Free Antivirus Rescue USB Drives, CDs and DVDs

Scan Your System for Malware from a Bootable Rescue CD

Free Antivirus Rescue USB Drives, CDs, DVDs and ISOs

This page lists free software to create a USB drive, CD or DVD, that you can boot to and scan your existing system for viruses, spyware and other malware. They are useful if your system has become hopelessly riddled with such malware so that you cannot install an antivirus program any more, or that it interferes with the antivirus' ability to clean the system. In such a case, the best recourse is create a recovery drive so that the antivirus runs on a clean system. From that clean environment, it will be able to detect and remove viruses without interference from the infection.

The software here can either create a bootable USB drive or CD or DVD. If they provide an ISO file, it means that you will need to burn the file to a CD or DVD with a CD and DVD writing software.

Note that the bootable rescue disks are designed for you to recover from an infected system. They will not protect you from getting infected in the first place. For that, you will need a decent antivirus program. If you can't afford a commercial one, you can find some free ones on the Free Antivirus Software page.

Incidentally, there's no point creating a rescue disk today in anticipation that you may get infected in the future. Viruses change and "mutate" rapidly. Your rescue drive will be outdated by the time you need it, and won't contain the virus definitions you need to combat your infection. It's best to just bookmark this page and create the drive only when you actually need it. Otherwise you'll just be wasting time (the files are very large).

Update: Many of the software previously listed here have become defunct. As such, I have removed them. In addition, some antivirus software, including Windows Defender, which comes preinstalled on Windows 10 systems, now have the ability to do an "offline scan", in which it reboots to a recovery system for scanning, without you needing to create a rescue disk.

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Free Antivirus Rescue USB Drives, CDs, DVDs and ISOs

Windows Defender Offline

When run, the Windows Defender Offline (formerly known as Microsoft Standalone System Security Sweeper) creates a bootable CD that you can use to scan your system for rootkits and other "advanced malware" that a regular antivirus program is unable to detect. If any malware are found, the software can also remove them. Note: Microsoft frequently changes the web addresses of its various pages without automatically redirecting people who land on the old pages to the new one. Should you find that the above link leads you to a File Not Found page or something like that, please let me know and I'll try to update the link.

Kaspersky Rescue Disk

This rescue disk contains a bootable CD that will boot to a Linux environment, and run an antivirus program. Like most of the other links on this page, this is an ISO file.

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