What is msmpeng.exe Process and Why It Causes High RAM Usage?

While investigating the Windows 10 processes in Task Manager you can face with msmpeng.exe or Antimalware Service Executable. Sometimes it causes a very high RAM usage making work on your machine uncomfortable. In this article we will take a closer look on the process, why it can load your CPU and how to fix this.

What is Antimalware Service Executable (MsMpEng.exe)?

Msmpeng.exe is a basic background process of Windows 10 built-in Windows Defender antivirus, it is run by default.

While Antimalware Service Executable is running, the Windows Defender checks all downloads and programs for virus infections, malware etc. It also performs an automatic hard drives scanning periodically.

Why msmpeng.exe Causes High RAM Usage?

Even when working properly the Antimalware Service Executable (or msmpeng.exe) can use a lot of system resources, but in most cases this is happening shortly and only in specific situations.

antimalware service executable

In case your Windows 10 is functioning properly, the issue with msmpeng.exe can appear in the next situations:

  1. Right after boot or after some time (after a few minutes on some old laptops);
  2. When you leave your computer for some time and then an automatic maintenance starts;
  3. While installing applications and games, unpacking archives, downloading executable files from Internet;
  4. While running application etc.

It’s important to mention that in some cases msmpeng.exe can also cause high resources usage because of other issues. In such cases the following tips can help you fix the problem:

  1. Check if the CPU load is similar after you are using Shut down button to turn off your computer and when you are using Restart button in your Start menu. In case after the restart everything is OK, you might need to disable some applications to auto start during Windows boot;
  2. In case you have an old version of other third-party antivirus software installed on your computer, it can cause a conflict between Windows Defender and the software. You can try to completely remove this software;
  3. In case when Windows Defender “missed” the virus or malware and your machine has been infected, Antimalware Service Executable process can cause a high RAM usage. In such cases you can try to use an advanced antimalware and/or antivirus tool;
  4. Sometimes msmpeng.exe can cause a high disk usage you need to check the PC’s hard drive for errors (by running chkdsk command);
  5. In a few situations issue could be caused by a third-party application or service.  You need to perform a clean boot of Windows 10. If everything seems to be fine after that, you need to check all third-party applications for issues by running them one by one.
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Most often msmpeng.exe issue doesn’t mean your computer infected with virus or malware, but you need to check this too. Go to Task manager, right click on MsMpEng.exe process and choose Open file location from context menu. In case it is located in C:\Program Files\Windows Defender, most likely everything is OK and your machine is not infected (you can do one more check and take a look at file’s signature it must have a Microsoft digital signature).

msmpeng exe properties

How to Disable msmpeng.exe?

It’s important to mention that we don’t recommend you to disable msmpeng.exe if it’s only sometimes loads your CPU and everything works fine. But you have an option to disable Antimalware Service Executable follow the instructions below:

  1. If you want to disable msmpeng.exe for a short time, go to Windows Defender Security Center (type it in search and run it) -> Virus & threat protection -> Virus & threat protection settings;
    msmpeng exe protection settings
  2. Turn off Real-time protection option. You will see that the process msmpeng.exe is still running, but its CPU load decreased to zero (the system will enable virus and threat protection automatically after a short time);
  3. There is one more option to perform you can disable all built-in antivirus defense on Windows 10, but it’s not recommended to do this;

That’s all! Hope this article helped you to fix the issues with msmpeng.exe (Antimalware Service Executable)!

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