How To Schedule Microsoft Security Essential To Work At Night

While there are plenty of anti-virus suite around, Microsoft Security Essential (MSE) is fast becoming one of the most popular security suite for end-users. The main reasons for its success is because it is free, lightweight and it just works. Being developed, endorsed and maintained by Microsoft also help.

In MSE, one of the useful feature is the ability to schedule scan at ghost hour so it can keep your computer safe, yet not interfering with your work. However, in some situations, the scheduled scan might not work as intended.

In this post, we will show you how to properly setup a task in your computer. This task will wake your computer at night, carry out the routine scan and shutdown the system after it has finished its work.

Configure MSE

First, open the Start menu and type Security Essentials:

Start Microsoft Security Essentials

Go to the Setting tab. Activate the “Schedule Scan” option and determine the time that you want it to run.


It’s important to configure this way so Microsoft Security Essentials will create the scheduled task and we can change it to work the way we want.

Modifing the scheduled task

Open the Task Scheduler:

Start task scheduler

Go toTask Scheduler ->Task Scheduler Library ->Microsoft Antimalware:

Task Scheduler

Rigth click the created task and select “Properties”.


Go to the Conditions tab, uncheck the option to start the task only if the computer is idle and check the option to wake the computer to run this task.


Note: For the system to wake your computer, your BIOS has to support Advanced Power Management (APM) version 1.2 or later for this to work.

Shutdown the computer after task completion

After configuring the computer to wake at ghost hour to do the scanning, you will find that there is no way to configure it to shut down. Fret noe, we have created a script that will do the job for us.

1. Open the Notepad.

2. Copy and paste the script below to the notepad:

@echo off
tasklist | find "mpcmdrun.exe" /I
if %errorlevel%==0 (goto wait) else (goto start)
tasklist | find "mpcmdrun.exe" /I
if %errorlevel%==1 shutdown -s -t 60
goto wait

You should see something like this:


Save it as “%userprofile%/shutdownaftermse.bat”.


Now go again to the task, right click and select “Properties”. Go to “Actions” tab and add this script.


Select the file:


Press OK.


That’s it. Your computer will now wake to do the system scanning and shutdown after it has completed its job. What other ways do you use to schedule your scans?

Angel Luis
Angel Luis

I am an Engineer of Telecommunications that love computers. My first computer was a Commodore 16kb, about 25 years ago and since then I am always fighting computers problems. Please visit my entries and ask me about whatever problem you have, I will be pleased to help you.

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