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Filed Under: General Errors   

Msmpeng.exe – What is it?

The mspeng.exe file is the antimalware detection engine used by Microsoft Windows Defender and Windows Live OneCare. The mspeng.exe process scans your files for spyware infections. This process removes or quarantines the spyware, worms, trojans or any other malware it detects on your computer.

In a nutshell, mspeng.exe is an important process that provides you real time protection against malware programs.

Is it safe to remove the msmpeng.exe process?

As described above, msmpeng.exe is a critical component of Windows Defender and Windows Live OneCare and provides your computer real time protection against malware.

If you do not use a third-party protective tool, then do not disable this process. Removing this process, in such a scenario will make your computer vulnerable to malware attacks.

On the other hand, if you use a reliable third-party antimalware program, one which provides you real time protection, then you can disable this process without compromising your system’s security.

Msmpeng.exe – High CPU Usage Issue

One issue that Windows users have with the msmpeng.exe process is its high CPU consumption.

If you find that the msmpeng.exe process consumes high CPU resources for 2-3 minutes when you start your computer or resume it from Standby, then you do not need to worry. This is normal.

The reason this happens is because the msmpeng.exe file scans processes and other real time activities as programs that are loaded into memory. When you start your Windows computer or resume it from Standby, lots of processes access RAM simultaneously and are swapping memory from the disk. The greater the number of processes or activities, the more msmpeng.exe needs to scan and the longer time it will take.

In some cases, users have complained of the msmpeng.exe process constantly hogging high CPU usage resources, resulting in frequent system slow downs. This is not normal behavior. Typically, this occurs when one or more processes interfere with the msmpeng.exe file.

To resolve the msmpeng.exe high CPU usage issue, you can either try to identify the process that is interfering with msmpeng.exe or disable msmpeng.exe from starting automatically. The latter should be chosen only when you have alternate protection installed on your computer.

To identify the process that may be interfering with msmpeng.exe, run the msconfig command to open the System Configuration Dialog box. Next, disable all the listed Startup Items under the Startup tab and restart your computer. Monitor your computer’s performance and msmpeng.exe CPU consumption. If your computer is working like normal, then enable the first Startup Item and restart your computer. Repeat the process until you identify the process that is interfering with the msmpeng.exe file. After you have identified the culprit you may choose to disable it.

If you don’t want the msmpeng.exe to run automatically, then perform the following steps:

  1. Click Start and then click Control Panel.
  2. Next, double-click Administrative Tools.
  3. Now, double-click Services to open its corresponding window.
  4. Locate Windows Defender or Windows Live OneCare and double-click it.
  5. Next, select Manual from the Startup type drop-down list under the General tab.
  6. Click Apply and then click OK.

Msmpeng.exe – Security Rating

The genuine msmpeng.exe file is a safe file. However, many malware programs are recorded to use a malicious file by the same name.

If you don’t use Windows Defender or Windows Live OneCare but find msmpeng.exe running on your computer, then chances are that your PC is infected. The same goes if you see multiple instances of msmpeng.exe running in the Windows Task Manager window.

If you suspect your system may be infected with the msmpeng.exe virus, then perform a complete virus scan using a reliable antivirus tool. Further, after you have removed the malicious msmpeng.exe file run a registry scan. Malware programs often add incorrect or harmful entries into the registry. To keep your registry clean and intact you need to remove such harmful entries. You may use a reliable registry cleaner, such as RegGenie, to ensure that your registry remains free from unwanted and harmful entries.

Additional Recommendations...

Driver Update: Many errors are related to driver problems such as obsolete, outdated or incompatible drivers. A driver update tool is recommended to scan your system for corrupted and outdated drivers and to ensure that all your drivers stay up-to-date.