Free bootable antivirus against malware in Windows

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A bootable antivirus is an interesting solution that should not be missing from your software collection. Not all computers have security solutions installed. Not all types of malware can be fought once the operating system is started because they are loaded into the memory making it difficult to detect and eliminate them.

The cybersecurity threats continue to rise and have become a big problem for the entire technology sector. The introduction of malware on all platforms, data theft, invasion of privacy or DDoS attacks, is constant under all kinds of techniques. Taking advantage of the era of IoT that has increased the ways of hosting information and the way to access it through billions of connected devices.

In this scenario, an external source, independent of the PC to be analyzed, capable of detecting and disinfecting malware and without the need for a permanent installation is an ideal solution. We remind you of the existing free solutions, their creation, use, and some alternatives if you want complete solutions for control and maintenance of your personal computer.

Free Bootable Antivirus

All major security providers offer this type of solution. Most are Linux in “Live CD” format (created and bootable from optical drives, pen drives or USB external drives).


A list of the best available:

  1. Kaspersky Rescue Disk . Kaspersky has not updated the interface for a while but its Gentoo-based rescue disk is the leader in consumer security solutions. You download the ISO image, record it in a boot medium and use it.
  2. ESET SysRescue Live . You can download and store the image file. Also offers the possibility of creating it directly on CD or USB. Interface perfectly updated and very easy to use.
  3. Bitdefender Rescue CD . Personally, I like them the most. It uses a Linux based on Xubuntu that allows greater possibilities besides virus elimination. Download the ISO from the link and burn.
  4. AVG Rescue CD . It offers two different images for CD or USB. Its interface is quite simple based on text but do not be scared, it fulfills its function, and like the rest, it updates regularly.
  5. Panda SafeDisk . Another one similar to Kaspersky. Has not been updated for a long time but continues to fulfill its function. Very easy to use because it does not have too many customization options. It loads a wizard that automatically searches for the available antivirus definitions and, when you press start, it begins to scan the entire system in the search for malicious files.
  6. Trend Micro Rescue Disk . Very simple creation of the rescue disk and with the option to choose CD / DVD or USB disk / pendrive. Its interface is the most simple of the entire list, in a minimalist text mode with a few basic options.
  7. Norton Bootable Recovery Tool . Symantec offers the creation of the boot disk with a wizard that facilitates its creation without external applications once you have downloaded the tool. Once started with it, you will see a graphic but minimalist interface with no customization options, with two main options: scan and clean.
  8. Avira Rescue System . You can download image for bootable disk creation. Graphical interface with few functions but simple to use. Like others we have seen simple interface, its power is in the search engine and disinfection and its ability to update the virus base, something that all do.
  9. F-Secure Rescue CD . Another of the simplest and at the same time easy to use. With a Knoppix database, there is no real user interface except for a text-based dialog, where you will be asked if you want to start the analysis.
  10. Avast . It is the only one in the list that does not offer direct download of an image and the only way is to create the rescue disk from an Avast solution. The good thing is that it can be done from the free desktop version. The bad thing is that you have to install it first.

How these solutions are created

Some providers offer the possibility to create the medium directly from their website and others simply offer an .ISO image that the user must store, either in an optical medium or on an external disk or USB pendrive.

Basically, it is as simple as opening the program, selecting the ISO image that we have downloaded and the application will be responsible for its creation. Some applications to use to record the images are:

You can use the one you prefer or the one advised by the provider. In all cases, the goal is to create a security tool capable of booting into our PC independently of the operating system installed, to improve the search and disinfection of malware.

How a bootable antivirus is used?

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Once the rescue medium is created, its use is simple. We restart the machine with the medium inserted in its location to start from it. If we have not done it before, we will have to enter the BIOS to place the optical drive or USB as the first boot media , always before the hard disk or SSD where we have installed the system.

The medium created is a “Live CD” format so we will not have to install anything on the hard drive or SSD of our computer. Some solutions offer a visual environment and more functions, while others use a text mode completely dedicated to removing malware.

Some antivirus are highly customizable, they allow to select scan and disinfection, boot sector, quick or full scan, files and folders of hard disks or external drives, access to the network, heuristic method and almost everything we can find in an installable antivirus.

Like any Linux, some include tools such as a browser to delete files manually or package managers in case we need to install any troubleshooting tool based on Linux, although its main use is the scanning and disinfection of viruses.


Although some of the previous anitvirus are very powerful, such as Bitdefender, which is – almost – a Xubuntu on disk, more advanced users may prefer to use general bootable disks that allow isolating, identifying and fixing system errors and also allow activation of different antivirus.

Its operation is identical to the previous ones, bootable from optical drives, pendrives or external USB disks, without having to install anything on the hard disk or internal SSD. Among others we can highlight:

Good luck with those bugs!

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