How to Run Windows Defender Scan on Schedule in Windows 10

Using the task scheduler, you can schedule custom Windows defender scan in Windows 10. Follow the below steps to do so.

Windows Defender is the built-in antivirus in Windows 10. It runs silently in the background and provides you the realtime protection from all kinds of threats. When compared to third-party antivirus solutions, Windows Defender is no less. In fact, Windows Defender got a perfect score in antivirus test by AV-Test. Most of all, Windows Defender doesn’t bother users with unnecessary notifications or upgrade prompts like the other antivirus solutions. It just works.

Generally, Windows Defender automatically performs a quick scan on your system every once in a while to make sure that there are no threats. However, this scan is pretty minimal and only looks at important system components and folders. If you can want, you can create your own Windows Defender scheduled task to scan your system periodically. For instance, I’ve scheduled Windows defender to perform a malware scan once every week.

So, without further ado, let me show how you can create a scheduled task to run Windows Defender custom scan in Windows 10.

You need to have administrative privileges to set up and run the Windows defender scheduled task.

Schedule Windows Defender Virus Scan

1. First, open the start menu, search for “Task Scheduler” and click on the result to open the task scheduler application.

2. In the task scheduler, click on the “Create Basic Task” option appearing on the rightmost panel of the window.

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3. In the task wizard, enter a proper name and description for the task and click “Next” to continue. The name you enter will appear in the task list inside task scheduler.

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4. Now, select when you want to start the task. In my case, I want to run it once every week. So, I selected “Weekly”. You can select any one of the first three options.

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5. Here, set the date, time, and weekday to run the task. In my case, I’m configuring the task to run at 12 PM every Sunday. Click “Next” to continue.

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6. Select “Start a program” radio option and click “Next” to proceed.

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7. In this window, type "%ProgramFiles%\Windows Defender\MpCmdRun.exe" in the Program/script field. Next, enter one of the following arguments in the Add Arguments field.

  • For malware scan
-Scan -ScanType 2
  • For quick scan
-Scan -ScanType 1
  • To scan a particular folder (replace FOLDER/PATH with the actual folder path you’d like to scan.
-Scan -ScanType 3 -File "FOLDER/PATH"
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8. Now, select the “Open properties dialog for this task when I finish” checkbox and click on the “Finish” button.

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9. In the properties window, select the radio option “Run whether the user is logged on or not” and “Run with highest privileges” checkbox.

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10. (optional for desktop users) Next, go to the Conditions tab and make sure that both “Start the task only if the computer is on AC power” and “Stop if computer switches to battery power” checkboxes are selected.

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11. Click on the “Ok” button to save changes.

12. Since the task needs to run with admin privileges, you will be prompted for admin username and password. Enter the authentication details and click the “Ok” button to continue.

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Wrapping Up

That is it. From now on, Windows Defender will scan your computer on schedule according to the scan type you chose.

If you ever want to stop the task, find it in the task scheduler, right-click on it and select “Disable”. You can also remove it from the same menu.

Hope that helps. If you are stuck or need some help, comment below and I will try to help as much as possible.

Here are a couple more articles on Windows Defender.

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