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The Best Free Bootable Antivirus Rescue CDs

Updated on January 22, 2014

What is a Rescue CD?

You're probably asking yourself, "what on earth is a rescue CD?" A rescue antivirus CD is a bootable CD (or DVD) with built in antivirus scanners. These CDs are perfect for scanning your computer for viruses without loading Windows or your other operating system software.

Many of the nastiest viruses are designed to corrupt critical Windows system and other important operating system files and they can really wreak havoc on a machine. Many of the viruses manipulate Windows files and prevent you from running applications, installing new programs, and updating or running antivirus or malware scans. Many viruses will cause your system to crash and reboot randomly while you desperately try to save your files and your computer. Some can even prevent you from properly booting your computer up into Windows or other operating systems all together.

Even if you decide to cut your losses and format your hard drive and reinstall your operating system, you'll want to back up and copy any critical documents, photos or other vital files before you do so. Usually this is next to impossible with a nasty virus preventing you from using Windows normally.

A bootable rescue CD can be the perfect tool in these situations. A rescue CD contains its own operating system that can run directly from the CD without installing anything to your hard drive. This allows you to run a virus scan without booting up Windows or your operating system where the virus is probably designed to do the most damage. Some CDs will also allow you to get access to your hard drive and back up critical data without the need to boot into Windows!

A bootable antivirus rescue CD just might be the answer to your computer prayers one day. In this lens I list my favorite antivirus bootable rescue CDs. Want to know the very best part? They are all absolutely FREE!

Why Do I Need a Bootable Rescue CD?

It just might save your neck one day!

As I've mentioned many of the viruses and malware lurking out there in today's high tech world are getting very advanced. I'm certainly not a computer expert, but I know much more about computers than the casual computer user. I am constantly fixing computers and removing viruses for friends, family, colleagues and even some paid clients now and then. I've been through the entire process dozens of times and I've seen a drastic change in viruses and malware within the past three to five years.

Cleaning a PC a few years ago was usually a pretty simple task easily accomplished with some intermediate knowledge and access to typical antivirus software and removal tools. Infections were generally much more easily prevented and removed compared to what I've seen lately.

Viruses today are much more easily obtained and they are also a lot more difficult for typical antivirus and antimalware software to find and remove. It used to be a computer user needed to foolishly download and run an executable file to get an infection. Today infecting your computer with a virus or malware is often as simple as clicking on the wrong link in an email or simply visiting the wrong website. Many of them are even ahead of the virus and malware detection signatures that are used by most common antivirus programs today. That's right, despite active antivirus programs and real time protection, some malware can still sneak past your defenses and infect your system.

Once they've found their way onto your system the modern computer virus or malware is much more malicous and much more difficult to remove. The virus can simply hide in wait, or it can start making changes to your system right under your nose if you aren't properly protected. I recently helped a friend recover from a particularly nasty virus infection and a free bootable antivirus rescue CD was just what the Doctor ordered!


What does "bootable" mean? Why is that so important?

No matter how frustrated you are, bootable does NOT mean we'll be kicking your computer. =)

"Boot" is basically another way of saying "start up". The term "bootable" simply means you "boot" or start your computer with the actual CD or DVD rather than the hard drive your computer usually starts from.

Normally when you boot up your computer it loads your operating system software, like Windows, from files stored on your hard drive. If a virus is preventing your operating system from loading or properly functioning, it basically cripples your computer. Having the ability to boot up your computer and access your hard drive outside of Windows can be crucial to recovering from a virus infection and getting back to work, play, or even just rescuing your vital data.

Dr. Web Live CD

Dr.Web LiveCD

Free antivirus emergency system recovery disk

Dr.Web CureIt! is a well known antivirus and anti-malware tool. The same technology is available for free on bootable rescue CD. The Dr.Web LiveCD allows Windows and Linux users with an unbootable system to scan their machine's hard drive and cure or remove infected or suspicious files. This amazing little CD can run either in standard graphical user interface mode (GUI) or advanced command line mode where experienced users can run the software from a command prompt.

What is GUI? This CD loads a linux based graphic interface for the user. Although that may sound confusing, it is ultimately a very familiar looking desktop that makes this CD extremely easy to use for anyone familiar with Linux or Windows desktops.

This one CD provides amazing functionality. At the time I write this, the Dr.Web LiveCD provides the following features and built in applications:

The Dr.Web Virus/Malware Scanner for Linux

A Firefox browser

Sylpheed email client

Midnight Commander file manager (command-line terminal)

The Leafpad text editor

If your system still has an active internet connection the Dr.Web LiveCD can be the answer to your prayers until you get your system repaired. It allows you to update the scanner with the latest virus definitions to scan your system for the latest threats. The Firefox browser allows you to surf the web and the built in Sylpheed email client allows you to handle email tasks while you get your system squared away.

Users can also use the Dr.Web LiveCD to create a bootable USB flash drive. This uses the Dr.Web LiveCD as a portable operating system

customized according to specific user needs. This enables access to data on any computer regardless of the operating system software installed. The bottom line is there is simply an amazing amount of resources packed into this free CD!

For more information, or to download the Dr.Web LiveCD, CLICK HERE!

Dr.Web Videos on YouTube

YouTube features quite a few Dr.Web related videos. See the Dr.Web LiveCD in action, check out some user reviews, watch user tutorials and more! Keep in mind these videos are usually user generated and thus may not necessarily reflect our opinion or the views and opinions of Dr.Web.

AVG Antivirus Rescue CD

AVG Free Antivirus Rescue CD

(c) 2011 AVG Technologies -
(c) 2011 AVG Technologies -

The AVG Rescue CD is another great antivirus rescue CD. It is essentially an up to date portable version of the AVG antivirus program made accessible via Linux. The CD can be used as a bootable CD or USB. This auto updating and portable antivirus software solution can help rescue an infected and unbootable machine using the power of AVG antivirus technology. It can also be externally/manually updated with the latest virus signatures and definitions if your system's internet connection has been compromised.

In addition to the free antivirus scanner, the CD also provides a great deal of additional administrative functionality:

Midnight Commander - a two-panel file manager

Windows Registry Editor - provides a simple registry editor

TestDisk - a powerful hard drive recovery tool

Ping - test the availability of network resources

Common Linux programs and services - vi text editor, OpenSSH daemon, ntfsprogs etc.

Whether you are a computer novice, or an experienced expert, the Free AVG Rescue CD could be the answer to your virus or malware woes. This powerful free CD can help clean boot and recover Windows or Linux based machines using either FAT32 or NTFS file systems. In other words, it should work on nearly any computer.

The AVG Rescue CD has the following minimum requirements for proper functionality:

Processor - Intel Pentium 300 MHz

RAM - 512 MB

Disk Space - 0 MB

AVG recommends the following system minimum specifications for best functionality:

Processor - Intel Pentium 600 MHz

RAM - 512 MB

Disk Space - 0 MB

CLICK HERE for more information about the Free AVG Rescue CD.

AVG Rescue CD Videos on YouTube

Want to learn more about the AVG rescue CD? Youtube might have the answers you seek. Check out videos for tutorials, user reviews, and much more about the Free AVG Rescue CD.

Avira Antivir Rescue CD

Avira to the Rescue! - Avira AntiVir Rescue System

The Avira AntiVir Rescue System is a Linux based antivirus program that can be setup as a bootable USB or CD/DVD. This free tool is perfect for systems that have been rendered unbootable or for those nasty infections that manage to hide from normal virus scans.

Avira makes this free tool extremely convenient. The Avira AntiVir Rescue System is updated several times a day so it always has the most recent security updates available. Avira even makes the download available as either an .ISO image or as an executable file with a built in .ISO burning program for those who don't have one or don't know how to use it!

For the Avira Rescue System, you need a PC or notebook with:

At least 512 MB RAM (750 MB recommended)

A CD-ROM drive or free USB slot

Keyboard (mouse recommended)

Resolution: at least 800x600 Pixels

CLICK HERE for more information about this valuable free antivirus rescue cd or to download your copy.

Avira Rescue System CD Videos on YouTube

Check out some videos about the Avira rescue system CD on YouTube.

Kaspersky Rescue Disk 10

Kaspersky Rescue Disk 10

(c) 1997-2011 Kaspersky Lab - - - - Image Source: Kaspersky Rescue Disk User Guide: Application Version 10.0 (
(c) 1997-2011 Kaspersky Lab - - - - Image Source: Kaspersky Rescue Disk User Guide: Application Version 10.0 (

The Kaspersky Rescue Disk 10 is a free bootable antivirus disc from security and antivirus software great, Kaspersky Lab. This simple no frills antivirus rescue disk may lack some of the special features and extras found in other discs, but it does its job well. The intuitive and attractive graphical interface makes this disk very easy to use for the computer novice.

Another very important benefit of this rescue disk is that it can be updated with the latest antivirus definitions as long as the infected machine still has access to the internet.

CLICK HERE for more information or to download your own copy of the free Kaspersky Rescue Disk 10.

Kaspersky Rescue CD videos on YouTube - Tutorials, Reviews and more!

Youtube is a great place to head if you are looking for videos and more information about the free Kaspersky Rescue CD. Just want to get a feel for the look and ease of use of Kaspersky lab's free rescue CD? A quick YouTube video search will grant that wish. YouTube also has many Kaspersky Rescue CD 10 tutorials and reviews. Check out a few of the available selections below.

BitDefender Antivirus Rescue CD

BitDefender Antivirus Rescue CD

The BitDefender logo is property of BITDEFENDER SRL and is protected by the law of copyright.
The BitDefender logo is property of BITDEFENDER SRL and is protected by the law of copyright.

BitDefender is another well known and reliable antivirus player that offers a free antivirus rescue CD. Their rescue CD is desirable because it features built in automatic updating so it will help detect and clean the latest viruses and threats each time it runs. The BitDefender Rescue CD also has a built in file manager tool to help you access and recover any vital data and files when a virus prevents you from accessing your hard drive via Windows or other operating systems.

Like many of the antivirus rescue CDs featured on this lens, this one can also be setup on a USB drive if your computer supports booting from a USB.

Finding information about BitDefender's Free Rescue CD can be a little difficult when you search their website, but you can download it HERE.

BitDefender Rescue CD Videos on YouTube - Information about current and past BitDefender Rescue programs.

As you've probably guessed, YouTube users have posted a number of videos regarding past and present BitDefender rescue products. These videos can provide valuable insight into the free BitDefender Antivirus Rescue CD. There are video reviews, tutorials on how to use the product, and much more. Of course with any of the videos on YouTube, you need to use some common sense and use your own discretion. Since YouTube is full of user generated content you need to take it for what it is worth. Unless it's been posted by BitDefender staff directly, keep in mind it is just the views and opinions of a third party. That being said, many of the videos can be invaluable from an informational point of view. I've posted some below:

The Ultimate Boot CD for Windows

The ULTIMATE Boot Cd for Windows - Antivirus, Antispyware, Diagnostics and MUCH MUCH More!

The Ultimate Boot CD for Windows
The Ultimate Boot CD for Windows

The Ultimate Boot CD for Windows, aka "UBCD4Win", is a bootable recovery CD that contains software used for repairing, restoring, or diagnosing pretty much any computer problem you can imagine. According to the UBCD4Win website, the development team's goal is to be the most complete and easy to use free computer diagnostic tool. I'd say they accomplished their goal. The UBCD4Win is truly amazing.

The free CD download contains many popular antivirus removal tools, antispyware and antimalware tools and that is just the beginning. The CD also contains bootable software and solutions to help you do pretty much anything you could ever imagine or need to do when a Windows based PC is acting up. In fact there are so many tools and helpers on the CD I can't even begin to list them all!

Here are just a few highlights.

The Ultimate Boot CD for Windows contains several different antivirus tools including, but not limited to:

- AVPersonal: Good full featured freeware AntiVirus software

- Avast! Tool: Scans for a limited number of viruses

- Kaspersky Free virus Removal Tool from Kaspersky

-McAfee Stinger: Scans for a limited number of viruses

The UBCD4W also offers bootable antispyware solutions such as:

AVG AntiSpyware, HiJackThis, Rootkitty, Spy Bot,Super AntiSpyware and more!

The UBCD4W also featuers a wide variety of file management, disk cloning, disk imaging, and disk backup software to allow you to create backups of files, folders, drives and more.

Diagnostic tools available on the UBCD4W include things like chkdsk, disk checkup, manufacturers hard drive diagnostic sofware, disk defragmenting software and much more.

Think that's all? Not even close! The Ultimate Boot CD for Windows can also be packed with helpful applications such as DVD and CD burning software, the FireFox internet browser, image viewers, PDF readers, email clients and even more.

But wait. . . there's MORE! With the Ultimate Boot CD for Windows you also get access to many effective file and data recovery tools to help you get back lost or deleted data. You also get access to disk formatting and partitioning tools, benchmarking tools, Windows and BIOS password recovery tools, and even games!

If you can't tell the UBCD4Win team has spent a great deal of time making an awesome FREE Windows system recovery disc. The scope of its awesomeness can't even be fully described here, so I urge you to go check out their website now. If the UBCD4Win helps you out please do consider making a small donation to their site to help them cover their website hosting fees etc.

Ultimate Boot CD for Windows Videos on YouTube

F-Secure Rescue CD

F-Secure Rescue CD      "F-Secure" and the triangle symbol are registered trademarks of F-Secure Corporation and F-Secure product names and symbols/logos are either trademarks or registered trademarks of F "F-Secure" and the triangle symbol are registered trademarks of F-Secure Corporation and F-Secure product names and symbols/logos are either trademarks or registered trademarks of F

The F-Secure Rescue CD is a free bootable antivirus rescue CD that runs Knoppix, a derivative of Linux, which is an operating system that runs completely from the CD. This allows you access to your computer's files, misbehaving operating system, and hard disks. In addition to its antivirus scanning capabilities, the F-Secure Rescue CD has two additional useful file recovery tools:

1. PhotoRec: a tool that can be used to recover data that has been

accidentally deleted or lost due to a corrupted file system on a disk.

2. TestDisk: a data recovery tool that can be used to do things such as recover a lost partition.

Requirements to use The F-Secure Rescue CD are as follows:

- x86 compatible

- At least 512 MB of RAM

- Working CD/DVD drive (or USB port and USB drive)

- Functioning Internet connection or the ability to boot via a USB drive

F-Secure Rescue CD Videos on YouTube

Learn more about the F-Secure Rescue CD, see user reviews, and more on YouTube.


Under Construction
Under Construction

While we have quite a few decent free antivirus rescue cds listed, we still have a lot to add to this lens. We'll be adding much more info to this evolving work in progress so be sure to check by often as we add more information!

Antivirus Software on Amazon

Amazon is a great site to grab an awesome deal on a paid antivirus solution. Check out some of the great deals on antivirus software below:

Great Antivirus Software Deals on eBay!

Looking for an amazing deal on antivirus software? Try ebay for great prices on antivirus software and much more!

I'd love to hear your thoughts about antivirus CDs, this lens, or whatever else is on your mind. Feel free to leave a comment here!

Leave a comment!

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    • amaingi profile image


      5 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Nice read this was. Very informative article. I found Kaspersky free activation here and it works for me till I can buy it

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Very nice informative collection here. Very helpful topic. I have been using the TRK for a long time. System Rescue CD is also great. These CD available from so many antivirus vendors are quite interesting.

    • Vortrek Grafix profile image

      Vortrek Grafix 

      7 years ago

      It's tough to go wrong with "free". Great topic!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I've tried a couple of these and they're quite SLOW at virus scanning (2+ hours). Are any of the above programs particularly quicker??

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      is amazing for reference (y) don't forget visit our home

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      is amazing for reference (y) don't forget visit our home

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      here is a free computer clean up

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Thanks i love this, it is very helpful. But if u need free online computer scan you can check this free scan at

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      thanks it is very helpful

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Nice thannks!

    • avigarret profile image


      8 years ago

      Extremely useful idea for a lens, just what I needed, thanks for sharing.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Hi, well having the ability to boot up your computer and access your hard drive outside of Windows can be crucial to recovering from a virus infection and getting back to work, play, or even just rescuing your vital data. More information on various anti virus software and their rating can be found here AntivirusGuide

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      THankyou :) It was very helpful !

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Cool, very useful lens, thanks!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      They are so many, practically every anti-virus has one and the funny thing is i am not aware of this since the dawn of when i started learning computer. pc repair

    • chrisqw profile image


      8 years ago

      Fantastic lens. My computer just froze today and became unbootable. I didn't know these CD's existed. Thank you!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Very well detailed information, I've not used antivirus CD's and its good to get your heads up information.

    • pramodbisht profile image


      8 years ago

      Thanks for this great information. Its always better have have a recovery disc, Its vary important.

    • ClinicallySigni profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      @ryurek lm: Thanks for the great compliment.

      While a bootable A/V disc doesn't ALWAYS work they have saved the day on more than a few occasions in my experience.

      Viruses and malware are getting nastier all the time. The favorite technique today seems to be altering/disabling critical Windows or other O/S files that has the effect of basically crippling the system.

      By all means the reformat and start fresh scenario is still sometimes the fastest and safest alternative. However a rescue disk is a great tool to try before you resort to that.

      In many cases you will be a hero just for being able to rescue/recover precious digital photos or important documents with a bootable rescue disk before you format and reinstall!

    • ryurek lm profile image

      ryurek lm 

      8 years ago

      Wow, thanks for the info. I never actually thought about it before, as much as I deal with this stuff for family, friends, work. I always focused on the recovery based on the assumption that you can log in to your Windows. Silly me, because now that I think about it I wish I had a recovery/rescue disk on numerous occasions where the only real option left was to reformat and start over. Big squidlike from me, and I'll be linking to you from my Free AV page. Thanks.

    • ClinicallySigni profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago

      @jp1978: You beat me to it! This lens is under construction so I was going to add the UBCD4Win disc as well as a section on the ability to rescue files with linux cds in a future section! Thanks so much for taking the time to check out the lens and leave a comment!

    • jp1978 profile image


      9 years ago

      Nice selection here. I've used UBCD4Win with good results.


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