What is a Bootable Antivirus & the Best Tools Available

A Bootable Antivirus is a program that can be used directly from a flash drive or any disk without having to start the infected operating system at all. Sometimes, as it so happens, the operating system gets affected by a virus in such a way that the computer uses it to boot, or it simply becomes risky to do so. A powerful tool like this at your disposal can scan the hard drive for all viruses and malware without having to start Windows.

Normally, to use a Bootable Antivirus, all you have to do is to take an ISO image of the program from a computer that is working, burn it to a disc or simply copy it to a USB drive. Next, you will need to set the boot priority option in the BIOS menu in such a way that the computer recognizes either the USB drive or CD/DVD drive at first, and not the primary hard disk.

If you have ever faced any such problem where a solution was nowhere close to being found, we have compiled a list of top 10 Antivirus tools that you can use to fix your malfunctioning system.

whats a bootable antivirus

Top 10 Bootable Antivirus

  1. AVG Rescue CD

This is one of the most popular and freely available bootable Antivirus programs that scores high points regarding effectiveness. It checks for programs that are potentially harmful, scans through hidden file extensions, scans cookies, and even does a thorough scan of archived files.

Before you begin scanning with this program, you’ll be presented with an option to,

  • Scan for particular local disks
  • Particular folders
  • Only boot sector
  • Just the registry
  • External storage drives

The program has an easy-to-use interface that is devoid of any graphics and is only reliant on text to convey instructions on how to operate. More details about this free Antivirus can be found on the link below.

Want to know more? Visit AVG.com

avg rescue cd

  1. Bitdefender Rescue CD

It’s  a free to use bootable virus scanner that more than serves its purpose. It automatically checks for updates every time you launch it and remains updated to the latest version to protect you against all sorts of threats. There are various scan modes and options available that allow you to choose the type of files that the program should scan, the maximum file size up to which it should scan, and it also lets you choose individual folders that you think can contain the virus or any other harmful program.

The option to scan a specific directory and not the entire drive is especially useful as it saves a whole lot of time and gives you the freedom to target suspicious folders.

This software stands out from the crowd as it has an extremely nifty graphical interface that is easy to navigate, allows you full control over the items that you want to scan, along with advanced scan options through which you can pinpoint the exact locations of the virus present.

Get more details about the software and download information on their website.

bitdefender rescue cd

  1. Anvi Rescue Disk

Anvi Rescue Disk is an extremely easy to use tool that provides a range of scan options, starting from full system scan, with Smart scan to the custom scan to search for virus or malware that may be present inside a specific file or folder. It also has an additional feature that fixes registry issues caused by a virus.

It consists of a graphical interface that utilizes only a few buttons. Multiple scanning options are provided to scan, repair, and remove malicious programs from the hard drive and keep the system up and running.

Unlike most other Antivirus tools that are bootable, this one comes with a graphical interface instead of a text-only interface, thus making navigation a lot easier. Anvi Rescue Disk makes use of the all familiar point-and-click feature that is common in most desktop applications, which makes it easy to use.

Interested in knowing more? Then visit the official website here.

anvi rescue disk

  1. Avira Rescue System

This isn’t your everyday virus scanner, but so much more. Avira rescue system can also be used as a registry repair, malware scanner or even as a web browser. Within a standard graphical interface, you get tons of features that will eliminate the need of searching for any other similar software. Like other Antiviruses we’ve discussed so far, Avira too keeps itself updated before performing a virus scan so that no virus or malware can exist on your system. This free bootable program can be run from a disc before booting the operating system.

Some benefits of using Avira Rescue System are:

  • It can scan compressed files
  • It performs automatic updates before a scan takes place
  • Attractive graphical interface ensures easy navigation and utility
  • Comes with few other additional tools that can help keep your PC in top-notch

The downside of this program, however, is the fact that it comes with a large size of 650 MB.

Visit the official website to know more about its usage and functions.

avira rescue system

  1. Kaspersky Rescue Disk

Kaspersky is another popular name in the Antivirus world that has come up with some of the best virus-fighting programs over the years. This tool can scan for Trojans, malicious programs, viruses, worms, adware, and other harmful programs that may exist on your computer. There are two modes of interface available – graphical and text-only. You can opt for either of them depending on your preference and expertise. A text-only version is simple while the graphical one looks attractive and is easier to use. Various attractive options include,

  • Deep scanning inside of archives
  • Scanning installation packages
  • Scanning OLE objects

If that is not all, you can program this tool to automatically disinfect or remove a malicious program when it finds one. You can alternatively program it to prompt you when it finds an infected file or folder and then you can decide what to do with it. This is to avoid losing important files. Some free tools are also bundled with this program that can help you to maintain your PC’s health. One downside of Kaspersky Rescue Disk is that it takes around 300 MB of hard disk space, which makes it a rather large program to be used in time of need.

Get more information and download this tool by visiting the official website at Kaspersky.com.

kaspersky rescue disk

  1. Comodo Rescue Disk

It’s a fantastic boot antivirus tool that can be used to directly via USB device or through a disc. It often comes bundled with Comodo Antivirus software. The interface can be switched between graphics and full text only mode. It offers a familiar interface that is very easy to operate. Comodo performs automatic updates that can be done online or off-line, and the software itself is extremely small in size – ranging from 50 to 60 MB depending on the version you choose.

Three types of scan modes are available with Comodo Rescue Disk:

  • Full scan
  • Custom scan
  • Smart scan

The full scan feature allows the Antivirus to check the entire contents of the hard drive to find out malicious programs. Custom scan allows the user to choose individual folders or directories while the Smart Scan makes checks for viruses in boot sectors, Auto Run entries, registry, and other places and helps get rid of complex viruses that have made way to your critical system files.

Interested in this amazing virus removal tool? Get more details on their website.

comodo rescue disk

  1. Dr. Web Live Disk

This Antivirus tool is free to use and is available for Windows and Linux platforms. There are plenty of features and customizable options available that can help you detect hack tools, Adware, riskware, dialers, etc. You can customize the way this tool works. By that I mean you can configure a custom scan to exclude directories, set a limitation on file size that are scanned, and the maximum duration that the program should ideally spend in scanning a file.

This program can be installed through a USB device or via a bootable disk created from a running computer.

Best features of Dr. Web Live Disk:

  • Useful graphical interface
  • Easy to install and operate
  • Custom scan settings available for maximum effectiveness
  • Automatic updates are available

Visit the official website to obtain more information about this product.

dr web antivirus

  1. Panda Cloud Cleaner Rescue ISO

This is another program that is widely popular for its effectiveness. All you have to do is to use the Panda Rescue ISO to launch the program and follow the instructions that come on the screen. Scanning is automatically done before Windows boots up thus eliminating the chance of virus to get activated, which might have potentially led to its shutdown.

Updates are downloaded automatically, and the tool works on operating systems starting from Windows XP to the recent version of Windows 10.

Some interesting features of this program are:

  • You can perform scan of any particular file, folder, or entire partitions as per your wish
  • Standard graphical interface makes it extremely easy to use
  • Download size is relatively small and takes up about 180 MB of hard disk space

Get more information about this amazing Antivirus tool here.

panda cloud cleaner

  1. Windows Defender offline

This bootable virus scanner comes from the world leaders of software, Microsoft, and sports an extremely easy to navigate user interface. To keep the program up and running, you can additionally install updates. You can do a quick virus scan, full system scan, a custom scan of files and folders, and keep your PC safe from various types of threats.

Even though this is not the best bootable Antivirus available, it is still a good purchase for those who do not or have limited access to the Internet.

Steps to install Windows Defender Offline:

  • Download the program and create a CD/DVD, or USB flash drive
  • Restart your system using the program in order to let it initiate the scan
  • Complete the scan for potentially malicious and unwanted programs
  • Quarantine or completely remove the infected files from your PC

windows defender

  1. F-Secure Rescue CD

This is a simple yet effective bootable scanner that works perfectly without the presence of a graphical UI. It may be confusing for some, but there are hardly any options available that do not involve the press of a single ‘Enter’ key to get the program started. That’s all there is to it.

Press the button and the program will search for virus and other sorts of malware present on the hard drive. It keeps itself updated before starting any scan so that no potentially harmful program remains undetected.

The best features of F-Secure Rescue Disk are:

  • Extremely easy to use and performs quick scans
  • Updates install automatically, but there is also an option to install off-line
  • Extremely compact in size and takes no more than 150 MB of hard disk space

If you want to check out all the great features and download this program for free, then visit this link.

f-secure rescue cd

What should you do now?

Now that you know about the ten most effective Bootable Antiviruses available in the market that also happen to be the most popular ones, you’re better equipped with information to make a proper judgment the next time you are in need of such a program. It goes without saying that bootable virus scanners are very different from traditional Antivirus tools when it comes to the method of usage.

Normally, Antivirus programs have to be run directly from Windows, and then only you can sanction a virus scan of your system. This is not the case for the aforementioned programs as they exist solely to rescue your PC during times when booting up the operating system is no longer an option. When your PC is at the risk of severe malfunction if it is booted up, then one of the tools above can save the day.

One Response

  1. Bert


    First, sorry for my poor English… it’s not my native language…

    I use to repair PCs solving everyday troubles: viruses, boot fails, freeze, internet connection, slowing and so on…
    So I always keep in my pocket my multiboot usb drives I built using both Yumi and Easy2Boot: I included rescue tools like UBCD, Clonezilla, SysrescueCD, Boot Repair Disk, Rescatux, MiniTool Partition Wizard, Gparted, free versions of several Paragon, EaseUS and AOMEI tools and many, many others. I included some bootable AV tools, of course: Avira, Kaspersky, Dr. Web, Eset and Bitdefender. Bitdefender is really cool but, first, it boots only if you put it in a single tool USB using Rufus, or, if you use a multiboot like me, on Easy2Boot, since Yumi doesn’t support it anymore.
    Second, Bitdefender Rescue CD doesn’t support some WiFi cards, so you have to use a cable to update before you scan. Also with Kaspersky and Comodo I experienced some problem with wifi on some PC.

    On the other hand, Dr. Web, Eset and Avira works perfectly on all the PC I tested (I’m talking about wifi). But if you can connect (eth or wifi) all this tools work like a charm: a friend of mine was infected by the so called “fake police virus” that blocked his PC after boot showing a scary screen 😉 I cleaned his PC with Kaspersky Rescue CD and it started working again.

    The only issue I experienced with Kav10 was a loss of all partitions on XP. I could recover them with testdisk, but I was a bit disappointed. It never gave me any problem on Win7, 8 and 8.1.

    Do you know if Kav10 is not still recommendable if you have XP? Do you know anything about these issues with wifi using some of these bootable AV?

    Thank you in advance,



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