Windows Defender Offline has been a constant feature on Windows operating system for quite some time now that enables you to scan PC desktop/laptop or tablet for malware detection and removal. Microsoft offers Windows Defender Offline tool so you can scan start malware scans from outside of Windows. In Windows 10 Anniversary Update, this tool has become even more easy to launch and use to find and remove malware on Windows devices. You can use Windows Defender Offline on Windows 7, Windows 10, Windows 8/8.1, XP/Vista on both 32-bit and 64-bit versions.
By default Windows Defender tool is enabled on the main software copy, but if it fails to detect or remove any malicious malware from Windows device, it prompts you to use Windows Defender Offline tool instead. If you are worried that your computer might be infected with virus, malware or other threat, its better that you use Windows Defender Offline to run an offline scan to remove threats.
Why Windows Defender Offline?
The name ‘Windows Defender Offline’ means it can perform scans even when the Windows is not running on your device. It enables the tool to detect and remove malware even before you switch ON your device. This is very useful feature because malware if it goes undetected and your turn ON Windows, can spread quickly to infect the device.
Windows Defender Offline restarts your PC into a secure environment and scans from outside the Windows rather than running the scan when the PC is ON, which may risk malware already spreading and running the background. Since the scanning takes place when the Windows is OFF, it stops any malware from interfering and running inside the Windows, which makes it easy for Offline Defender to find and remove malware before it can enter the system.
During the bootup process, some rootkits may go into hiding from Windows but can be easily detected when you run the scan from outside Windows. Some malware are so malicious, they can’t be removed when the Windows is running, but can be detected and removed when you scan them outside the Windows in a secure standalone scan.
How To Launch Windows Defender Offline on Windows 10
Windows 10 users need to have Windows 10 Anniversary update installed on the PCs to be able to use this feature. On Windows 10 anniversary update or later, all it takes is a single click to activate Windows Defender Offline to scan the PC for finding and removing malware. But Windows Defender is not available as desktop application in Windows 10, you will need to go to the Settings app for that.
Navigate to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Defender, scroll down and click the ‘Scan Offline’ button under Windows Defender Offline.
After clicking this button, your PC will automatically reboot and scan the PC for malware. Scanning may take several minutes so be patients. If any malware is detected, you will get the message to remove it from Windows Defender Offline interface. In case there is no malware, your PC will reboot back into Windows after the scan is finished.
How to Launch Windows Defender Offline on Windows 7 and Windows 8/8.1
For Windows 7, Windows 8/8.1, you will need to download Windows Defender Offline and create a bootable CD/DVD or USB drive and boot the Windows Defender Offline tool on the PC. This works similar to Windows 10 but needs you to create a bootable media to manually boot the scan process.
It is better that you create a bootable media on a virus free, clean PC to avoid errors. Malware can interfere with the media creation process if it is still running in the background. So use another PC, which is clean from malware or virus, to create a bootable media and download Windows Defender Offline, if your PC is infected.
Go the Windows Defender Offline Download Page and download either the 32-bit or 64-bit version depending on your PC system. To find out if your PC is running on 32 or 64 bit version, see instructions here:
- Windows 10/8/8.1: Right-click on the This PC and select Properties. Or open Control Panel and go to System > Security to see what version your PC is using.
- Windows 7/Vista/XP: Open Start Menu and right-click on the Computer option and select Properties. There you will see an information screen containing all basic information about your Windows copy including 32 or 64 bit information.
Launch the downloaded msstool32.exe (for 32-bit windows version) or msstool63.exe (for 64-bit version). Now, you will be asked to create installation media on a USB drive or burn it on CD/DVD. You can also use your favorite disc burning program to create an ISO file which you can then burn on the disc. This will create Windows Defender Offline media containing the latest virus definitions. If you are creating a bootable USB, make sure that you backup existing data because the process will overwrite data.
After creating bootable USB, CD or DVD, connect USB or insert disc in to the computer you want to scan and restart the PC.
Now boot from the USB, CD or DVD to run the malware detection scan. Depending on your PC type or settings, it may automatically load into the boot menu or you may have to press a key to enter the boot menu. You can enter boot device menu by modifying the boot order in the PC’s BIOS or UEFI firmware.
After booting the device, Windows Defender Offline will automatically start scan the computer to find and remove malware. Wait for the scan to finish after which the PC will reboot back to the Windows.
That’s all, you have successfully managed to remove malware from Windows PC using Windows Defender Offline tool. Leave your comments for any queries.
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