Windows 10 comes with the Microsoft Defender Antivirus security feature to protect your computer and data from virtually any type of malware and hackers. Although this is one of the best antivirus software, it’s not perfect, and sometimes, specially crafted malicious code can find its way into the system and rapidly take control and cause irreversible damage.

This is not specific to Microsoft Defender. This can occur with any third-party antivirus you install on your computer. However, if your computer gets infected with a nasty hard-to-move malware when Windows 10 is loaded, you can use the Microsoft Defender Offline scan option. The offline option is an automated feature capable of running when the system isn’t running, which allows the anti-malware engine to detect and remove most viruses more easily.

In this Windows 10 guide, we will walk you through the steps to perform an offline malware scan using the Windows Defender Antivirus tool.

How to use Defender Antivirus Offline scan on Windows 10

To scan and remove viruses with the Microsoft Defender Antivirus Offline scan feature, use these steps:

  1. Open Windows Security.
  2. Click on Virus & threat protection.
  3. Under the “Current threats” section, click the Scan options setting.Source: Windows Central
  4. Select the Microsoft Defender Offline scan option.Source: Windows Central
  5. Click the Scan now button.
  6. Click the Scan button.

Once you complete the steps, Windows 11 will restart into the Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE), where the command-line version of Microsoft Defender Antivirus will run automatically without loading the system. The scan will detect and delete any hard-to-remove viruses it may find without user interaction. The offline scan will take around 10 minutes, then the computer will restart automatically.

Review scan results

To review the scan information, use these steps:

  1. Open Windows Security.
  2. Click on Virus & threat protection.
  3. Under the “Current threats” section, click the Protection history setting.Source: Windows Central
  4. Confirm the scan actions and recommendations (if available).Source: Windows Central

If you don’t see any information in the history, then the antivirus couldn’t find anything on the computer.

It’s also important to pay attention to the items’ dates because the list includes all the recent actions, and sometimes, you may see things from previous scans or real-time detections.