Fix Infected PC in Offline Mode Using Windows Defender Tool

I had a customer the other day that PC was practically dead, because they clicked on one of those pop-up ads while on some sketchy website. Something was downloaded and their computer is infected with malware and would not load properly. If you try to log on to Windows, they kept getting an error, such

    "Interactive logon process initialization has failed"

Who knows what that means. Anyway, they could not get into their Windows 7 machine and therefore there was no way to remove spyware from your computer. She could not even log into safe mode to an anti-spyware program to run. So the only options were to remove everything, reinstall and start fresh or try to get some online spyware scan tool to remove malware before Windows loads, even started.

Luckily, Microsoft released a cool offline version of Windows Defender that scans your system outside of Windows and removes any infections. Then you can start up your computer and the malware will be gone and hopefully your system will start up normally! That’s pretty cool and definitely better than having to reinstall everything.

To get started, go ahead and download the Windows Defender Offline tool here:

The way it works is that you download a program that will help you create a CD / DVD or USB bootable media that Windows Defender is running. You make the media and then start the computer from the CD or USB drive, which then scans your system and solve the problems.

Once you download the 32 or 64-bit version, run the program and you’ll see the welcome screen:

Go ahead and click Next to get started creating the offline media. Once you accept the license agreement, you’ll be given the option to install Windows Defender Offline on a CD/DVD, USB flash drive, or to download an ISO file.


I installed it on a flash drive, which will have to be reformatted in order to install Windows Defender Offline. You only need about 250 MB of free space on the flash drive, but it will still format the entire thing.


Click Next and the process will start. It will download, then process the files, then format the USB drive and then install the files.


Once it’s complete, you will see the instructions for how to use the new media:

Now you can boot up using the media and you’ll get the familiar Windows Defender screen. Note that all the definition files are downloaded when you use the install tool. You don’t need an Internet connection or anything in order to update the definition files. If you need to run the tool again at a later time, you need to create the media again because it will download the latest files and then create the bootable media.

Hopefully the next time you have a problem with your computer and you know that spyware or malware, you can use the offline tool to disinfect your system. If you have questions or problems using the tool, feel free to post a comment! Have fun!