Windows Defender Offline protects against rootkits and other malware

A new beta of Windows Defender has appeared on the Microsoft website, designed to run outside the Windows OS.

Defender has been a marginal part of Microsoft’s security strategy for end users for some time now, acting in many ways as a precursor to its Security Essentials offering. During the Build conference, Microsoft announced that Defender will be stepping up to the plate and taking on full anti-malware responsibilities in Windows 8. Windows 8’s boot protection has also been hotly debated among the OS community.

The new Defender offline tool can be installed to a CD, ISO or USB flash drive. When you restart the PC you wish to scan, you boot from the memory stick, which then allows Defender (which is based on the upcoming Windows 8 version, points out Paul Thurrott) to scan the OS on the main hard disk without booting it. This whole process allows it to check for rootkits, and other such pre-OS boot malware, to make sure the entire system is secure.

Download the beta now from the Windows site – you never know when it could be useful to have a memory stick with it on around.

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