The other day I had a client whose computer was practically dead because he clicked on one of the pop-up ads on some sketchy website.
Something was downloaded and their computer was infected with malware and didn’t boot properly. When trying to log in to Windows, they kept getting some error similar to the following:
Failed to initialize the interactive logon process
Who knows what that means. However, they could no longer get into their Windows machine, and because of this, there was no way to remove spyware from the computer. They couldn’t even enter Safe Mode to run the antivirus program.
So the only option was to uninstall everything, reinstall and start over, or try to use some kind of standalone spyware scanning tool to remove the malware before Windows could even boot.
Luckily, Microsoft has released a cool standalone version of Windows Defender that scans your system outside of Windows and removes any infections. Then you can start your computer and the malware is gone and hopefully your system boots fine!
It’s cool and definitely better than reinstalling everything.
Offline virus scan
To get started, download the Windows Defender Offline Tool here:
It works like this: you download a program that will help you create a bootable CD / DVD or USB media that will run Windows Defender. You will create media and then boot your computer from a CD or USB drive, which will then scan your system and fix any problems.
After downloading the 32- or 64-bit version, launch the program and you will see the welcome screen:
Go ahead and click Next to start creating your offline media. Once you accept the license agreement, you will be prompted to install Windows Defender Standalone to CD / DVD, USB stick, or download an ISO file.
I installed it on a USB stick that will need to be reformatted to install Windows Defender Offline. You only need about 250MB of free space on your flash drive, but the entire file will still be formatted.
Click Next and the process will begin. It will download, then process the files, then format the USB stick and install the files.
When complete, you will see instructions for using the new media:
You can now boot from the media and you’ll be presented with the familiar Windows Defender screen. If your computer does not automatically boot from the USB stick, you need to change the boot order in the BIOS first.
Note that all definition files are downloaded when using the installation tool. You don’t need an Internet connection or anything else to update the definition files.
If you need to run the tool again later, you will 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 find out that it is spyware or malware, you can use a standalone tool to heal your system. If you have any questions or concerns about using the tool, feel free to leave comments! Enjoy!