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Windows Defender CPU spikes with Windows Media Player open


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My system fans just went nuts and my CPU temp spiked above 80C; something that rarely occurs outside of gaming or performing any other CPU intensive task, but all I was doing was watching a video in Firefox on Amazon.  I checked Task Manager and saw that the Antimalware Service Executable (i.e. Microsoft Defender Antivirus Service) was the culprit so I checked, and no scan was running, no update was in progress so I set about trying to determine why this was happening.  I started terminating applications starting with the most obvious, Malwarebytes, however the issue still didn't go away, so then I decided to start closing apps and as soon as I killed Windows Media Player, which I had left open after listening to a song earlier, and the issue instantly stopped in its tracks.

I don't know what WMP was doing, as it shouldn't have been doing anything since it was just sitting there idle, however it was certainly doing something and Defender was very interested in it.  I suspect it could have been performing one of its telemetry tasks or searching for media to automatically add to its library, but either way, it was nothing that I told it to do and it was causing my system to get much warmer than I normally like (normally, when gaming or performing any resource intensive task, I will crank up the fans to max using the built in fan control software in order to avoid letting my system's components get too hot under load).

I just thought I'd post about it to make others aware in case they come across anything similar.  Just for info, the song I listened to was an MP3 without any DRM (purchased/downloaded from Amazon in the past) so it definitely wasn't any sort of DRM/licensing causing the CPU spikes, and all album info/art/track info etc. had already been downloaded long ago, so it wasn't that either.  The song was not playing at the time and WMP was sitting completely idle (at least as far as anything I had told it to do).

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Yep, I deleted that task long ago.  I just replicated the issue again (sort of), although the CPU spike was during playback this time, rather than afterwards when the player was idle.  My suspicion is that it might just be looking at my music folders since I store them off the main drive, so perhaps it is jealous of these files on this other drive where I normally don't allow it to scan.

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I went in and nuked some additional scheduled tasks and services (most of which were related to performance/diagnostics (i.e., telemetry, AKA SPYWARE) and the issue has now vanished.

I can once again play my music without frying my CPU.  After all these years, Microsoft has made an operating system that falls short of the most basic clock radio or stereo due to their greed and lack of consideration or regard for their customers' privacy.

Well done, Microsoft.  Well done.

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