The Best Antivirus Rescue Disks

Bootable rescue disks can be useful in situations where malware blocks you from running normal antivirus software. These disks let you check your computer for malware without Windows and are often able to locate files that antivirus software could miss. Some even look through the Master Boot Record (MBR) of the hard drive, a feature that’s particularly useful for eradicating persistent or difficult to clean threats.

These bootable tools typically have a rudimentary text interface, but they also have customization options, so you can select to scan specific folders or files, just sizes or types of files, and much more. The best among these tools offer a graphical interface and support for more advanced threats like rootkits and certain types of ransomware.

AVG Rescue CD, which has a simple but robust GUI and a variety of scanning options, is a great example. It’s also among the few programs capable of performing the full MBR scanning which is usually impossible with a non bootable program. However it’s not among the fastest on this list, and its text-only interface isn’t for all users.

Kaspersky Rescue Disk is a different top choice that’s fast, has well-designed interface and can handle more advanced infections. It offers features that you’ll rarely see in other bootable antivirus programs, such as the ability to scan boot sectors, hidden startup objects, as well as fileless files and the entire hard drive. It can also exclude files to speed up the time spent on scanning. It identified all the malware we sent, even ones that were not detected by other antivirus software.

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