Here’s How to Do a Deep (and free) Malware Cleaning on your PC

Everyone should already have a good antivirus application on their computer/notebook/tablet. And there should also be some application installed to help protect against malware. But what do you do when you have a system that’s really loaded with spyware, malware, and adware and your software tools don’t seem to be able to get it all off? You should do an Offline Cleaning. Microsoft gives you the tools for free but almost no one knows how to use them. Here’s exactly how to do it.

Windows 10

The tool is Windows Defender Offline. Close all your open files and then in Windows 10, Go to Settings Update & security > Windows Defender > Select Scan Offline. Your system will reboot and the scan takes about 15 minutes to run.

To see what was found select Start, Settings > Update and Security > Windows Defender. Open the History tab, select All detected items, then select View Details. Any items found by Windows Defender Offline will be listed as Offline Detection source.

Windows 7

Windows 7 is a bit more work but not difficult. First, get a blank CD or a USB drive that’s at least 512MB in capacity. Now – on a computer that you’re pretty sure isn’t infected with malware/spyware – download the Windows Defender Offline application. Select either 32-bit or 64-bit depending upon whether your PC is running a 32 or 64-bit version of Windows.

Link to 32-bit version

Link to 64-bit version

Now run the downloaded file.

Windows Defender Offline Setup

It will ask you if you’d like to create either a USB startup device or a bootable CD. Usually a USB drive is easiest but work with whatever you have.

Windows Defender Offline Setup

Let the setup finish then remove your newly created USB drive. Go to the machine you want to clean but don’t install your USB drive yet. Power the machine down normally and once it’s off, insert the USB drive and turn on the power. The computer will boot to the USB drive and Defender Offline will run – usually for about 15-20 minutes. When it’s finished you’ll be prompted to restart the computer. Remove the USB drive and restart normally. Your deep malware cleaning is done!