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  1. #1
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    Can scans in Windows Defender be automated?

    Currently, every so often my alert icon alert.GIF changes to alert.GIF just to tell me Windows Defender wants a scan.

    Unlike other anti-malware, which lets one configure a time and interval to scan, I can't find a setting to do this.

    Is there a way to set this up, or does Windows just get dumber as it grows?
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    See the discussion at this Microsoft Answers thread - Windows 10, How do I set Windows Defender's scan schedule?.

    Joe

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    Thanks, Joe.
    I read the material in the links, then went to Task Scheduler and found that it is set up to scan every day at 3:00 am.
    But if it's working, why would my alert tell me I need a scan this afternoon?

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    Is the PC on at 3 am?

    Joe

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    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    I updated the sticky Windows Defender Automatic Update, Scheduled Scans a week ago (to include Windows 10 in the list of applicable OS's).

    "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."

    >>>edit: I just realized I had also said "hibernate"—Task Scheduler won't wake a PC from hibernation. Corrected in the linked post also. /<<<edit
    Last edited by bbearren; 2016-04-16 at 11:55. Reason: correction
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

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    Yes, the PC is on 24/7.

    But now that I look at the Task Scheduler again, I think that the Windows Defender task is to update the definitions, not to start a scan.

    Looking in the Program Files folder for Windows Defender, I didn't see an executable for the scan function, so I'm not sure how to initiate a scan on the scheduler.

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    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    If you open Task Scheduler using "Run as administrator" you should be able to navigate to Task Scheduler (Local)/Task Scheduler Library/Microsoft/Windows/Windows Defender in the left pane.

    Clicking on Windows Defender in the left pane, in the center pane you should see 4 tasks,
    Windows Defender Cache Maintenance
    Windows Defender Cleanup
    Windows Defender Scheduled Scan
    Windows Defender Verification

    Are you looking in the right place?
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
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  8. #8
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    bbearen, I looked there and can see the entries you mention. Last run was this morning at 0855, but next run time is blank. Where is this time stored? My PC is on 24/7 (on my brand new UPS!)
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    Thanks bbearren. In Task Scheduler, when I went to Microsoft/Windows, there was no WindowsDefender.

    Trying to see all sheduled tasks, I got this pop-up: "Task scheduler not available" I waited, but nothing happened. Now I'm even more confused.

    t s error.GIF

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    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joro View Post
    Thanks bbearren. In Task Scheduler, when I went to Microsoft/Windows, there was no WindowsDefender.

    Trying to see all sheduled tasks, I got this pop-up: "Task scheduler not available" I waited, but nothing happened. Now I'm even more confused.

    t s error.GIF
    I suggest a reboot, then try Task Scheduler again. If that doesn't work, I would run sfc /scannow from an elevated Command Prompt.
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
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  11. #11
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by access-mdb View Post
    bbearen, I looked there and can see the entries you mention. Last run was this morning at 0855, but next run time is blank. Where is this time stored? My PC is on 24/7 (on my brand new UPS!)
    The Windows Defender Scheduled Scan does not have a time trigger, so there won't be a time listed for a next run. It also shows no trigger (looking in the Properties for the task) listed, so my assumption is that some sort of algorithm is used to run a quick scan roughly once a day when the PC is on but is not in use.
    Last edited by bbearren; 2016-04-16 at 19:30. Reason: grammar
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
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  13. #12
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    Rebooted, ran sfc/scannow. Same pop-up.
    I can schedule a new task, but can't find Windows Defender scan in the tasks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bbearren View Post
    The Windows Defender Scheduled Scan does not have a time trigger, so there won't be a time listed for a next run. It also shows no trigger (looking in the Properties for the task) listed, so my assumption is that some sort of algorithm is used to run a quick scan roughly once a day when the PC is on but is not in use.
    From the link in post #2:

    So this is where you have to go now to change the schedule for the Windows Defender Scheduled Scan task:
    Right-click on the Start button and choose Control Panel > Security and Maintenance > Maintenance > Change maintenance settings.

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  16. #14
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    A WD scan is now part of scheduled maintenance. Read the thread linked in post #2 (and its links).

    Joe

  17. #15
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BruceR View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by bbearren View Post
    The Windows Defender Scheduled Scan does not have a time trigger, so there won't be a time listed for a next run. It also shows no trigger (looking in the Properties for the task) listed, so my assumption is that some sort of algorithm is used to run a quick scan roughly once a day when the PC is on but is not in use.
    From the link in post #2:

    So this is where you have to go now to change the schedule for the Windows Defender Scheduled Scan task:
    Right-click on the Start button and choose Control Panel > Security and Maintenance > Maintenance > Change maintenance settings.
    Doesn't mean that Windows Defender Scheduled Scan will necessarily run at that time, nor any of the other tasks, for that matter. There are a number of other maintenance tasks that aren't listed, and no way of knowing which starts when. There are various conditions polled by the OS that determine what runs and when it starts. From my Windows 10 NAS:

    Scheduled Maintenance.PNG

    Maintenance Run Time.PNG

    Note that scheduled Maintenance is set for 2:00 AM. Windows Defender Scheduled Scan ran 4/16/2016 at 1:19:59 PM. The NAS was turned on but not logged on, and not in use by me at 2:00 AM yesterday right up until I logged on to take those snips.

    At the moment it has a restart scheduled at 3:15 AM for a Windows Update. I'll check tomorrow to see when the Scheduled Scan actually runs. The link in post #5 is to a sticky that has instructions on how to setup Task Scheduler for Windows Defender Signature Updates and Scans to run on an actual schedule, if one so desires.
    Last edited by bbearren; 2016-04-17 at 10:14. Reason: date/time clarity
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
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