How to turn on or off Periodic Scanning in Windows 10

With Windows 10 build 14352, Microsoft has introduced a new security feature which will be available in the final Anniversary Update. A new Periodic Scanning feature is an option of Windows Defender, which allows Defender to complement an alternative antivirus solution. So users who prefer to install some other antivirus software like Avast, Kaspersky, Symantec etc can get additional protection. Let's see how it works.


When you have just installed Windows 10, the operating system offers Windows Defender as the primary antivirus software out of the box. It is enabled by default and it is hard to disable even if you want to. In Settings -> Update & security ->> Windows Defender, it offers the following options to manage its security options:Windows 10 build 14352 default defender

Notice the option Real-time protection.

When the user installs an alternative antivirus software, the Windows Defender page changes its appearance and behavior in the Settings app. All settings become disabled, and the option "Real-time protection" changes its name to Periodic Scanning. See the following screenshot:Windows 10 build 14352 periodic scanning

Note that this new option appears only if Windows 10 is able to detect the antivirus software you have installed, meaning that your antivirus should be compatible with Windows 10.

By default, Periodic Scanning is disabled. When enabled, Windows Defender acts like an additional antivirus scanner besides your primary antivirus. This should improve system security.

Once Windows Defender detects threats, the user will see a notification. While the application is mostly disabled in Periodic Scanning mode, its user interface still works and can be used to see update history, scan history and actions taken against previously detected threats.defender ui1 defender ui2

If you are interested in testing Periodic Scanning in Windows 10, here is how you can try it.

How to turn on or off Periodic Scanning in Windows 10

This assumes that you have third party antivirus software installed. In my case, it is Avast! Free.

Here is how it can be done.

  1. Open the Settings app in Windows 10. Tip: If your device has a keyboard, press Win + I to open it directly.Windows 10 settings
  2. Go to System - Update & security as shown below.
    Windows 10 update and security
  3. Click Windows Defender on the left to open this page.
  4. Turn on Periodic Scanning in Windows 10 by enabling the option Periodic Scanning:Windows 10 periodic scanning enabledTurn off Periodic Scanning in Windows 10 by disabling the option Periodic Scanning:Windows 10 periodic scanning disabled

Watch the following video to see this feature in action:

Tip: you can subscribe to our official YouTube channel HERE.

That's it. Periodic Scanning can be useful as a secondary security solution for users who run Windows 10 with another antivirus app and want to make sure that their PCs have the maximum level of protection. However, users who install a third party antivirus app usually do not trust Defender and are not happy with its protection level. For such users, this new feature is useless. What about you? Would you turn on this feature?

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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

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