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How to Setup Windows 8 Defender to Automatically Scan on a Schedule

Windows 8.x finally bundled an antivirus utility that used to be called Microsoft Security Essentials and rebranded it as Windows Defender. The only problem is that you can’t easily setup automatic scheduled scans anymore.

We’re guessing that they removed some of these features to make all of the other antivirus utilities happy, or maybe because theoretically real-time protection is all you need. Either way, you’re probably reading this article because you want to setup a scheduled scan to run automatically.

Automatically Scan with Windows Defender on a Schedule

To accomplish this task we’ll use the Schedule tasks search result… which is actually the Task Scheduler. Why Microsoft couldn’t have just called it that in the list we’ll never know.

Either way, open the Start Screen and search for “schedule” and it’ll come up right away in the list.

Once you are there, browse down to Microsoft -> Windows -> Windows Defender in the left-hand pane, and then you’ll find the item “Windows Defender Scheduled Scan” in the right-hand side. Double-click on it.

Now flip over to the Trigger tab, click to create a new trigger, and then use the On a schedule panel to setup the time and date you want it to run. You can do a scan every day, or weekly, or even just once.

Nice and simple.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 07/19/14