What is Antimalware Service Executable and do I need it?

What is Antimalware Service Executable and do I need it?

Antimalware Service Executable is the core process of the default antivirus and antimalware service in Windows 10 and 11. This articile explains what the process does, whether your computer needs it, and why it may consume a lot of energy.

What is Antimalware Service Executable?

Antimalware Service Executable is a process that belongs to Windows Security, a pre-installed antivirus and malware protection application previously known as Windows Defender. If you are familiar with the Windows Task Manager, you may have come across Antimalware Service Executable under the "Processes Tab".

The process is also known as msmpeng.exe. By default, Antimalware Service Executable is a permanently active process. It runs in the background to scan the files that you open, it checks for potentially malicious software, and it update new virus definitions. Whenever the service detects a virus or attack, it will either be deleted or quarantined.

© Microsoft Windows

Do I need Antimalware Service Executable?

Windows Security and Microsoft Defender are designed to assure that users of Windows 10 and Windows 11 are consistently protected against malware, viruses, and cyberattacks, without the need of installing a third-party security solution. Thus, it can be considered an essential element of the Windows operating system. Antimalware Service Executable is the main process of Windows Security, and the process needs to be active in order to keep your PC or laptop protected.

That said, it is up to you to decide whether you want to rely on Windows Security to keep your system safe, or rather choose to make use of a third-party antivirus software. While Windows Security offers basic and decent quality cybersecurity protection, there are many other free and paid solutions on the market that provide more sophisticated protection, besides having more advanced features. The following CCM article is a good resource to explore the best free alternatives to Windows Security.

As soon as a third-party antivirus or antimalware application is installed, then Windows Security will automatically disable itself. We strongly recommend against disabling Windows Security when you have not installed an alternative antivirus solution, as this will imply many vulnerabilities.

There does exist a way to temporally deactivate Windows Security. You can do so by heading to the Start Menu and then type "Windows Security" in the search bar. Open the application and select Virus and threat protection. From here, under Virus and threat protection settings, click on Manage settings. Now you can switch the Real-time protection option to Off.

© Microsoft Windows

Keep in mind that this will only disable the antivirus protection. Windows will automatically reactivate the service within a short time, given that no other antivirus apps are installed on your PC or laptop.

Why is Antimalware Service Executable using so much memory?

The reason for the relatively high CPU usage of the Antimalware Service Executable process is that it actively scans for files and applications carried out by the user. In other words, the service constantly runs in the background. Especially on computers with limited system resources, Antimalware Service Executable can have a high impact on the overall performance of the system. If you feel that Windows Security slows down your PC, you may want to consider looking for a third-party antivirus software with lower resource usage.

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Windows 10