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Clean up Windows viruses with Linux-based AVG Rescue CD

Some viruses, Trojans, worms, spyware and other undesirable software we collectively call malware is hard to remove. It has a memory-resident component that watches what you do and if you try to run software that might be used to remove it, it blocks your actions. If you try to uninstall it, it reinstalls itself. It's a battle that is tough to win. It is easier to remove malware if it isn't actually running, but it automatically runs whenever Windows starts. The solution is not to start Windows. Free AVG Rescue CD can be used to start an infected PC and it runs a customised version of Linux that boots straight into AVG anti virus software. This can then be used to scan and clean up an infected Windows disk. It doesn't install anything and even though it's Linux, it's not that difficult to use.

AVG Rescue CD is therefore similar to Avira AntiVir Rescue System that was covered in a previous tip. Download the file, it's around 75Mb, and save it to the hard disk drive. It's a .iso file and most, if not all CD-writing software on Windows, Mac and Linux can burn a .iso file to a CD-R.

Of course, you should prepare your rescue CD before your PC has a problem because you won't be able to download it and burn it if your one and only computer has a problem! After burning the CD, you can then use it to boot any computer. Sometimes you need to enter the BIOS setup program (press F1, Del or whatever is the hotkey on your computer), and search for the boot device options, then set the boot order to CD/DVD-rom drive first, hard disk second. However, the computer may already be set to boot from a CD if there's one in the drive anyway. Just try it and see.

When you boot from the AVG Rescue CD a text menu is displayed and this is just so you can choose whether to boot from the CD or the hard disk drive. Start the Rescue CD by selecting it or just waiting until it starts automatically.

AVG Rescue CD

AVG anti virus then runs automatically and there's no hint of a Linux desktop. The software has familiar features, but an unfamiliar interface. It's a text-only interface that is reminiscent of Dos programs from the 1980s. It's not difficult to use and it's just different to using a mouse.

AVG Rescue CD

You can use the Update facility to download the latest definitions (a wired internet connection works fine), then start a scan of the hard disk drive. There are options to configure the network, create a bootable USB flash memory drive and view the virus vault. Use the cursor keys to move around the menus and options and Enter to confirm the selection. It's straightforward when you get used to it.

The AVG Rescue CD runs a custom version of LInux so Windows isn't used at all. It can't get infected and it's easier to remove viruses on the PC's hard disk because Windows isn't running. Download it and create your rescue disc, then keep it safe. You never know when you might need it.