How-To Geek

How to Use the BitDefender Rescue CD to Clean Your Infected PC

When you’ve got a PC completely infected with viruses, sometimes it’s best to reboot into a rescue disc and run a full virus scan from there. Here’s how to use the BitDefender Rescue CD to clean an infected PC.

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The good thing about BitDefender is that their regular antivirus is consistently rated at the top in terms of detection and removal of viruses, so you have to assume that their rescue CD is going to work pretty well.

And since you’re booting into a clean Linux-based environment, you’re able to scan for viruses without having to worry about things not working because the computer is infected. It’s almost like Safe Mode on steroids. It’s almost the same as if you had pulled out the hard drive and connected it to a clean computer to scan it for viruses, except without the risk of infecting the clean computer, since it’s a boot disk.

Download and Burn the Image to a Disc

The first thing you’ll need to do is head over to the BitDefender rescue CD site and download the latest version of their rescue CD, and then use an application to burn that ISO image file to an optical disc—we prefer using ImgBurn, but there are plenty of ways to burn an ISO to a disc.

Note: depending on your computer, you might have problems with the latest version. You can download the older v2 version instead, which might work better.


Download and Create a Rescue USB

If you’d rather create a USB drive to boot from, you can download UNetbootin and use it to create the bootable flash drive—just select Diskimage and then browse to the location of the downloaded ISO file.


Select the drive that you want to write the image to, and follow the steps.

Using the BitDefender Rescue CD to Clean an Infected PC

Once you drop the disc in the drive and reboot, you’ll see a prompted menu that lets you choose the language you’d like to start with, or you can boot from the hard drive normally. We’ll obviously choose to start up the rescue CD. Note that the menu might look different depending on the version you’re using, but you can pretty much just hit enter.

If the disk doesn’t boot straight into the graphical interface, you login with the username “livecd” and then type startx at the prompt to start the GUI. If that still doesn’t work, you might need to try the other version from their site. (On our test VM the latest version didn’t work, but v2 did).

Once you’ve successfully launched the graphical interface, you’ll see a screen that looks like this, which is just Bitdefender downloading the latest version.

If the resolution is too small, you can use the menu at the bottom to head to Settings –> Display to adjust it.

From here you can change the resolution to something bigger—you can use 1024×768 to make sure you’ve got enough room on the screen to see everything.

Once the application has downloaded and you’ve accepted the license agreement, the scan starts immediately.

Once the scan is complete, you can use the tools to clean up any virus infection. It’s really pretty simple.

Other Stuff

If you need to do some work on your file system, you can easily use the File Manager to get to your files—the nice thing is that it opens up directly into your Windows drive.

You can also open up the Synaptic Package Manager and install any Linux-based troubleshooting tool, like testdisk, which can be used for recovering data.

It’s as simple as that. Enjoy your virus-free PC.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 07/12/15
  • VistaMike

    This is an excellent rescue CD, it works very well. Good for when all else fails. It has been a device in my toolbag for some while

  • Al Kalian

    You should do a whole article on this Rescue CD. You touched on a couple of things that are included. But there are many more. There's a complete version of FireFox and TeamViewer included. There are many more utilities as well. This is a great find and should be part of every geek's tool bag.

    Another product that deserves mention is Easy 2 Boot (e2b). You don't have to do anything to the ISO's. Just copy them to the USB stick created by e2b. You can have as many ISO's as you want. No need to alter anything. Currently I have Acronis, Macrium, Active Boot Disk, and now BitDefender Rescue CD. There's also provisions to carry Windows installation ISO's as well. All of that fits nicely on a 16GB stick with lots of room for other utilities.

    I will admit, e2b is a bit knarly to figure out and set up. But once you figure it out, you'll wonder how you ever got along without it.

  • I'll have to try Easy 2 Boot. I have a couple of USB drives set up with multiple rescue CDs, Linux distros, and other tools like Falcon 4, Trinity, etc. but I've never had any success installing Bitdefender Rescue CD on a multi-boot USB drive, although I've tried with a couple of different products. As a result I have a USB drive devoted to Bitdefender all by itself.

  • Al Kalian

    Easy 2 Boot is one of the best kept secrets on the internet. Most likely because it's somewhat of a PITA to set up. On top of that the documentation is horrible. BUT, once you figure it all out, it's worth the effort.

    I don't see any way to attach an image file here, so here's a link to how I have my USB 3.0 64gb drive configured with e2b. And this image doesn't include all of the Windows ISO's either.

  • Jason

    Never knew about this boot disk. Glad to hear it does really well. I've been using kaspersky's rescue disk 10.

    Yumi Multiboot is also a very nice tool. Nothing to figure out there but it doesn't support the drag/drop ISO's. However you can have as many boot items as you would like.

  • JohnD Lord

    Emsisoft is superior to BitDefender, and all anti-virus programs except Avast in the recent regular tests by AV-Test. The convenience with Emsisoft is the protection from viruses, malware and spyware all-in-one.Add to this the support team who assist inexperienced users in removing viruses and malware.

  • I took a look at the E2B site. The number of things it supports is quite incredible. I can see there's a bit of a learning curve to it, though. It's interesting that it potentially works with UEFI. That seems likely to be increasingly important in future. E2B looks like an awesome tool. Thanks for pointing it out.

  • Yes, YUMI has been my go-to tool for a while. It's easy to use and supports numerous other rescue CDs, Linux distros, and such, but for some reason it doesn't work with Bitdefender.

  • Peter Lopez

    I downloaded and ran the disk, but it asked for a login. There was never a prompt for login information. Does anyone know what this is?

  • Patrick Mc Auley

    Another alternative to the BitDefender Rescue CD is Microsoft's Windows Defender Offline. The "Offline" distinguishes this from the Defender anti-spyware that was included with Win7 or the Defender anti-malware that is included with Win8. Here is Microsoft's description of the Offline tool:

    Windows Defender Offline helps protect your PC by scanning it to remove rootkits and other advanced malware that can't always be detected by antimalware programs. If this type of malware is detected on your PC, you'll be prompted in Microsoft Security Essentials or Windows Defender to download and run Windows Defender Offline.

    Like the other tools mentioned here, it is an ISO downloaded and burned to a CD or flash drive. The download page, which also has links to FAQs and system requirements, can be found here: can be used on any Windows system from XP SP3 to Win8. Let's see if they update it for Win10.

  • nnavila

    Thank you for the info

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