Using Windows Defender Offline

Windows10We have been recommending Windows Defender as an acceptable anti-malware program.  What we like about it is that it comes baked into the Windows 10 operating system, and gets its malware definitions updates with the other Windows security and feature updates that users are already receiving.   And it is free.  Plus it keeps your system a little less cluttered than adding a third party anti-malware product.

Sure, it is not top of the class when compared to other products, but generally scores well enough in independent tests, and it does a fine job.  I use it myself on my personal laptop.

Occasionally malware creeps into any system, and the problem with Defender and any other anti-malware scanner is that once the operating system is compromised, there may be malicious changes that keep the installed anti-malware product from being able to effectively find and remove it.

This is where Windows Defender Offline comes in.  Defender Offline runs on a reboot, and starts before the operating system loads.  This way any operating system and software compromises are removed from the process.

Save your work and close all your open applications.  There will be no “are you sure” warning, and the offline method will cause the computer to restart.

Go to Settings by typing Settings in the Search box.  Then click on Updates and security.  Then click on the Scan Offline button.  That’s it/.  Your computer will restart and start scanning right away.  This takes as much time as it takes, depending on how much stuff is installed or saved to your computer, but should complete in around 20 minutes or less.


About the Author:

I am a cybersecurity and IT instructor, cybersecurity analyst, pen-tester, trainer, and speaker. I am an owner of the WyzCo Group Inc. In addition to consulting on security products and services, I also conduct security audits, compliance audits, vulnerability assessments and penetration tests. I also teach Cybersecurity Awareness Training classes. I work as an information technology and cybersecurity instructor for several training and certification organizations. I have worked in corporate, military, government, and workforce development training environments I am a frequent speaker at professional conferences such as the Minnesota Bloggers Conference, Secure360 Security Conference in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, the (ISC)2 World Congress 2016, and the ISSA International Conference 2017, and many local community organizations, including Chambers of Commerce, SCORE, and several school districts. I have been blogging on cybersecurity since 2006 at

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