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MsMpEng.EXE in MSE: necessary? desirable?

MsMpEng.EXE in MSE: necessary? desirable?

MsMpEng.EXE in MSE: necessary? desirable?

I have an old Windows 7 machine running Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE). About three times a day. the machine seizes up. To be more precise, there is a large amount of disk activity (the hard disk light rapidly flickers on and off the whole time), and the system does not respond to key presses or mouse clicks. This usually goes on for five minutes or more.

When this happens, Task Manager usually show System Idle Process taking around 95% of CPU, with the rest taken mainly by scvhost.

Process Monitor, on the other hand, shows a great deal of activity by MsMpEng.EXE. I understand that MsMpEng.EXE is responsible for real-time AV scanning in MSE. However, I am surprised that this goes on for many minutes at a time, even when the machine is otherwise idle.

So, is this excessive disk activity normal? Is it doing anything useful? Is there any way I can get rid of it?

Would I have similar problems with a third-party AV program? (I know that Microsoft will end support for MSE in a couple of years time, but in the meantime I wasn't planning to replace it.)

Thanks in advance for any help.


Mike Lewis (Edinburgh, Scotland)

Visual FoxPro articles, tips and downloads

RE: MsMpEng.EXE in MSE: necessary? desirable?

I didn't get a reply from this question, so I decided to jump in and disable real-time AV protection in MSE. When I did that, the problem immediately vanished. For several days, peace reigned. No more disk thrashing; no more long waits to regain use of the machine.

But of course that is not a sustainable solution. I have been doing a full scan overnight, but that doesn't replace real-time protection. So I decided to test other anti-virus products. Yesterday I installed Avast. But my initial impression is that this is even worse than MSE.

I'll probably try one or two others. But I'm not optimistic. Is this constant slowing-down of the computer simply the price that has to be paid for keeping malware away?

I'd be interested in any comments or observations.


Mike Lewis (Edinburgh, Scotland)

Visual FoxPro articles, tips and downloads

RE: MsMpEng.EXE in MSE: necessary? desirable?

I stopped using Avast for that reason. On my personal computers, I use Sophos Home. However, there is a momentary lapse as it scans a program or file whenever I click on it. On newer PC, this isn't noticeable but on older, slow machines, it is.

My company uses Webroot SecureAnywhere Endpoint Protection. It doesn't seem to slow things down.

I suspect that with Win 7, your machine is a slower PC. Just about any protection will cause a slowdown. Are you using a SSD? That helped a lot on some older PCs.

James P. Cottingham
I'm number 1,229!
I'm number 1,229!

RE: MsMpEng.EXE in MSE: necessary? desirable?

Thanks for that, James. You are right that the slowdown is only noticeable on my older Windows 7 machine. I've never noticed a problem on either of our Windows 10 computers. The Win 7 machine doesn't have a SSD; it is something to keep in mind.

With Avast, the slowdown had become intolerable, so I have just uninstalled it. I guess I will stick with MSE for now, at least for as long as they continue to provide updates.


Mike Lewis (Edinburgh, Scotland)

Visual FoxPro articles, tips and downloads

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