How to Run a Windows Defender Offline Scan

The purpose of an offline antivirus is that it is run outside of your operating system, thus (hopefully) avoiding the viruses and malware that have compromised your system.  Microsoft has given Windows Defender its own offline mode that is simple to use in Windows 10 with just a single click. Here’s a quick look at using Windows Defender to perform an offline scan for viruses and malware.

Launch the Windows Defender Security Center. You can do this by searching for it via the Start Menu or by selecting it from the All Apps list.

Once the Security Center window appears, select Virus & Threat Protection.  Click Scan options, located beneath the Quick Scan button.

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The Scan options window gives you the option to run a full scan of everything on your PC, a custom scan of only certain locations, or the Windows Defender Offline Scan, which is what we’re looking for.

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Click the radio button to select the offline scan option and then click Scan Now. Windows will warn you that the offline scan requires the user to reboot their PC. Make sure all of your work and open applications are saved and then proceed, being sure to accept any User Access Control prompts.

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The time the scan takes to complete will vary depending on the size of your drive and the speed of your hardware. Just be sure to let it finish.

When it’s done, Defender will attempt to remove any infections it found.