Solution To Msmpeng.exe High CPU Usage Issue

The msmpeng.exe file is an important component of Microsoft Windows Defender and Windows Live OneCare.

The main job of themsmpeng.exe file is to scan files when they are loaded for malware infection. The process is equipped to delete or quarantine any malware that it finds while performing a scan.

Msmpeng.exe shows 85%-95% CPU usage for 2-3 minutes when I start my computer, what should I do?

This is quite normal. Typically when you load your computer, a lot of programs are automatically loaded into the memory. Remember from above that the msmpeng.exe process provides real-time protection by scanning files and processes as they load into memory.  During system startup, msmspeng.exe has to scan a large number of processes and it is often found to report high CPU usage for 2-3 minutes when your computer starts.

Msmpeng.exe constantly shows high CPU usage on my computer.  What should I do?

If msmpeng.exe is constantly showing high CPU usage and causing frequent system slow downs, this is not normal behavior. Typically, this happens when one or more processes running on your computer are preventing the msmpeng.exe from functioning normally.

Possible Solutions

To resolve the issue, you may use either one of the following methods:

Method 1 – Identify and remove the process(s) that is conflicting with msmpeng.exe

To identify the conflicting process(s), first open the System Configuration utility dialog box by running the msconfig command. Next, click the Startup tab and clear all the checkboxes. Restart your computer and monitor its performance. Check if the msmpeng.exe is behaving normally and not reporting high CPU usage.

Next, open the System Configuration utility box again, click the Startup tab, select the first Startup Item and restart your computer. Again monitor your computer’s performance to see if msmpeng.exe is behaving normally. Repeat this process by selecting one startup item at a time to determine the process(s) that is conflicting with msmpeng.exe.

After you have determined the process(s) that is conflicting with msmpeng.exe, disable it to resolve the msmpeng.exe high CPU usage issue.

Method 2 – Prevent msmpeng.exe from running automatically

To do this, you need to disable Windows Defender or Windows Live OneCare.

Warning: Disabling Windows Defender or Windows Live OneCare when no other protective software is installed on your computer will make your computer vulnerable to malware attacks. It is recommended that you use this method only when you are also using another reliable protective program besides Windows Defender or Windows Live OneCare.

  1. Click Start, click Run, type services.msc, and press Enter.
  2. Next, in the right pane of the Services window, locate and double-click Windows Defender or Windows Live OneCare.
  3. Now, select Manual from the Startup type drop-down menu, under the General tab.
  4. Click Apply to save your changes and click OK to exit the dialog box.

Msmpeng.exe – Security Report

The genuine msmpeng.exe is a safe file that helps in keeping your computer safe from malware programs. Ironically, various malware programs are known to masquerade as the msmpeng.exe file. Therefore, it is important that you ensure that only the genuine msmpeng.exe file is running on your computer.

For your reference, listed below are malware that are known to be associated with the msmpeng.exe file:

Worm:Win32/Autorun.FH [Microsoft]
Win32/Kashu.B [AhnLab]
Win32.HLLW.Spreader.17 [Ikarus]
W32/Sality-AM [Sophos]
Bloodhound.Unknown [Symantec]
Trojan.DL.AutoIT.AK [PC Tools]
Trojan-Downloader.Win32.AutoIt.s [Kaspersky Lab]
W32.Killaut.A [Symantec]
W32/Sality.gen [McAfee]
PE_SALITY.EK [Trend Micro]
PE_SALITY.EN-1 [Trend Micro]
Generic Downloader.x [McAfee]
Mal/Generic-A [Sophos]
TROJ_UTOTI.AD [Trend Micro]
W32/YahLover.worm [McAfee]
W32/Autorun.worm.g [McAfee]
Trojan-Downloader.Win32.AutoIt.s [Ikarus]
WORM_UTOTI.BL [Trend Micro]