure and easy to use alternative to Windows Defender. It provides excellent malware protection and minimal impact on system performance whilst scanning. Moreover, it has some extra perks such as a file shredder, data cleaner, privacy cleaner, and a scan scheduler. You can also experiment with some other great alternatives such as Malwarebytes and Bitdefender.

Final Words:

Basically there are two ways you can go about getting rid of high CPU usage caused by Antimalware Service Executable. You can either alter the system settings to turn it off. Or, you can install a free third-party AV software to automatically disable Windows Defender. Disabling Windows Defender could potentially put your computer at risk.

This is because real-time protection is an excellent and effective security feature despite its overwhelming CPU usage. By downloading a trusted and secure anti-virus software you can get the protection you need and the ability to toggle Windows Defender on or off.

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