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Home » Disaster Recovery

Free Rescue CDs for Windows

Submitted by on October 5, 2013 – 11:32 am

This is just a quick summary of the more popular rescue CDs out there. All of these are Unix-based bootable ISOs. Some are available as self-burning EXE files, which may be useful if you don’t know how to burn an ISO image to CD.

What’s a rescue CD and why you need one? Viruses on your PC have the ability to compromise any anti-virus software you may have installed. Some viruses go about this in a very crude way, by killing running anti-virus processes and sometimes even uninstalling the virus-scanning components. More sophisticated viruses just modify the anti-virus application’s ability to detect specific types of infestations.

A rescue CD contains a bootable operating system, such as Linux. The CD can start your computer without activating any programs on its hard drive. It can then access all data on the hard drive and examine every file without any interference from whatever viruses the drive may contain. This is by far the most reliable way of removing known viruses from your computer.

Things to keep in mind when using rescue CDs:

  • Virus scanners are not created equal. Some are better than others at removing particular threats. To maximize your chance of success, use at least two different rescue images.
  • Virus scanner may take a while to run. You will not be able to use Windows while booted into a rescue CD. Run virus scanning overnight or whenever you don’t need to use your computer for a couple of hours.
  • A rescue CD boots your computer into a temporary operting environment different from Windows. This temporary operating environment runs the virus scanner that has unhidered access to any of your internal or attached hard drives. It can and will make changes to your data to remove infections. Make a backup of important files before using a rescue CD.



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