Extra protection

How to enable Periodic scanning on Microsoft Defender Antivirus

Periodic scanning on Microsoft Defender Antivirus helps you to detect and remove malware when using a third-party antivirus, and here's how to use it.

Enable Microsoft Defender Antivirus Periodic scanning feature

On Windows 10, Microsoft continues to include its free Microsoft Defender Antivirus software to scan, detect, and remove malware from your device. However, many users choose to install third-party security software, such as Symantec’s Norton Antivirus, AVG, Avira, BitDefender, McAfee, and many others.

Although there are many suitable alternatives, there is no antivirus that will guarantee full protection from every malware, and to help with this issue Microsoft Defender Antivirus ships a feature called “Periodic scanning.”

Periodic scanning will only be available on devices running a third-party antivirus, and when it enabled, Microsoft Defender Antivirus will remain disabled, but it will periodically scan and remove any threats that the other antivirus software you installed may not have been able to detect.

In this guide, you will learn the steps to enable Periodic scanning on your Windows 10 devices when you have a third-party antivirus already installed to add an extra layer of security.

How to enable Periodic scanning on Windows 10

Use these steps to enable “Periodic scanning” after adding a third-party antivirus on Windows 10:

  1. Open Windows Security.

  2. Click on Virus & threat protection.

  3. Click the Microsoft Defender Antivirus options setting.

  4. Turn on the Periodic scanning toggle switch.

    Microsoft Defender Antivirus Periodic scanning settings
    Microsoft Defender Antivirus Periodic scanning settings

Once Periodic scanning is enabled on the device, Windows 10 will use the Automatic Maintenance feature to make sure to run the scans on optimal times to minimize the impact on performance and battery life.

Although Microsoft Defender Antivirus will detect and remove any malware it finds automatically, you will receive a notification of the new threat in Action Center, which you can view in the antivirus software and take additional actions accordingly. 

How to disable Periodic scanning on Windows 10

Use these steps to disable “Periodic scanning” on your device:

  1. Open Windows Security.

  2. Click on Virus & threat protection.

  3. Click the Microsoft Defender Antivirus options setting.

  4. Turn off the Periodic scanning toggle switch.

    Microsoft Defender Antivirus disable Periodic scanning
    Microsoft Defender Antivirus disable Periodic scanning

After you complete the steps, the Windows 10 default antivirus will not try to scan for threats while you are using a third-party security solution.

Microsoft Defender Antivirus Periodic scanning is only meant to provide an extra layer of security to make Windows 10 more secure when you use another antivirus solution already installed on your device.