The Best Antivirus Rescue Disks

If malware hampers your ability to run standard antivirus software, bootable rescue disks can aid. These tools allow you to check your computer for malware without having to run Windows and they will often locate files that antivirus software could overlook. Some of them can even look through the Master Boot Record (MBR) of the hard drive, a feature particularly effective in eliminating persistent or difficult-to-clean malware.

These bootable tools have an interface that is text-based. However, they do offer customization options, so you can choose to only scan certain types of files or folders, or even select specific size of files. The best of these tools come with a visual interface and support for more advanced threats including rootkits as well as some varieties of ransomware.

AVG Rescue CD, with its easy but thorough GUI and numerous scanning options, is an excellent example. It’s also among the few programs that provide an entire MBR scan, which is usually impossible to achieve with an unbootable program. However it’s not among the fastest on this list, and its text-only interface doesn’t suit everyone.

Kaspersky Rescue Disk is another top option that’s fast, has user-friendly interface, and supports more advanced malware. It has features you won’t find in other bootable anti-virus tools, like the ability to scan boot sector and hidden startup objects, as well fileless and the entire drive. You can also block files to reduce the time of scanning. In our tests, it identified all the malware samples we emailed it and even some that did not pass detection by other antivirus programs.