How to enable Windows Defender’s periodic scanning on Windows 10

Although Windows 10 includes Windows Defender Antivirus to keep your system free of malware, there are many people who prefer a third-party solutions, such as Norton, Bitdefender, Avast, Trend Micro, McAfee, and others.

However, because no matter the antivirus you choose, chances are that a malware can still sneak into your device, Windows Defender includes “periodic scanning” that allows the antivirus to remain disabled when a third-party security software is configured, but periodically scans and removes any threats that your antivirus was not able to detect.

In this guide, you’ll learn the steps to enable periodic scan on Windows Defender Antivirus using the Windows Defender Security Center to have a second pair of eyes protecting your device from threats.

How to enable periodic scanning when using third-party antivirus

  1. Open Windows Defender Security Center.

  2. Click on Virus & threat protection.

  3. Click on Windows Defender options.

  4. Turn on Periodic scanning toggle switch.

    Windows Defender Antivirus periodic scanning settings

Once you’ve completed the steps, your computer will continue to use your antivirus of choice, but now Windows Defender Antivirus will periodically run a scan without impacting your system performance to catch any threats that your third-party antivirus was not able to detect.

Periodic scanning has been introduced with the Anniversary Update, but starting the Creators Update, the feature has been moved from the Settings app to the Windows Defender Security Center. Also, it should be noted that this option is only available when using a third-party antivirus. If you’re already using Windows Defender, then your device is constantly being monitor for malware by the antivirus.