MsMpEng.exe | Microsoft Windows Defender Antispyware

Should you remove the MsMpEng.exe file, part of Microsoft’s Windows Defender Antispyware software? We investigate.

window showing msmpengeexe location

If you recently came across this MsMpEng.exe executable file in your program files and you couldn’t recognize it or even tell whether you should keep it or not, or if you should delete or perhaps even run diagnostics, this article will inform you about everything you need to know about this MsMpEng.exe file. So, before you permanently delete it for draining your CPU power and resources, keep reading.

What is MsMpEng.exe?

MsMpEng.exe refers to the executable file or the program that runs your computer’s Microsoft Windows Defender Antispyware. This MsMpEng.exe file is used by the Microsoft Internet Security application. As you can tell from the program it runs, MsMpEng.exe is a security product, and it serves as a defense application that protects your computer from unwanted software and spyware. 

Thanks to Windows Defender, you can run quick or full scans on your computer. You could also use this application to run custom scans on specific repositories. Therefore, it is recommended that you never close of the process through your task manager and if you need to remove it, you should do so by removing the closed application.

Just like other virus or malware detectors, this application requires regular updates which ensure that the application utilizes the latest spyware or virus definitions. The Update section of the application allows these updates. 

Some of the primary roles of the MsMpEng.exe file include the removal, quarantine, and the prevention of spyware infections. MsMpEng.exe also searches for trojans and worms in your system, not just spyware.

To perform all these functions as expected, the MsMpEng.exe file framework is based on the GIANT Antispyware. GIANT Spyware is a product of the GIANT Company Software, Inc.

Besides scanning and detecting worms and trojans, Windows Defender also features a number of real-time Security Agents which are used to check specific areas of the Windows operating system to ensure that there are unsafe and risky programs running. For example, you could use the MsMpEng.exe file to remove the ActiveX applications. 

Is MsMpEng.exe Safe? Should I Remove It?

Overall, the MsMpEng.exe file is one file you want in your computer as it keeps things safe and efficient. So, MsMpEng.exe is safe, ordinarily. 

picture of window showing MsMPengexe

The MsMpEng.exe file is a non-system process that originates from the software you install on your computer system – such a system stores its data in your hard disk and within your system’s registry. Should your computer suffer fragmentation or if it accumulates many invalid entries, your PC’s performance is affected?

Therefore, a malfunction in your MsMpEng.exe file will severely hurt your PC’s performance by taking up more CPU resources that needed. In most cases, a malfunction, issues, or errors in this executable file cause significant CPU usage issues.

According to the experts, one of the ways of determining the safety or the harmfulness of the MsMpEng.exe file is by checking its location. Your MsMpEng.exe file should be in the C:\Program Files\Windows Defender folder. So, if you find it elsewhere, the MsMpEng.exe file you are looking at is a Trojan. 

Can You and Should You Remove It?

As a non-system process, you could remove the file because it isn’t involved in the running of your operating system. The MsMpEng.exe file is just an application by Microsoft, utilized by Microsoft Internet Security.

So, if it turns out that you no longer use Microsoft’s Internet Security, you could permanently remove the security application, and by extension the MsMpEng.exe file. 

To remove the MsMpEng.exe file from your computer – Press Windows + R simultaneously then type in ‘appwiz.cpl’ and located Microsoft Internet Security from the list of your installed programs. Once you find it, click on Uninstall.

When is MsMpEng.exe Not Safe?

Although this file is generally considered safe and not CPU-intensive, it might be an issue when the MsMpEng.exe file uses too much of your CPU resources. 

When this happens, you need to act and resolve the issues. You could do different things to resolve the problem, but here are some of the best solutions for you:

1. Turn off Windows Defender

To do this open, the Run Command then type in gpedit.msc then click OK. 

On the Local Group Policy Editor window which opens up, go to the Local Computer Policy > Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Defender. 

Now click on Windows Defender. On the right-hand side area of your window, find Turn off Windows Defender and then double-click on it. On the pop-up window, select the Disabled option and then click OK. 

2. Stop Windows Defender from Scanning Its Directory

If you are struggling with high CPU usage because of your MsMpEng.exe file, the most logical approach to resolving the problem is stopping the file from scanning. The steps below highlight the steps you should, depending on the Windows operating system you use.

For Windows 10:

  • Open your Windows Defender or the Microsoft Security Essentials on your PC and then click on the Settings. In the Settings window, scroll down the window until you find Exclusion (should be on the right pane). Click on Add an Exclusion.
  • Choose the option to Exclude a File. In the window that appears, type in MsMpEng.exe and select the Exclude this File option. 

For the other Windows users, note that the MsMpEng.exe file location will differ by being in different sections of your program files in Local Disk C. For example, users of Windows 8 and 10 will find it under Windows Defender while users of Windows 7, XP and Vista will find it under the Microsoft Security Client. 

Regardless of the Windows operating system, you’re using, the file in question will be excluded as soon as you hit Exclude this File. When the exclusion is complete, restart your computer. 

3. Limiting CPU Usage

If you’re struggling with high CPU usage, you can deal with the MsMpEng.exe file by following these steps:

  • For users of Windows 10 – On your start menu, type in Task Manager, then click to open. 
  • On the open Task Manager App, go to Details tab then look for MsMpEng.exe and right-click it. Now click on Set Affinity and then choose your preferred CPU limit.
  • If you use Windows 7, go to the Windows Task Manager, click on the Processes tab, then select MsMpEng.exe and right-click it. Set the CPU limit by clicking on Set Affinity. 

4. Starting Computer in Safe Mode

If this executable file is resulting in high CPU usage, it might be time for you to check for and to get rid of malware from the computer. For this, you should scan your device for malware by starting the computer in the safe mode. Follow these steps:

  1. On the start menu, go to Settings and then select Update & Security.
  2. Next, choose the Recovery Option.
  3. In the Advanced Startup, select Restart Now.

And just like that, you can identify and fix issues with the MsMpEng.exe file.

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