Windows 10 Limited Periodic Scanning explained

Martin Brinkmann
May 27, 2016
Updated • Jul 5, 2017
Windows, Windows 10

Limited Periodic Scanning is a new feature of Windows 10's Anniversary Update edition that configures Windows Defender to scan the system in intervals even if other antivirus solutions are used primarily.

The main idea behind the feature is to improve system security by using Windows Defender as a second-opinion scanner on Windows 10 devices.

Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool scans detect between 1 and 2 million infections on machines each month, and Microsoft notes that some of these happen on machines with third-party antivirus solutions running on them.

Limited Periodic Scanning

windows 10 periodic scanning

Limited Periodic Scanning is an optional feature that is not enabled by default. It becomes available only if Windows 10 detects that another antivirus solution is installed and running, and needs to be enabled by the user or administrator of the device first.

In other words, Periodic Scanning becomes only available if a third-party antivirus software is listed on the Security and Maintenance Control Panel applet of the Windows operating system.

antivirus security maintenance

You can verify that in the following way:

  1. Use the keyboard shortcut Windows-Pause to open the classic Control Panel. If the Pause-key is not available on the connected keyboard, use the shortcut Windows-X instead and select Control Panel on the menu that opens.
  2. Select System and Security in the next step. You find the link in the Control Panel address bar if you have used Windows-Pause, or listed as an entry if you have used the Windows-X menu.
  3. Click on the Security and Maintenance link on the page that opens.
  4. Expand the Security listing on the next page.
  5. Locate Virus protection afterwards, and click on the view installed antivirus apps link.
  6. The window that opens lists the recognized antivirus solutions.

Configure Periodic Scanning

Periodic Scanning is a new option in the Settings application of Windows 10. The feature does not appear to be available as a policy currently.

Do the following to configure the new feature:

  1. Use the keyboard shortcut Windows-I to open the Settings application on the Windows 10 device.
  2. Select Update & Security when the window opens.
  3. Select Windows Defender using the left menu on the next screen.
  4. There you should find the periodic scanning option.
  5. Switch it from off to on.

To turn periodic scanning off again repeat the process, and switch the option to off in the last step.

The feature uses Automatic Maintenance to determine the best time for a scan and prevent scans during times when the computer is used actively or resources are needed for other processes.

When you enable Windows Defender Periodic Scanning on Windows 10, you will be able to use the user interface and history tab of the program to manage threats even if the application itself is not turned on.

Furthermore, you will get notifications if Windows Defender detected threats during a periodic scan, and may click on those notifications to be taken to the history tab of the program right away.

Closing Words

Periodic Scanning offers frequent second-opinion scans on devices running Windows 10 if another recognized antivirus solution is installed and if the feature is enabled.

This is just one option that you have as you can run third-party security programs as well as second opinion scanners.

To name a few: Trend Micro Anti-Threat Toolkit, Kaspersky AVZ Antiviral Toolkit, or Malwarebytes Anti-Malware.

Now You: do you use Windows Defender?

Windows 10 Limited Periodic Scanning explained
Article Name
Windows 10 Limited Periodic Scanning explained
Limited Periodic Scanning is a new feature of Windows 10's Anniversary Update edition that configures Windows Defender to scan the system in intervals even if other antivirus solutions are used primarily.
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  1. Dan Donx said on January 15, 2023 at 10:29 am

    What mental age of reader are you targeting with the first sentence? 10?

    Why not write an article on how to *avoid* upgrading from W10 to W11. Analogous to those like me who avoided upgrading from 7 to 10 for as long as possible.

    If your paymaster Microsoft permits it, of course.

  2. Dexter said on January 15, 2023 at 11:14 am

    5. Rufus
    6. Ventoy

    PS. I hate reading these “SEO optimized” articles.

    1. cdr said on January 15, 2023 at 3:32 pm

      I used Rufus to create an installer for a 6th gen intel i5 that had MBR. It upgraded using Setup. No issues except for Win 11 always prompting me to replace my local account. Still using Win 10 Pro on all my other PCs to avoid the bullying.

  3. sv said on January 15, 2023 at 6:40 pm

    bit pointless to upgrade for the sake of upgrading as you never know when you’ll get locked out because ms might suddenly not provide updates to unsupported systems.

    ps…. time travelling?
    written. Jan 15, 2023
    Updated • Jan 13, 2023

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 16, 2023 at 5:49 am

      This happens when you schedule a post in WordPress and update it before setting the publication date.

  4. Anonymous said on January 16, 2023 at 8:24 am

    Anyone willing to downgrade to this awful OS must like inflicting themselves with harm.

  5. basingstoke said on January 16, 2023 at 11:18 am

    I have become convinced now that anybody who has no qualms with using Windows 11/10 must fit into one of the following brackets:

    1) Too young to remember a time before W10 and W11 (doesn’t know better)

    2) Wants to play the latest games on their PC above anything else (or deeply needs some software which already dropped W7 support)

    3) Doesn’t know too much about how computers work, worried that they’d be absolutely lost and in trouble without the “”latest security””

    4) Microsoft apologist that tries to justify that the latest “features” and “changes” are actually a good thing, that improve Windows

    5) Uses their computer to do a bare minimum of like 3 different things, browse web, check emails, etc, so really doesn’t fuss

    Obviously that doesn’t cover everyone, there’s also the category that:

    6) Actually liked W7 more than 10, and held out as long as possible before switching, begrudgingly uses 10 now

    Have I missed any group off this list?

    1. Heinz Strunk said on September 19, 2023 at 3:57 pm

      You have missed in this group just about any professional user that uses business software like CAD programs or ERP Programs which are 99% of all professional users from this list.

      Linux doesn’t help anyone who is not a linux kid and apple is just a fancy facebook machine.

  6. ilev said on August 24, 2023 at 7:34 pm

    Microsoft has removed KB5029351 update

    1. EP said on August 24, 2023 at 9:21 pm

      only from windows update though
      KB5029351 is still available from the ms update catalog site

  7. Anonymous said on August 24, 2023 at 11:05 pm

    1. This update is labaled as PREVIEW if it causes issues to unintelligent people, then they shouldn’t have allowed Preview updates ot install.

    2. I have installed it in a 11 years old computer, and no problems at all.

    3. Making a big drama over a bluescreen for an updated labeled as preview is ridiculous.

    This is probably another BS internet drama where people ran programs and scripts that modified the registry until they broke Windows, just for removing stuff that they weren’t even using just for the sake of it.
    Maybe people should stop playing geeks and actually either use Windows 10 or Windows 11, but don’t try to modify things just for the sake of it.

    Sometimes removing or stopping things (like defender is a perfect example) only need intelligence, not scripts or 3rd party programs that might mess with windows.

  8. john said on August 24, 2023 at 11:17 pm

    Windows 11 was a pointless release, it was just created because some of the Windows team wanted to boost sales with some sort of new and improved Windows 10. Instead, Microsoft cannot support one version well let alone two.

    1. John G. said on August 25, 2023 at 12:08 pm

      Windows 11 is the worst ugly shame by Microsoft ever. They should release with every new W11 version a complete free version of Starallback inside just to make this sh** OS functionally again.

  9. EP said on August 25, 2023 at 3:10 pm

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released a statement regarding the “unsupported processor” blue screen error for their boards using Intel 600/700 series chipsets & to avoid the KB5029351 Win11 update:–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–Error-Message-of-Windows-11-Update-KB5029351-Preview-142215

  10. EP said on August 29, 2023 at 7:32 pm

    check out the following recent articles:

    Neowin – Microsoft puts little blame on its Windows update after UNSUPPORTED PROCESSOR BSOD bug:

    BleepingComputer – Microsoft blames ‘unsupported processor’ blue screens on OEM vendors:

  11. Leonard Britvolli said on August 30, 2023 at 10:33 pm

    While there may be changes or updates to the Windows 10 Store for Business and Education in the future, it is premature to conclude that it will be discontinued based solely on rumors.

  12. sembrador said on September 5, 2023 at 9:32 pm

    My advice, I left win 15 years ago. Now I’m a happy linux user (linuxmint) but there is Centos, Fedora, Ubuntu depending on your needs.

  13. EP said on September 6, 2023 at 11:55 am

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released new BIOS/firmware updates for their Intel 600 & 700 series motherboards to fix the “UNSUPPORTED_PROCESSOR” problem (Sept. 6):–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–caused-BSOD-on-MSI-s-Intel-700-and-600-Series-Motherboards-142277

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