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

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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 Avira Rescue CD to clean an infected PC.

We’ve previously covered how to clean an infected PC using the BitDefender or Kaspersky rescue disks, and loads of readers have written in saying thanks, and reporting that they were able to clean their PC easily. Be sure and check out our previous articles on the subject:

Otherwise, keep reading for how it all works with Avira, a well-respected anti-virus solution.

Download and Burn the Image to a Disc

The first thing you’ll need to do is head over to the Avira site and download the latest version of their rescue CD—there are .exe and .ISO versions of the rescue CD available.

If you download the .exe version of the Rescue CD, you can actually use it to directly burn the image to a disk without any other software required. Just download, open it up, and then stick a disc into the drive.

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If you have any problems with the integrated burning application, you can download the ISO instead and then use an application to burn that ISO image file to an optical disc—we prefer using ImgBurn, but there’s plenty of ways to burn an ISO to a disc.

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Using the Avira Rescue CD to Clean an Infected PC

Once you’ve rebooted and put the CD in the drive, you’ll see a menu that lets you boot from the rescue system, or boot from the drive. If you don’t select anything, it’ll automatically boot into the rescue CD.

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The first thing you’ll want to do is switch to the Update tab, and then choose Yes to apply the latest updates.

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Now switch back over to the Virus scanner tab and click the Start Scanner button—it’ll take a long time, but it should clean up your PC.

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

Download the Avira Rescue System

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 12/19/10

Comments (29)

  1. bill c.

    useless .. as you can not update virus definitions when booting from cd, as there is no internet connectivity.

  2. Hatryst

    Another rescue CD. That’s really good. Lots of alternatives. A must-have for everyone (in case someone’s PC needs to be scanned)
    LiveUSB, anyone? ;)

    @Bill c.: No, it is useful, and updating database is possible. Please read the article again (if you have already read it once)

  3. The Geek

    @bill

    I’m pretty sure you are confused.

    The boot CD has internet capability, unless you happen to have a really old or unsupported network card. In any case, you can try one of the other boot CDs.

  4. dave

    I’ve used it on several systems both wireless laptop and PC’s never had a connectivity issue yet.

  5. Camilo Martin

    One day you like MS’s, the other day you like Avira’s. By the way it would be nice to know which antiviruses support booting from disc.

  6. G Tanner

    Of the 3 mentioned, are there any advantages in using one over the other?
    Thanks

  7. sven

    I must have missed something. I’ve tried all three, and can’t get the PC to boot from the CD. I tried just rebooting, and I tried going to the boot menu and selecting boot from CD ROM… all three… Nothing worked. I don’t have much hair left, and don’t want to pull it out. Can you tell me how to make my PC boot from the CD? I’m on a Fujitsu laptop a1120. Running win vista home premium. My PC is clean. I’m trying to do a test run before using it on a friend’s infected XP PC. Thanks for your help.

  8. sven

    Now, I’ve also changed the ‘boot order’, by removing all but the CD from the list. Still no luck. Thanks for any help.

  9. valintine

    Sven go into your bios and set up
    boot order there.
    Regards,Val

  10. Migabri

    I usually “burn” those iso to a usb with unetbootin but i will try xboot to make a multi-boot pen drive with UBCD4WIN e some other interesting tool like those mentioned above.

  11. TMZ

    @Sven…

    I had some issues with these in particular myself but I believe it to be more from attemtping to use the ISO’s on a UFD (Usb Flash Drive). I never got with the the three listed here on a USB drive.

    As far as booting, Val is correct. I referenced the key “F2″ as your BIOS setup key. Begin pressing this as soon as you turn your laptop on. It takes only one press if you catch it at the right time.

    Once in your bios there can be more then one option. Such as and not limited; Boot Order, Boot CD-Rom etc…

    As was stated, if your bios allows to re-order the order of your devices on one of its menu’s, put the CD/DVD-Rom as the first. Again, check to be sure there is no other option such as “Boot Cd-Rom” or similar.

  12. Effy1

    With the high ratings on a Microsoft Security Essentials 2.0 and the SuperAnti Spyware Portable, the the bad AV rating on MC Afee which I currently have, I wonder why we should bother paying for non-productive software when we can have better ones for free.

    That being said, is it okay to have both Microsoft Security Essential 2.0 and SuperAntiSpyware Portable protecting ones pc at the same time, or must it be one or the other ?

  13. Terry Hollett

    I have cleaned out a lot of computers with fake antivirus programs infecting them. And from these experiences I can tell you that most antivirus programs seem powerless against these infections. I would rather have a boot cd based on Malwarebytes or Superantispyware. Anybody know where to get one?

  14. Paulo Vitor

    @ The Geek
    Sir Geek, first of all, thank you for this great Tutorial. Keep with your good work!
    I’m a user of this live cd rescue tool from Avira since 2009… It saves my life a couple of times…xD
    Do you know a way to install it in a USB stick?
    Can I Ask you what antivirus solution do you recommend in a corporate environment?

    Thanks A Lot.

  15. Migabri

    @Terry
    You can find superantispyware included in ubcd4win togheter with Avira e some other tool, take a look at http://www.ubcd4win.com/

  16. Migabri

    I tried xboot to make a bootable usb drive with multi rescue kit: avira, avg, f-secure, kasperksy, bitdefender, dr. web and it seems to work right, at boot you can choose one of the tool so you can carrie all in the same usb drive.

    @Terry
    You can find superantispyware in ubcd4win you can find it easly searching in web

    @Paulo
    Some rescue cd has is own tool to make e bootable usb or you can use unetbootin that seems to work properly for me

  17. Paulo Vitor

    @Migabri
    Great tip.
    That xboot, as unetbootin works great.
    Thank you very much.

  18. Floyd Hoover

    I was able to get BitDefender Rescue CD to boot right away but there isn’t any provision made for using a wireless password.

    It immediately showed an error as I suspect it was trying to get a connection

    I haven’t yet but I suspect if I had plugged in the Cat 5 it would have worked ok

  19. Linda

    I have a Windows XP machine that was taken out by that update Microsoft did that took out everyone who had picked up a particular root kit.
    Will this clean out a root kit or is it a waste of time?

    I don’t recommend using the free antivirus programs.
    I have lost too many machines using AVG, Avira and Microsoft Essentials until I wised up that they just aren’t that great.
    I believe Microsoft Essentials is the one that let the root kit in.
    You get what you pay for.

  20. Fabrice

    Hi there,

    Normally Avira is good but as Migabri said, Malwarebytes is superb for cleaning what most antiviruses does not see… I got several issues solved with it compared to others. However as shield for internet security and Antivirus, I like both McAfee and Avast.

  21. Fabrice

    sorry, mentioned the wrong person, Terry Hollett was the one that said Malwarebytes is worth it…
    I understand I am their fan also :D

  22. Migabri

    Malwarebytes is my first choice to solve problems on a pc that boot himself, but in some other case is better to use a bootable external tool and UBCD4WIN whit combination of Avira and Superantispyware (there are also some other antivirus and antispyware) is also a great instrument; It would be better if this last could include malwarebytes and they tried to do but it seems that the malwarebytes team make some trick to disable using mban in ubcd4win.

  23. Linda

    I tried all that stuff to no avail.
    I guess that hard drive is cashed

  24. Mondo

    Once you update the Avira program, it asks if you want to save the files.
    Is this necessary, or are they stored in ram? Where should you save them?
    Where can we get a bigger picture of Terry? !!!

  25. Larry Ray

    I have burned all three of these rescue disks (in Leo’s article) using Img burn, and have tried to use them to scan an infected WinXP pc. I have the Bios set to boot to CD. Each of these rescue CD’s will not update, and consequently report “Error Update…shut down,” or “Failure to Update-Error,” and Bittorent will not allow me to arrow to accept the license agreement, or when it does, the mouse arrow freezes, and clicking “Continue” is not possible.

    MB, Super-antispyware, etc. will not run in “Safe-network mode nor when I change the name of them.
    And I have tried some of the portable malware tools from a flash drive.

    Can any of these rescue disks be set to scan without updating? This pc has been infected and idle for nearly 6 months and I was thinking that this bug is old and that running one of these rescue disks without updating it would work. But can you and how?

    Any ideas or suggestions?

  26. Larry Ray

    Sorry, meant the rescue disk Bit Defender rescue disk, not Bittorent. At the age of 70, I suppose I’m doing good just to attempt to clean a PC.

  27. JAR

    TO LINDA: Your quote of…”I don’t recommend using the free antivirus programs.
    I have lost too many machines using AVG, Avira and Microsoft Essentials until I wised up that they just aren’t that great”, is obvious to me that you visit toooooooo many sites you should not be in, as one should not get a virus enough times to know what you just quoted. May I suggest you follow some simple rules of surfing to keep yourself void of reoccurring viruses. One last observation; Looks to me like you might profit from an antivirus program advertised on the internet as you put down all the free ones to help your cause. Myself, I have been using MSE from the beginning and have no complaints. I also use the free superantispyware program as well as the malbyteware-antimalware program. Super saved my life just a while back when I got careless on one of the peer sharing sites.

  28. Rick S

    Microsoft has an new system sweeper. It’s a live cd you burn like all the others. It comes in 32 bit or 64 bit. Tried it out a few weeks ago and it works great. I think it’s still experimental.

    I think it works by installing a bare bones OS that takes over and grabs the viruses and other nasties.
    So far I haven’t had to change the boot order to get it to work. That is a bonus for people that don’t know much about that sort of stuff. I have only used it on three machines so maybe I was just lucky.

    Avira and MalwareBytes are most likely the best tools out there. But nothing works 100% all the time.
    Oh ya, Forgot to tell you I’m not an expert so if it works for me it should for you. Good luck.

    When I get choked at Microsoft I just use Linux because it works all the time. lol.

  29. Bob Abooey

    I’m trying it right now, but I couldn’t Update from the CD either. I wonder if this the Update Tab is no longer relevant, given that the download page says they update the ISO & EXE files several times per day.

    Geez, I hope this works. I never have problems, but apparently a few Trojans got into Java?

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