Schedule scans with Windows Defender

Are we afraid that malware may be hiding in our PC? Let’s see how to automatically scan your PC at regular intervals with Windows Defender

Windows Defender is the antivirus built into Windows 11 and Windows 10 and allows you to automatically stop threats that try to settle inside your PC. Even if the on-access scanner is very accurate and effective, we shouldn’t rely on it alone: ​​many malware could pass as legitimate files at first and only appear as threats at the next full system scan.

To always keep our computer safe in this guide we will show you how to schedule windows defender scan, taking advantage of the planning already offered by the operating system; for the most demanding users it is also possible to create one new planningso you can choose the type of scan to perform, what to scan and at what time of the week.

READ ALSO -> Prevent Windows Defender from deleting files

1) Windows Defender automatic scan

Windows Defender automatically performs a quick scan of the system when it is inactive; in order to scan the computer, all we have to do is leave it on for at least 2 hours (also blocking the automatic suspension), which is the time it takes to scan most modern computers.

If we notice that the PC does not scan automatically, open the Start menu, search for and open the menu Security and maintenancewe expand the section Maintenancewe press on the item Change maintenance settings and choose a convenient time to carry out all computer checks.

2) How to create scheduled scan

If we don’t want to rely on idle scanning we can create a new full scheduled scanso as to always scan Windows on the day and at the desired time, even while we are working or the PC is busy doing something else.

To schedule the full scan of Windows Defender we open the Start menu, search for and open the app Schedulerpress on the top left Task Scheduler Librarylet’s get on the path Microsoft -> Windows -> Windows Defender and double click on the item Windows Defender Scheduled Scan sideways to the right.

In the new window that will open, go to the tab Activationwe press down on New and configure the parameters according to our needs, using the ones below as a reference:

  • Start activity -> Based on a schedule
  • Settings -> Month
  • Months -> Select all months
  • Everything is fine -> first Monday
  • Start -> time and first date as desired, possibly a time when the PC is on.

At the end of the configuration, press OK, go to the tab Conditions and tick the voice Stop if the computer switches to battery powerso as not to ruin the autonomy of the PC.

Now let’s move on to configuring the type of scan, to be done according to our needs.

Full scan

To get a full scheduled scan let’s go to the tab Actionsselect the item already present and press on Edit. In the new window that will open, delete all the text contained in the field Add arguments (optional) and enter the following command:

-Scan -ScanType 2

Now there is nothing left to do but press OK and then OK to start the full scan schedule (slower but effective).

Quick scan

If instead of the full scan we want to schedule a quick scan (perhaps to be performed every week) all we have to do is open the tab Actionsselect the present item again, press on Editdelete all the text in the field Add arguments (optional) and enter the following command:

-Scan -ScanType 1

To confirm, press OK and then OK to program the quick scan.

4) Create quick scan on PC startup

Want to quickly scan your PC every time you log in? Nothing simpler! To proceed, let’s go to Scheduler as seen so far, we press on the top right Create activitychoose a name of your choice for the activity, tick off the items Run with the highest privileges And Hidden and configure the various tabs as follows:

  • Activation -> New -> Start Task -> At Login -> Any User
  • Actions -> New -> Startup -> Program or Script -> “%ProgramFiles%Windows DefenderMpCmdRun.exe” (without quotes)
  • Add arguments (optional) -> “-Scan -ScanType 1” (without quotes)

We confirm all the default entries in the other tabs and press OK to schedule a quick scan every time we log in with a PC user.

4) Create scan program of a specific folder

Folder Downloads personal is the one at the greatest risk of malware: for this reason we strongly advise you to scan it at least once a week, so as to be able to intercept malware that has escaped during the download.

To proceed, let’s open Schedulerwe press on Create activitychoose a name of your choice, tick off the entries Run with the highest privileges And Hidden and configure the various tabs as follows:

  • Activation tab -> New -> Start task -> On schedule
  • Settings -> Week -> Recurs every 1 weeks of -> choose your preferred day
  • Actions tab -> New -> Program Launch -> Program or Script -> “%ProgramFiles%Windows DefenderMpCmdRun.exe” (without quotes)
  • Add arguments (optional) -> “-Scan -ScanType 3 -File %USERPROFILE%Downloads” (without quotes)

With these settings, every week on the chosen day, the Windows Downloads folder will undergo a specific scan, looking for hidden malware. The procedure is the same if we want to scan any other Windows folder, just replace %USERPROFILE%Downloads with the path to the desired folder.


With Windows Defender schedules malware no longer stands a chance! In a completely automatic way we can scan the whole PC, choosing between full scan, quick scan and scan aimed at a specific folder.

If Windows Defender does not satisfy us, we can always use an effective third-party antivirus such as Avastamong the best free antiviruses for windows.

To learn more we can read our guides on how to update microsoft defender antivirus and about how increase Microsoft Defender protection in Windows 11 and 10.


Professional writer with a passion for technology and all things related to personal computing. With years of experience in the field, William has honed his craft as an expert in writing about how to use PCs, laptops, mobile devices, and staying up-to-date with technological updates.

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