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2013-12-20, 16:25 #1
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Windows Defender Automatic Update, Scheduled Scans
This is not intended to stir the pot again over this AV or that AV and which is better. For those of us who do use Windows Defender but don't allow Automatic Windows Updates, Windows Defender definition updates can be scheduled using Task Scheduler. I posted this as an answer in another forum, and considered that it might be easier to find here, so I've copied, edited and reposted it here.
This tutorial will work for Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 8.1. Update, and Windows 10.
A shortcut to Task Scheduler can be found in Control Panel > Administrative Tools. Or, on the Start Screen, type tasks, click on Settings, then Schedule tasks to open Task Scheduler, which runs on the Desktop.
Task Scheduler must be "Run as administrator" in order to schedule this task successfully (right-click and select Run as administrator).
In the left pane of Task Scheduler, expand Task Scheduler Library, expand Microsoft, and expand Windows. Scroll down the list of folders to Windows Defender, and click on that folder. In the center pane is a listing of all the tasks scheduled by default for Windows Defender. (One of these is Windows Defender Scheduled Scan, which is a daily quick scan that runs when the PC is left idle for 10 minutes, and is interrupted if the idle state is interrupted.) Leave these as they are, and in the right pane, click on Create Task.
This will open a dialog box with tabs for General, Triggers, Actions, Conditions, and History. In the General tab, give your task a name in the Name box. Mine is "Daily Signature Update". Note that Location: is already filled in as \Microsoft\Windows\Windows Defender; leave that as it is. A Description can be added, but isn't necessary.
Under Security options, click on the button Change User or Group... In the Select User of Group dialog that pops up, type system in the box for Enter the object name to select, then click the button Check Names. This will reformat system into the Windows way of names, and will be changed to SYSTEM. Click OK on that box, and SYSTEM is transformed once more to NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM.
Next, put a check by Run with highest privileges, and using the dropbox by Configure for: select Windows 8 (this will show Windows 8.1 if you have upgraded, or Windows 10 if you've upgraded from Windows 8.1), then click on the Triggers tab.
At the bottom of the Triggers tab, click the New... button. In the New Trigger dialog box that pops up, put a tick in the radio button for Daily. Start: will be pre-filled the current date and time. Change the Start time to whatever you like. Bear in mind that if you sleep your PC rather than turn it off, this can be any time. If you turn your PC off, this should be a time when the machine will be running. Enabled will have a check by it, and everything else on the New Trigger tab can be left as is.
Click the Actions tab and the New... button at the bottom. In the New Action dialog box, Start a program will be pre-filled beside Action; leave that as is. By the Program/script textbox, click the Browse button and navigate to Program Files\Windows Defender\, highlight MpCmdRun.exe and click the Open button; that will fill in the field. In the Add arguments (optional): textbox type -SignatureUpdate -MMPC then click OK. You can copy the arguments from here and paste into the Add arguments textbox in the Actions tab.
On the Condititons tab, leave the box unchecked by Start the task only if the computer is idle for: because this is a background task that happens very quickly. If you hibernate/sleep your PC rather than turning it off, put a check by Wake the computer to run this task. Under Network, put a check in the box, and leave Any connection as the available connection.
In the Settings tab be sure there's a check by Allow task to be run on demand, and Run task as soon as possible after a scheduled start is missed. The rest can be left as is.
Click OK, and you're finished. Windows Defender definitions will be updated every day at the time you selected.
My PC is left on 24/7, and my daily update is scheduled for 6:00 AM.
To schedule a Windows Defender full scan, follow these same instructions and create another new task, and name it appropriately. Everything will be the same with the exception of the arguments to add to the program in the Actions tab. For a weekly Full Scan and a daily Quick Scan, that's two more new tasks.
For arguments, you want Windows Defender to get the latest definitions update and then run a full scan; -SignatureUpdate -Scan -ScanType 2. There is a space after each argument. For a Quick Scan, use -SignatureUpdate -Scan -ScanType 1.
I have tasks setup for a daily quick scan and weekly full scan (a daily full scan is a bit of overkill for me). Note that for a weekly full scan, in the New Trigger dialog box you'll want to use Weekly, and select a day and time.
Last edited by bbearren; 2016-09-20 at 21:11. Reason: updated OS versions capability, clarity, graphicsCreate a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!
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