New Windows Defender beta can run outside of Windows

Microsoft's Windows Defender anti-virus tool is getting a new beta version that will allow people with Windows-based PCs to use the software without actually booting up the operating system. The new Windows Defender Offline beta can now be downloaded at Microsoft's web site. The idea is to go after malware and other viruses that can infect Windows during the boot process.

Once users download the Windows Defender Offline beta they can install it on either a CD/DVD or a USB flash drive. They can then run the program from the disk or flash drive when Windows boots up to look for any malware threats during the boot process; if found the software can remove the threats. You can even ask for different types of virus scans: a full scan, a quick scan, or a custom scan. The software comes in 32-bit or 64-bit versions and can also be updated with the latest virus definitions. There's also an FAQ page for any other questions about the new Windows Defender.

Microsoft already has plans for even more sophisticated anti-virus defenses for the upcoming Windows 8 operating system. It's possible this new Windows Defender beta is a small preview of Microsoft's plans for Windows 8.

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