Fix: Windows Defender offline scan not working on Windows 10

by Ivan Jenic
Ivan Jenic
Ivan Jenic
Troubleshooting Expert
Passionate about all elements related to Windows and combined with his innate curiosity, Ivan has delved deep into understanding this operating system, with a specialization in drivers and... read more
Affiliate Disclosure
  • Did you notice Windows Defender offline scan not working after recent updates?
  • If the Windows Defender scan is stuck, reinstalling the OS without any modifications might help.
  • Also, going back to a restore point is helpful if the Windows Defender full scan is stuck.
  • Other methods that have been tested successfully are Command Prompt scans.
windows defender
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It seems that after Windows Defender starts making a specific update to its database it will start having freezing issues or it will simply fail to start properly in Windows 10. A lot of users that prefer the Windows Defender offline scan have complained that the tool won’t work.

In most cases, the error message appears whenever you try to do a custom scan or a full scan on all your hard drives and it will most likely give you the pop-up message Windows Defender couldn’t scan your PC. This program service has stopped followed by the error code 0x800106ba.

Users reported different, yet similar behaviors around this abnormal functionality. So let’s take a closer look.

When does this issue occur and what can I expect?

  • All types of scans can be impacted (Windows Defender full scan stuck, Windows quick scan not working and of course, Windows Defender offline scan not starting or restarting)
  • Windows Defender full scan estimated time remaining keeps increasing (users also reported other issues related to full scans such as Windows Defender full scan stopped before completion or it simply crashes on full scan)
  • More issues with the offline option (Windows Defender offline scan stops at 92 or it is taking too long)
  • Windows Defender custom scan not working
  • Scanning is vain (Windows Defender last scan not available/0 files scanned or Windows Defender offline scan no results)
  • Also affecting newer OS versions (Windows Defender offline scan not working Windows 11)
  • Windows Defender offline scan just reboots
  • Windows Defender scan not working in Safe Mode

So in the tutorial below, we will be doing a restore settings action back to where your Windows Defender did not have this issue and also a few additional checks to the system to make sure it is from the Windows Defender and not from the operating system itself.

Note that in the case of the offline scan, issues with the tool have been reported since a few years ago. However, many users have kept using it until some Windows updates affected the functionality.

How can I fix Windows Defender scanning problems?

1. Recreate the Recovery Partitions

This method should work when the Windows Defender offline scan is stuck or won’t even start. Users oftentimes resort to performing a clean install and then deleting the recovery partitions. This causes Windows Defender to stop working.

So what you should do is attempt to perform an in-place upgrade repair installation of Windows, which will also recreate the deleted partition.

The operation can be performed either using the Windows 10 ISO files or the Media Creation Tool to copy Windows 10 on a portable media and then insert it in the affected device.

It is possible that you’ll also have to install some updates afterward.

2. Use Command Prompt

windows defender offline scan issues
  1. Start Command Prompt as administrator.
  2. In the Command Prompt, you will need to write the following command:
    C:\ProgramFiles\WindowsDefender\MpCmdRun.exe–removedefinitions

    Now press Enter to run the command.

  3. Once the command is executed, close Command Prompt and restart your PC.

Note: A very important thing to keep in mind is that you should not do the Windows Defender update again. If you want to do an update on the Windows Defender application make sure to check if Microsoft has fixed this issue.

If Windows Defender won’t turn on at all in Windows 10, here’s what you need to do.

3. Use a third-party antivirus

If you still can’t fix the problem with Windows Defender, you might want to consider switching to a third-party antivirus solution.

While Windows Defender is a good and free tool, there is other more reliable antivirus software that comes with enhanced features.

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4. Run System Restore

  1. Press Windows Key + S and enter system restore. Choose Create a restore point from the menu.
    Windows Defender quick scan stuck
  2. The System Properties window will now appear. Now click System Restore button.
    Windows Defender quick scan not working
  3. When System Restore window opens, click Next.
    Windows Defender your PC couldn't be scanned
  4. If available, check Show more restore points. Select the desired restore point from the menu and click Next.
    Windows Defender not working Windows 10
  5. Now follow the instructions on the screen to complete the restoration process.

Once your PC is restored, check if the problem still persists.

IMPORTANT: Before attempting this step make a backup copy of your files and folders that you will need because there is a possibility that after you do the system restore the files and folders might delete.

5. Check your exclusions

  1. Press Windows Key + I to open the Settings app.
  2. Now navigate to Update & security section.
    Windows Defender quick scan not working
  3. From the menu on the left choose Windows Defender. In the right pane, select Open Windows Defender Security Center.
    Windows Defender your PC couldn't be scanned
  4. Windows Defender Security Center will now appear. Click on Virus & threat protection.
  5. Now select Virus & threat protection settings.
  6. Scroll down to the Exclusions section and click on Add or remove exclusions.
  7. Now you should see all available exclusions. Select the exclusion and click the Remove button.
    Windows Defender not working Windows 10

Remove all exclusions from Windows Defender and check if that solves the problem.

Several users reported that their entire C drive was added to the exclusion list without their knowledge. This caused the problem with Windows Defender, but you can easily fix this issue simply by removing your exclusions.

6. Perform SFC, DISM and chkdsk scans

  1. Press Windows Key + X to open Win + X menu.
  2. Select Command Prompt (Admin) from the list. If Command Prompt isn’t available, you can also use PowerShell (Admin).
    Windows Defender quick scan stuck
  3. When Command Prompt starts, enter sfc /scannow and press Enter.
    Windows Defender quick scan not working
  4. The SFC scan will now start. Wait for the scan to finish. Keep in mind that this scan can take up to 15 minutes.

Once the scan is finished, check if the problem still persists. If you were unable to run an SFC scan or if the problem still persists, you might want to try using a DISM scan instead. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Start Command Prompt as administrator.
  2. When Command Prompt opens, enter the following command + Enter: DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth
    Windows Defender your PC couldn't be scanned
  3. DISM scan will now start. Keep in mind that this scan can take up to 20 minutes to complete, so don’t interrupt it.

Once the DISM scan is finished, check if the problem still persists. If the issue is still present or if you were unable to run SFC scan before, be sure to repeat the SFC scan again. After doing that, the problem should be completely resolved.

Several users are also recommending using chkdsk scan. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Start Command Prompt as administrator.
  2. Now enter the following command, replacing X with the letter that represents your system partition. In most cases, that would be C. Press Enter to run the command: chkdsk /f X
    Windows Defender quick scan stuck
  3. If you decide to scan your C drive, you’ll need to schedule a scan and restart your PC. To do that, press Y in Command Prompt and restart your PC.
  4. Once your PC restarts, chkdsk scan will start automatically. Wait for the scan to complete. Depending on the size of your partition, the scan can take up to 20 minutes or more.

Once the scan is completed, check if the problem still persists.

7. Install the latest updates

  1. Open the Settings app and navigate to Update & security section.
  2. Now click on Check for updates button.
    Windows Defender not working Windows 10

Windows will check for available updates and download them in the background. After installing the latest updates, check if the problem still persists.

These methods will show you exactly what you need to do in order to fix your Windows Defender in the Windows 10 operating system.

You can also write to us in the comments section if you have any other additional issues or questions regarding this subject.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Windows Defender (or Microsoft Defender) is built into Windows 10. You only need to activate some security settings in the Updates & Security menu, depending on which ones you want to use.

  • Windows Defender has ranked high in performance tests. Nevertheless, you can always strengthen security by also installing a third-party antivirus.

  • If Windows Defender stops working or won’t even start, you can restore your system or perform some system scan, as explained in our guide.