Bootable rescue disks can be useful when malware prevents you from running standard antivirus software. These tools allow you to scan your PC without Windows and are often able to locate malware that antivirus software may overlook. Certain tools can scan the Master Boot Record of the hard drive. This is a feature that can be especially useful in removing persistent or difficult-to-clean threats.

These bootable tools tend to offer a basic text interface, but most have customization options, so you can choose to scan specific folders or files, only file types or sizes, and much more. The best of these tools will feature a a graphical user interface and support for more advanced threats like rootkits or ransomware.

AVG Rescue CD is a great example, offering a simple but well-organized GUI and a variety of scanning options. It is also one of few programs capable of performing a full MBR scanning, which is normally impossible with a non bootable software. However, it’s not the fastest on this list, and diligent boards for efficient management its text-only interface isn’t suitable 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 has features you won’t discover in other bootable antivirus tools, like the ability to scan the boot sector as well as hidden startup objects, as well as fileless and the entire drive. It can also exclude files to reduce the time required to scan. It was able to detect all malware we sent, even those that were undetected by other antivirus software.

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