If we are troubleshooting a system, it is important for us to have all the necessary tools and software with us which can help us fix problems. One of the problems that we may encounter is an unbootable PC. In this scenario, none of the tools will work as the PC can’t boot into any Operating System. In this situation, a bootable rescue disc comes handy.
If you don’t have a good antivirus installed on your system, virus will corrupt your system to the extent that it won’t boot. In this case, you can easily use one of the Rescue ISO files to disinfect the system and make it bootable again.
In this article, we will discuss about the security rescue discs provided by the Antivirus companies. These bootable rescue discs will be able to clean your system from viruses even if your system can’t start.
Bitdefender provides a very simple Rescue ISO image which we can either burn on a CD-ROM or a USB drive, boot from it and scan any system for viruses. The Rescue CD can also update itself automatically but it will require an Internet connection for updating.
Kaspersky Rescue Disk comes with a file manager, a registry editor and a web browser which you can run while starting your system with Kaspersky Rescue Disk. This gives a power user additional advantage of troubleshooting an unbootable system apart from scanning for viruses.
Avast lets you create a Rescue CD or USB from its own installation. You can’t download it separately. To make a rescue CD, you will need to install Avast antivirus and then create the bootable media of your choice.
To create Avast Rescue Disk, go to Tools –> Rescue Disk and follow the instructions to complete making your bootable rescue CD or USB.
Avira Rescue System
Avira Rescue System scans for malware on a system that is unbootable or generally become unresponsive. It can boot into the system and find viruses and other malware.
Trend Micro Rescue Disk allows you to use a CD, DVD, or USB drive to examine your computer without launching Microsoft Windows. It can scan hidden files, system drivers, and the Master Boot Record (MBR) of your computer’s hard drive without disturbing the operating system. Download trend Micro Rescue Disk
In addition to scanning for viruses, Vba32 allows the user to copy important files from the corrupted system. So if the system remains unbootable even after scanning, you may backup your important data. Some features of Vba32 rescue:
Free of charge
Ability to scan with individual settings
Media release mode
Automatically configures the network environment
Ability to update without downloading full image
Ability to save updated image to the USB-drive
Ability to create bootable USB-drive in Windows, Linux and Vba32 Rescue environment
Windows Defender Offline is Microsoft’s own troubleshooting tool which will scan for viruses in a non-bootable Windows installation. There are two different versions of Windows Defender Offline for 32-bit and 64-bit systems. Download the appropriate tool from the below link, run the utility, follow the four steps and create a bootable CD/USB of Windows defender Offline.
Note: Trinity Rescue Kit has not been updated since 2011 so I would not recommend using it at least for virus scanning.
Comodo Rescue Disk
Comodo Rescue is a free bootable antivirus program which can clean your system from viruses, rootkits and other malware. It supports heuristics scanning, options to skip large files for quick scanning and can scan archives.
ESET SysRescue Live is a malware cleaning tool that runs independent of the operating system from a CD, DVD, or a USB. It has direct access to the disk and the file system, and therefore is capable of removing the most persistent threats.
You can download the appropriate zip file and follow the instructions to create the Live CD.
Creating a Bootable CD-ROM
Almost all the above mentioned downloads are ISO image which either need to be burned on a CD/DVD or on a USB drive. You will need a third party app in order to burn the ISO image to the CD-ROM. Here are the step by step information for doing this easily.
I will use Infra Recorder for Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7. You can also use other popular tools like ImgBurn, CDBurnerXP, BurnAware or Nero etc. Here are the steps: