How-To: Use Windows Defender for an Offline Scan


In Windows 10 Build 14271, which was released last week by Microsoft to Insiders, a new option was added to the settings for Windows Defender.

Windows Defender is Microsoft’s built-in anti-virus and malware scanner in Windows 10.

What some users may not be aware of is that there is an offline version of the program called Windows Defender Offline.

Windows Defender Offline allows you to create bootable media with the latest virus and malware  definitions to clean up infections on your system without running the full operating system.

Well, in Build 14271, Microsoft has added the Windows Defender Offline option to the settings for Windows Defender.

Just open the Settings app and head to Settings > Update & security > Windows Defender and then scroll towards the bottom of that settings page.

Windows Defender Offline Settings in Windows 10

If you click on that Scan Offline button the system will reboot, with just a brief warning, to run an offline scan with Windows Defender as the system starts up.

In my first attempt to do this the reboot occurred but for some reason the scan appeared to begin but ended after about 20 seconds and then the system rebooted and returned to normal operations. I tried a few more times to initiate the offline scan but nothing happened when I subsequently clicked on the Scan Offline button.

Having used Windows Defender Offline before, as a separate download, it takes much longer for a complete scan of your hard drive. I suspect this is a bug of some sort with the feature just being added to the OS.

However, since Windows Defender does exist as a separate program outside of Windows you can still use the feature to complete a full scan, and if necessary, a clean-up, of your system while we wait for this new feature to be fully integrated into Windows 10.

By the way, Windows Defender Offline only works on Windows XP, Vista, 7 & 8 thus the reason Microsoft is building it into Windows 10 Redstone.

If you want use Windows Defender on a compatible operating system follow the screenshots/steps in this gallery to see how to accomplish that.


Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.