How to Schedule Windows Defender to Perform Full Scan on a Windows PC

Starting with Windows 8, Microsoft introduced Windows Defender as a standalone antivirus module. Though it is not the best for an antivirus software, it does the job by providing basic protection against all the well-known threats using its real-time protection. And if you know what you are doing on your PC, Windows Defender is a good low profile antivirus software.

For those who are not aware, the only thing that is missing in Windows Defender is that there is no way you can schedule antivirus scans. Despite lacking the scheduled scan feature, Windows Defender displays a big red warning message letting you know that you forgot to scan your system last week.

So, if you want, here is how you can schedule Windows Defender to perform a full or quick scan on your Windows 8 PC.

Since Windows Defender doesn’t provide any built-in option to schedule the scans, we are going to use the good old Task Scheduler. First off, search for the Task Scheduler in the start menu/screen and open it.

Search for the Task Scheduler.

In Task Scheduler, click on the link “Create Basic Task” on the left pane to start creating a new scheduled task.

Click on the link 'Create Basic Task.'

The above action will open the Basic Task Creation Wizard. Here, enter a meaningful name and description and click on the “Next” button to continue. The name and description you entered here will help you in easily finding the task in the future.

Enter a meaningful name and description.

Now select the radio button “Weekly” to set the scan to run weekly and click on the “Next” button. If you want, you can select the other options like Daily or Monthly.

Set the scan to run weekly.

Select the date, time, and the recurring week. Make sure that the “Recur every” is set to “1” so that the task will recur every week.

Make sure that the 'Recur every' is set to '1.'

In this window select the radio button “Start a program” and click on the “Next” button.

Select the radio button 'Start a program.'

Click on the browse button, navigate to “C:\Program Files\Windows Defender\” and select the executable “MpCmdRun.exe.” In the “Add Arguments” section, enter the argument as Scan -ScheduleJob -ScanType 2 for the full scan.

If you want to configure your Windows Defender to only perform a Quick Scan, then enter the argument as Scan -ScheduleJob instead. Once you are done adding the program and arguments, click on the button “Next” to continue.

Configure to only perform a Quick Scan.

The above action will take you to the Summary window. Check all the configurations you just made, select the checkbox “Open the Properties dialog for this task when I click Finish” and click on the “Finish” button to complete the setup process.

Check all the configurations.

Once the Properties window has been opened, navigate to the Conditions tab and deselect the checkbox “Stop if the computer switches to battery power” and click on the “Ok” button to save the changes. If you don’t want to stop the task when you switch to the battery power, then leave the default option as it is.

Moreover, if you want to run the task at the highest privileges, make sure that you have selected the checkbox “Run with highest privileges” in the General tab.

Run the task at highest privileges.

Once you are done with everything, you can see your scheduled task in the main window.

You can see you scheduled task.

That’s all there is to do, and it is that simple to schedule Windows Defender to scan your computer weekly.

Hopefully that helps, and do comment below sharing your thoughts and experiences about using the above method to schedule Windows Defender.