2 Quick Ways to Schedule Windows Defender Scan

Windows Defender has become integral to the Windows Security suite of tools. With it, you can actively protect your computer from online and offline threats and set up your computer to scan itself automatically at certain times. However, you can’t turn this feature on through the Windows Security app. Don’t worry, though! This article will guide you through two quick ways to schedule a Windows Defender antivirus scan.

Schedule Windows Defender Scan

You get multiple options when scanning your computer using Windows Defender. And by scheduling Windows Defender, you can not only leverage the program but also safeguard your files and folders on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis without interfering with settings. That said, let’s jump right into the methods.

How to Schedule a Microsoft Defender Antivirus Scan

When you aren’t working or have put your computer to sleep, you can simply allow Windows Defender to scan the device. Here’s how to do it.

Step 1: Press Windows Key on your keyboard, type Task Scheduler, and click on ‘Run as administrator.’

type Task Scheduler

Step 2: In the left panel, double-click on ‘Task Scheduler Library’ and double-click on Microsoft.

double-click Task Scheduler Library

Step 3: Select Windows and double-click on it. Now, scroll down and double-click on Windows Defender.

scroll down to find Windows Defender

Step 4: In the middle pane, right-click on the ‘Windows Defender Scheduled Scan’ task and select Properties.

Right-click on the 'Windows Defender Scheduled Scan task

Step 5: Go to the Triggers tab.

go to the Triggers tab

Step 6: Click on New at the bottom to create a new trigger.

New button in the bottom left-hand corner

Step 7: Select ‘On a schedule’ in the ‘Begin the task’ drop-down menu.

Check if 'On a schedule' is selected

Step 8: Now, select the frequency of the scan from the Settings option. 

Note: You can choose to run the scan once or multiple times in a day, week, or month. 

Select the frequency of the scan

Step 9: Choose your preferred time to run the Windows Defender scan in Start. 

Tip: You can play with the Advanced settings to tweak the functions.

Choose your preferred time

Step 10: Finally, check the Enabled option and hit OK.

Check the Enabled option

Now, if your PC is running on low battery power or has switched from AC power to battery power, you can also set a condition to void the Windows Defender scanning schedule.

Step 11: Now, select the Conditions tab.

Go to the Conditions tab

Step 12: Check the ‘Stop if the computer switches to battery power’ option and hit OK.

check 'Stop if the computer switches to battery power' option

That’s it! From now on, your PC will automatically run Windows Defender at the set time. Sometimes, the task or Windows Defender you set to scan your PC automatically doesn’t function properly. Moreover, there are instances where you might get an error 0x2. To avoid this, you can schedule a custom scan.

Schedule a Windows Defender Antivirus Custom Scan

You can set up a custom scan to automatically run Windows Defender without complications. Follow the steps below.

Step 1: Press Windows Key on your keyboard, type Task Scheduler, and click on ‘Run as administrator.’

type Task Scheduler

Step 2: In the left panel of Task Scheduler, right-click on ‘Task Scheduler Library’ and select New Folder from the context menu.

ight-click on Task Scheduler Library

Step 3: Type a custom name and hit OK.

Ex: CustomScan

Type a custom name

Step 4: Double-click on ‘Task Scheduler Library’ and open the created task folder.

open the task folder you created

Step 5: Go to the Action tab and select Create Task. 

select Create Task

Step 6: In the Name field, name the task descriptively.

type the name of task

Step 7: Choose a user account for the scheduled task.

This is optional. If you’re using the Admin account, you can leave it unchanged.

you can choose a user account

Step 8: Check the ‘Run with highest privileges’ box, hit OK, and confirm again.

Check mark Run with highest privileges

Step 9: In the Actions tab, click on New.

click the New button

Step 10: Select ‘Start a program’ under the Action drop-down.

select the Start a program option

Step 11: Enter the path below in Program/script.

%ProgramFiles%\Windows Defender\MpCmdRun.exe

Enter the path mentioned below 

Step 12: In the Add arguments field, type any command from below and hit OK.

  • For a full scan:
    -Scan -ScanType 2
  • For a quick scan:
    -Scan -ScanType 1
  • For a particular folder or location scan:
    -Scan -ScanType 3 -File PATH/TO/FILE/OR/FOLDER

    Note: Replace ‘PATH/TO/FILE/OR/FOLDER’ with the file or folder’s location.

type the kind of scan you want to run mentioned below

Step 13: Now, click on New in Triggers.

New button in the bottom left-hand corner

Step 14: Similar to the previous method:

  • Choose ‘On a schedule’ from the drop-down next to ‘Begin the task’.
  • Select the option below Settings and set the time.
  • Check Enabled and hit OK.

Check the Enabled option

Step 15: Select the Conditions tab to stop the scheduled scan if your laptop’s battery is low.

Go to the Conditions tab

Step 16: Check the ‘Stop if the computer switches to battery power’ option and hit OK. 

check 'Stop if the computer switches to battery power' option

That’s it! Now, authenticate your account credentials and let Windows Defender do its job.

FAQs on Scheduling Windows Defender Scan

1. Why is Task Scheduler not working?

The Task Scheduler might not work for a number of different reasons, such as a broken registry entry, corrupted programs, the Task Scheduler service being turned off, not having admin rights, a broken tree cache, and so on.

2. Why is it important to schedule an antivirus scan?

The active scan helps your Windows PC find and get rid of malware and other threats as soon as they get on it. And scheduling this manual work makes the whole process routine and efficient, ensuring active protection.

Schedule and Forget About It

Windows Defender is capable of actively scanning your Windows PC; however, it is highly recommended that you do a full or partial scan of your system manually every week. This weekly scan puts a halt to viruses, malware, and Trojans that come bundled with software and files you download online. Scheduling is a one-time task that, once implemented, you don’t have to take another look at.

Last updated on 14 November, 2022

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