Use limited periodic scanning in Windows Defender Antivirus

Applies to:

Limited periodic scanning is a special type of threat detection and remediation that can be enabled when you have installed another antivirus product on a Windows 10 device.

It can only be enabled in certain situations. For more information about limited periodic scanning and how Microsoft Defender Antivirus works with other antivirus products, see Windows Defender Antivirus compatibility.

Microsoft does not recommend using this feature in enterprise environments. This is a feature primarily intended for consumers. This feature only uses a limited subset of the Windows Defender Antivirus capabilities to detect malware, and will not be able to detect most malware and potentially unwanted software. Also, management and reporting capabilities will be limited. Microsoft recommends enterprises choose their primary antivirus solution and use it exclusively.

How to enable limited periodic scanning

By default, Windows Defender Antivirus will enable itself on a Windows 10 device if there is no other antivirus product installed, or if the other product is out-of-date, expired, or not working correctly.

If Windows Defender Antivirus is enabled, the usual options will appear to configure it on that device:

Windows Security app showing Windows Defender AV options, including scan options, settings, and update options

If another antivirus product is installed and working correctly, Windows Defender Antivirus will disable itself. The Windows Security app will change the Virus & threat protection section to show status about the AV product, and provide a link to the product's configuration options:

Windows Security app showing ContosoAV as the installed and running antivirus provider. There is a single link to open ContosoAV settings.

Underneath any third party AV products, a new link will appear as Windows Defender Antivirus options. Clicking this link will expand to show the toggle that enables limited periodic scanning.

The limited periodic option is a toggle to enable or disable periodic scanning

Sliding the switch to On will show the standard Windows Defender AV options underneath the third party AV product. The limited periodic scanning option will appear at the bottom of the page.

When enabled, periodic scanning shows the normal Windows Defender Antivirus options