Microsoft has released a beta version of its Windows Defender antivirus tool that works even when computers are so badly infected that they are unable to fully access the internet.
The program allows users to boot their sick machines off of a CD, DVD or USB flash drive and use the most up-to-date definitions to fight the infections. It's of particular use for removing certain types of malware that make it hard or impossible to access security and antivirus sites. Computer crooks often try to prevent victims from cleaning up their PCs by preventing them from accessing those sites. Other times, Windows gets so corrupted that network connectivity no longer works.
Actually this is sorta old news with a new spin. We call it remarketing on WW. The Microsoft 'Malware Removal Tool' aka mrt.exe has been with Windows XP onward. From a cold start one can type F8 and get into 'Safe Mode with command prompt'. Then run it by typing mrt.exe and pressing enter..
Some Linux CD's have Anti Virus scanners that can read FAT and NTFS drives. Very helpful for files using reserved names that Windows won't let you delete.
If you watch closely during Windows security updates mrt runs as the initialization part of their installation process.
@bill It's likely your acquaintance has the Windows Update 'Automatic Updates' turned off (really bad bad bad idea if so). Windows Update settings are in a Control Panel icon. May the force be with you :-)
I believe that the Defender Offline tool is a bit more than just MRT.exe. Defender Offline runs before Windows even starts up. That lets them go after rootkits and trojans that could be hidden from MRT.exe.
My acquaintance has Automatic Updates turned on. The problem is that he installs stuff without understanding what it is. Even a good AV can't completely protect against that 100%. Whatever has his machine has blocked all access to AV sites and Microsoft updates. I'm hoping this tool will set things right. Otherwise I'm going to have to nuke the thing from orbit and start over. ;)