The Best Antivirus Rescue Disks

Bootable rescue disks can be useful in situations where malware blocks you from running regular antivirus software. These disks let you check your computer for malware without having to run Windows, and they can often uncover malware that antivirus software may miss. Some of them can even scan the Master Boot Record (MBR) of the hard drive, a feature particularly effective in eliminating persistent or difficult to clean threats.

These bootable programs typically have a rudimentary text interface, but they also come with customization options so that you can choose to scan specific folders or files, only sizes or types of files and more. The best of these tools will have an interface for users with graphics and support for advanced threats like rootkits or ransomware.

AVG Rescue CD, which has a simple but robust GUI and a variety of scanning options, is a good example. It’s also among the few programs that can do an entire MBR scanning, which is normally impossible with a non bootable program. However it’s not among the fastest on this list and its text-only interface isn’t suitable for all users.

Kaspersky Rescue Disk is a different top choice that’s fast, has a user-friendly interface, and supports more advanced viruses. It offers features that are not often found in other bootable antivirus applications, such as the ability to scan boot sectors and hidden startup objects, as well as files that aren’t able to be scanned and the entire hard drive. You can also set exclusions in order to cut down the time it takes to check for malware. It was able to detect all malware we sent, including those that were undetected by other antivirus software.

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