If malware hinders your ability to run normal antivirus software, bootable rescue disks can help. These disks let you examine your PC without needing to run Windows or Windows. They can often uncover the files that antivirus software might overlook. Some tools can scan the Master Boot Record of the hard drive. This is a feature that can be particularly useful to remove persistent or difficult-to-clean threats.

These bootable tools tend to provide a basic text interface. However, they usually offer customization options so that you can select to scan specific folders or files, just size or type of file, and many more. The most effective of these tools will come with a a graphical user interface and support for more advanced security threats, such as rootkits or ransomware.

AVG Rescue CD is a great example, with a basic but well-organized GUI with a range of scanning options. It’s also among the few that offer the full MBR scan which is normally impossible to do from an unbootable program. It’s not among the fastest programs on this list however, and its text-only user interface isn’t for everyone.

Kaspersky Rescue Disk is a different top choice which is fast, comes with a well-designed interface and can handle more advanced malware. It’s got features you won’t discover in other bootable antivirus tools, for instance, the ability to scan the boot sector, hidden startup objects as well fileless and the entire drive. You can also remove files to speed up the scanning time. It identified all the malware we sent, including those that were undetected by other antivirus software.