Windows Defender Offline Scan Not Working: 6 Ways to Fix It

Find out what worked for other users

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Key notes

  • Many users found Windows Defender offline scan not working in Windows 10, a critical scan that helps identify and eliminate viruses.
  • The problem usually arises due to corrupt system files or third-party security apps.
  • To fix things, you can run the scan from PowerShell, repair corrupt system files, or create a new user account.
fix windows defender offline scan not working

It seems that after Windows Defender starts making a specific update to its database, it will start having freezing issues or will fail to start properly in Windows 10. Several users have, of late, reported that the Windows Defender offline scan is not working.

While Windows Defender not working can be easily fixed, having problems with the offline scan indicates an issue that is often tricky to identify. But, we have a few solutions that worked seamlessly for other users. Let’s find out.

Why is Windows Defender offline scan not working?

Here are a few reasons the Windows 10 Defender offline scan is not working:

  • Bug in the OS: The problem has been reported by a large number of users, which points to a bug in Windows itself.
  • Corrupt system files: If you have corrupt system files on the PC, several critical functioning will stop working, including issues like Windows Defender offline scan stuck.
  • Third-party apps triggering conflicts: Third-party antiviruses and other security software, when installed, can also trigger the problem.
  • Missing permissions: Users require administrative privileges to access certain vital functions and features, and if these are missing, you may find the Windows Defender offline scan not running.

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

How can I fix Windows Defender scanning problems?

Before we head to the slightly complex solutions, try these quick ones first:

  • Make sure you are logged in as an administrator.
  • If you have third-party software installed, Windows will automatically disable Windows Defender to prevent conflicts between the two. So, you can either disable or uninstall the program.
  • Check for any pending Windows updates and install them.

If none of these work, move to the fixes listed next.

1. Perform the scan via PowerShell

  1. Press Windows + R to open Run, type powerhshell, and hit Ctrl + Shift + Enter.powershell
  2. Click Yes in the UAC prompt.
  3. Now, paste the following command and hit Enter to run the Windows Defender Offline Scan:Start-MpWDOScancommand to fix windows defender offline scan not working

Oftentimes, while the Offline Scan wouldn’t start from Windows Defender, executing the dedicated command in PowerShell would get it to run.

2. Run the Windows Update troubleshooter

  1. Press Windows + I to open Settings, and click on Update & Security.update & security
  2. Choose Troubleshoot from the navigation pane, and click on Additional troubleshooters on the right.additional troubleshooter
  3. Now, select Windows Update and click the Run the troubleshooter button.troubleshooter to fix windows defender offline scan not working
  4. Wait for the troubleshooter to run, identify and eliminate problems.troubleshooter

A few users reported that it was a problem with Windows Update that led to the Windows Defender Offline Scan not working, and running the dedicated troubleshooter got things working perfectly.

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 another more reliable antivirus software that comes with enhanced features.

On that note, we recommend using ESET HOME Security Essential as a very affordable, lightweight, and efficient solution.

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ESET HOME Security Essential offers web browsing protection, and online banking security features, keeping ransomware and spyware attackers at bay.

Thanks to its real-time protection technology, this tool will erase all digital threats and further prevent them from entering and affecting your computer.

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4. Run the DISM and SFC scan

  1. Press Windows + S to open the Search menu, type Command Prompt in the text field, and click on Run as administrator.command prompt
  2. Click Yes in the prompt.
  3. Paste the following three commands individually and hit Enter after each:DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /CheckHealth DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /ScanHealth DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth
  4. Once done, run the following command for the SFC scan:sfc /scannowsfc scan to fix windows defender offline scan not working

The DISM (Deployment Image Servicing and Management) tool and SFC (System File Checker) scan are two effective built-in options to fix corrupt system files, which might be the reason Windows Defender Offline Scan is not working.

5. Perform an in-place upgrade

  1. Go to Microsoft’s official website, and click the Download tool now button to get the Windows 10 Media Creation tool now
  2. Run the setup, click Yes in the prompt, and let it get things ready.setup
  3. Click Accept to agree to Microsoft’s license terms and agreements.accept
  4. Choose Upgrade this PC now, and click on Next to continue.upgrade this PC now to fix windows defender offline scan not working
  5. Wait for the download to complete and let setup install Windows upgrade to fix windows defender offline scan not working

An in-place upgrade is the best option when the Windows Defender Offline Scan is not working or even for other intricate issues where you can’t identify the underlying cause.

And the best part is you don’t lose any files or apps, though we do recommend you create a backup beforehand in case things go wrong.

6. Create a new user account

  1. Press Windows + R to open Run, type netplwiz in the text field, and hit Enter.netplwiz
  2. Click on the button Add to create a new account.add account to fix windows defender offline scan not working
  3. Now, click on Sign in without a Microsoft account (not recommended).sign in without a microsoft account
  4. Choose Local Account.local account to fix windows defender offline scan not working
  5. Fill out all the fields, the username, password, and a hint for the latter, and then click Next.details
  6. After you get an account creation confirmation, click on Finish.finish
  7. Choose the account you just created and click
  8. Navigate to the Group Membership tab, select Administrator, and click OK to save the changes.set as administrator to fix windows defender offline scan not working
  9. Again, click OK for the changes to come into effect.

That’s it! If the previous solutions didn’t work, creating a new local user account should do the trick.

If you still find Windows Defender Offline Scan not working, reinstall Windows 10 as a last resort. We also have a guide on how to fix Windows Defender Scans folder access denied message, so don’t miss it.

Before you leave, do check the best antivirus for Windows 10 for all-around protection against malware or online threats.

Tell us which fix worked for you in the comments section below.