Configure Microsoft Defender Antivirus exclusions on Windows Server

Important

Welcome to Microsoft Defender for Endpoint, the new name for Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection. Read more about this and other updates here. We'll be updating names in products and in the docs in the near future.

Microsoft Defender Antivirus on Windows Server 2016 and 2019 automatically enrolls you in certain exclusions, as defined by your specified server role. See the list of automatic exclusions (in this article). These exclusions do not appear in the standard exclusion lists that are shown in the Windows Security app.

Note

Automatic exclusions only apply to Real-time protection (RTP) scanning. Automatic exclusions are not honored during a Full/Quick or On-demand scan.

In addition to server role-defined automatic exclusions, you can add or remove custom exclusions. To do that, refer to these articles:

A few points to keep in mind

  • Custom exclusions take precedence over automatic exclusions.

  • Automatic exclusions only apply to Real-time protection (RTP) scanning. Automatic exclusions are not honored during a Full/Quick or On-demand scan.

  • Custom and duplicate exclusions do not conflict with automatic exclusions.

  • Microsoft Defender Antivirus uses the Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) tools to determine which roles are installed on your computer.

Opt out of automatic exclusions

In Windows Server 2016 and 2019, the predefined exclusions delivered by Security intelligence updates only exclude the default paths for a role or feature. If you installed a role or feature in a custom path, or you want to manually control the set of exclusions, make sure to opt out of the automatic exclusions delivered in Security intelligence updates. But keep in mind that the exclusions that are delivered automatically are optimized for Windows Server 2016 and 2019 roles. See Recommendations for defining exclusions before defining your exclusion lists.

Warning

Opting out of automatic exclusions may adversely impact performance, or result in data corruption. The exclusions that are delivered automatically are optimized for Windows Server 2016 and 2019 roles.

Because predefined exclusions only exclude default paths, if you move NTDS and SYSVOL to another drive or path that is different from the original path, you must add exclusions manually using the information here .

You can disable the automatic exclusion lists with Group Policy, PowerShell cmdlets, and WMI.

Use Group Policy to disable the auto-exclusions list on Windows Server 2016 and 2019

  1. On your Group Policy management computer, open the Group Policy Management Console. Right-click the Group Policy Object you want to configure, and then click Edit.

  2. In the Group Policy Management Editor go to Computer configuration, and then click Administrative templates.

  3. Expand the tree to Windows components > Microsoft Defender Antivirus > Exclusions.

  4. Double-click Turn off Auto Exclusions, and set the option to Enabled. Then click OK.

Use PowerShell cmdlets to disable the auto-exclusions list on Windows Server 2016 and 2019

Use the following cmdlets:

Set-MpPreference -DisableAutoExclusions $true

Use PowerShell cmdlets to configure and run Microsoft Defender Antivirus.

Use PowerShell with Microsoft Defender Antivirus.

Use Windows Management Instruction (WMI) to disable the auto-exclusions list on Windows Server 2016 and 2019

Use the Set method of the MSFT_MpPreference class for the following properties:

DisableAutoExclusions

See the following for more information and allowed parameters:

List of automatic exclusions

The following sections contain the exclusions that are delivered with automatic exclusions file paths and file types.

Default exclusions for all roles

This section lists the default exclusions for all Windows Server 2016 and 2019 roles.

Windows "temp.edb" files

  • %windir%\SoftwareDistribution\Datastore\*\tmp.edb

  • %ProgramData%\Microsoft\Search\Data\Applications\Windows\*\*.log

Windows Update files or Automatic Update files

  • %windir%\SoftwareDistribution\Datastore\*\Datastore.edb

  • %windir%\SoftwareDistribution\Datastore\*\edb.chk

  • %windir%\SoftwareDistribution\Datastore\*\edb\*.log

  • %windir%\SoftwareDistribution\Datastore\*\Edb\*.jrs

  • %windir%\SoftwareDistribution\Datastore\*\Res\*.log

Windows Security files

  • %windir%\Security\database\*.chk

  • %windir%\Security\database\*.edb

  • %windir%\Security\database\*.jrs

  • %windir%\Security\database\*.log

  • %windir%\Security\database\*.sdb

Group Policy files

  • %allusersprofile%\NTUser.pol

  • %SystemRoot%\System32\GroupPolicy\Machine\registry.pol

  • %SystemRoot%\System32\GroupPolicy\User\registry.pol

WINS files

  • %systemroot%\System32\Wins\*\*.chk

  • %systemroot%\System32\Wins\*\*.log

  • %systemroot%\System32\Wins\*\*.mdb

  • %systemroot%\System32\LogFiles\

  • %systemroot%\SysWow64\LogFiles\

File Replication Service (FRS) exclusions

  • Files in the File Replication Service (FRS) working folder. The FRS working folder is specified in the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\NtFrs\Parameters\Working Directory

    • %windir%\Ntfrs\jet\sys\*\edb.chk

    • %windir%\Ntfrs\jet\*\Ntfrs.jdb

    • %windir%\Ntfrs\jet\log\*\*.log

  • FRS Database log files. The FRS Database log file folder is specified in the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Ntfrs\Parameters\DB Log File Directory

    • %windir%\Ntfrs\*\Edb\*.log
  • The FRS staging folder. The staging folder is specified in the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\NtFrs\Parameters\Replica Sets\GUID\Replica Set Stage

    • %systemroot%\Sysvol\*\Ntfrs_cmp*\
  • The FRS preinstall folder. This folder is specified by the folder Replica_root\DO_NOT_REMOVE_NtFrs_PreInstall_Directory

    • %systemroot%\SYSVOL\domain\DO_NOT_REMOVE_NtFrs_PreInstall_Directory\*\Ntfrs*\
  • The Distributed File System Replication (DFSR) database and working folders. These folders are specified by the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\DFSR\Parameters\Replication Groups\GUID\Replica Set Configuration File

    Note

    For custom locations, see Opt out of automatic exclusions.

    • %systemdrive%\System Volume Information\DFSR\$db_normal$

    • %systemdrive%\System Volume Information\DFSR\FileIDTable_*

    • %systemdrive%\System Volume Information\DFSR\SimilarityTable_*

    • %systemdrive%\System Volume Information\DFSR\*.XML

    • %systemdrive%\System Volume Information\DFSR\$db_dirty$

    • %systemdrive%\System Volume Information\DFSR\$db_clean$

    • %systemdrive%\System Volume Information\DFSR\$db_lostl$

    • %systemdrive%\System Volume Information\DFSR\Dfsr.db

    • %systemdrive%\System Volume Information\DFSR\*.frx

    • %systemdrive%\System Volume Information\DFSR\*.log

    • %systemdrive%\System Volume Information\DFSR\Fsr*.jrs

    • %systemdrive%\System Volume Information\DFSR\Tmp.edb

Process exclusions

  • %systemroot%\System32\dfsr.exe

  • %systemroot%\System32\dfsrs.exe

Hyper-V exclusions

This section lists the file type exclusions, folder exclusions, and process exclusions that are delivered automatically when you install the Hyper-V role

  • File type exclusions:

    • *.vhd

    • *.vhdx

    • *.avhd

    • *.avhdx

    • *.vsv

    • *.iso

    • *.rct

    • *.vmcx

    • *.vmrs

  • Folder exclusions:

    • %ProgramData%\Microsoft\Windows\Hyper-V

    • %ProgramFiles%\Hyper-V

    • %SystemDrive%\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Hyper-V\Snapshots

    • %Public%\Documents\Hyper-V\Virtual Hard Disks

  • Process exclusions:

    • %systemroot%\System32\Vmms.exe

    • %systemroot%\System32\Vmwp.exe

SYSVOL files

  • %systemroot%\Sysvol\Domain\*.adm

  • %systemroot%\Sysvol\Domain\*.admx

  • %systemroot%\Sysvol\Domain\*.adml

  • %systemroot%\Sysvol\Domain\Registry.pol

  • %systemroot%\Sysvol\Domain\*.aas

  • %systemroot%\Sysvol\Domain\*.inf

  • %systemroot%\Sysvol\Domain\*.Scripts.ini

  • %systemroot%\Sysvol\Domain\*.ins

  • %systemroot%\Sysvol\Domain\Oscfilter.ini

Active Directory exclusions

This section lists the exclusions that are delivered automatically when you install Active Directory Domain Services.

NTDS database files

The database files are specified in the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\NTDS\Parameters\DSA Database File

  • %windir%\Ntds\ntds.dit

  • %windir%\Ntds\ntds.pat

The AD DS transaction log files

The transaction log files are specified in the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\NTDS\Parameters\Database Log Files Path

  • %windir%\Ntds\EDB*.log

  • %windir%\Ntds\Res*.log

  • %windir%\Ntds\Edb*.jrs

  • %windir%\Ntds\Ntds*.pat

  • %windir%\Ntds\TEMP.edb

The NTDS working folder

This folder is specified in the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\NTDS\Parameters\DSA Working Directory

  • %windir%\Ntds\Temp.edb

  • %windir%\Ntds\Edb.chk

  • %systemroot%\System32\ntfrs.exe

  • %systemroot%\System32\lsass.exe

DHCP Server exclusions

This section lists the exclusions that are delivered automatically when you install the DHCP Server role. The DHCP Server file locations are specified by the DatabasePath, DhcpLogFilePath, and BackupDatabasePath parameters in the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\DHCPServer\Parameters

  • %systemroot%\System32\DHCP\*\*.mdb

  • %systemroot%\System32\DHCP\*\*.pat

  • %systemroot%\System32\DHCP\*\*.log

  • %systemroot%\System32\DHCP\*\*.chk

  • %systemroot%\System32\DHCP\*\*.edb

DNS Server exclusions

This section lists the file and folder exclusions and the process exclusions that are delivered automatically when you install the DNS Server role.

File and folder exclusions for the DNS Server role

  • %systemroot%\System32\Dns\*\*.log

  • %systemroot%\System32\Dns\*\*.dns

  • %systemroot%\System32\Dns\*\*.scc

  • %systemroot%\System32\Dns\*\BOOT

Process exclusions for the DNS Server role

  • %systemroot%\System32\dns.exe

File and Storage Services exclusions

This section lists the file and folder exclusions that are delivered automatically when you install the File and Storage Services role. The exclusions listed below do not include exclusions for the Clustering role.

  • %SystemDrive%\ClusterStorage

  • %clusterserviceaccount%\Local Settings\Temp

  • %SystemDrive%\mscs

This section lists the file type exclusions, folder exclusions, and the process exclusions that are delivered automatically when you install the Print Server role.

File type exclusions

  • *.shd

  • *.spl

Folder exclusions

This folder is specified in the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print\Printers\DefaultSpoolDirectory

  • %system32%\spool\printers\*

Process exclusions

  • spoolsv.exe

Web Server exclusions

This section lists the folder exclusions and the process exclusions that are delivered automatically when you install the Web Server role.

Folder exclusions

  • %SystemRoot%\IIS Temporary Compressed Files

  • %SystemDrive%\inetpub\temp\IIS Temporary Compressed Files

  • %SystemDrive%\inetpub\temp\ASP Compiled Templates

  • %systemDrive%\inetpub\logs

  • %systemDrive%\inetpub\wwwroot

Process exclusions

  • %SystemRoot%\system32\inetsrv\w3wp.exe

  • %SystemRoot%\SysWOW64\inetsrv\w3wp.exe

  • %SystemDrive%\PHP5433\php-cgi.exe

Windows Server Update Services exclusions

This section lists the folder exclusions that are delivered automatically when you install the Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) role. The WSUS folder is specified in the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Update Services\Server\Setup

  • %systemroot%\WSUS\WSUSContent

  • %systemroot%\WSUS\UpdateServicesDBFiles

  • %systemroot%\SoftwareDistribution\Datastore

  • %systemroot%\SoftwareDistribution\Download