What is msseces.exe and msmpeng.exe?

What is msseces.exe and msmpeng.exe?

Windows 7 has a good number of new processes running in the background that you may not recognize. Msseces.exe and msmpeng.exe are two of which even some of the more experienced Windows veterans might be left in question. So what the hell am I?

Microsoft introduced these two processes with the recently implemented Microsoft Security Essentials security suite. Don’t worry, they’re not viruses! If you haven’t tried Microsoft’s Security Essentials, I suggest you take a look! It is a free security suite created by Microsoft to keep viruses, malware and spyware away from your computer. We’ve covered this in multiple groovy articles, check it out! For now, however, let’s take a look at these two groovy processes.

What is msseces.exe

Msseces.exe is the process used to run the Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) graphical user interface. Without this process, you wouldn’t be able to adjust any of the settings in MSE and you wouldn’t be able to see alerts for new malware threats. If you take a look at this process in Task Manager, you will see the relative description of what this process does.

msseces.exe in the Windows 7 task manager

You can terminate this process and MSE should continue running, silently. You will not be able to see any toast if Microsoft Security Essentials detects a problem. But there is no reason to end this process in the first place. The memory footprint is quite small and is an absolutely safe part of Microsoft’s free antivirus software suite.

What is MsMpEng.exe

MsMpEng.exe may or may not always be visible as it sometimes runs as a hidden process. MsMpEng.exe is the core process of Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE). This process is used by both Windows Defender and MSE, so it’s a shared process. It will always run in the background and usually doesn’t use too much memory unless you are running a system scan.

msmpeng.exe in Windows 7 Process Explorer

After careful consideration using ProcessExplorer, (the app we talked about in the svchost.exe article) you can see that it originates from the file path C: Program Files Microsoft Security Essentials.

If this process closes, msseces.exe will warn you with a warning message asking you to restart it. You can ignore this message if you wish and MsMpEng.exe will restart itself after a short time unless another antivirus solution is installed.

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