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Clean up Windows with Avira AntiVir Rescue System

Occasionally, Windows computers become infected with viruses, Trojans, and other malware for various reasons. It doesn't happen as often as some people make out, but it does happen once in a while. Sometimes it's because the operating system hasn't been updated with the latest patches, the PC might not have anti virus/spyware software on it, the security software might be out of date, or simply because novice users, such as kids, don't understand what they are doing. Some types of malware are difficult to remove, but Avira AntiVir Rescue System can help because it's a Linux live CD that you can boot from and use to repair Windows PCs. It can also be used to rescue files from a Windows PC that won't boot too. Oh, and it's free!

First of all, you should go and download Avira AntiVir Rescue System. This is a Windows executable file and when it is run, it will burn the system to a CD, so make sure there is a blank CD-R in the drive before you start. If there's no disc in the drive, you'll see an option to save the disc contents as a .iso file. Most, if not all CD-writing software can burn a .iso file to a CD-R. It would have been nice to have the file in .iso format in the first place so it could be downloaded and burned on Linux as well as Windows PCs. Actually, if you have Wine installed in Linux though, you can double click the file to run it just like in Windows to burn it or save it as a .iso file.

Of course, you should prepare your rescue CD before your PC has a problem because you may not be able to download it and burn it if your one and only computer is infected! After burning the CD, you can then use it to boot any computer. If your PC won't boot from the CD, 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 drive second. However, the computer may already be set to boot from a CD if there's one in the drive anyway, so just try it and see.

When you boot from the Avira AntiVir Rescue System CD, a text menu is displayed and this is just so you can choose to boot from the rescue CD or the hard disk drive. Start the rescue CD typing in the menu option or sit back and let it time out and default to the rescue CD.

The AntiVir anti virus software then runs automatically and there's no hint of a Linux desktop. This anti virus software works in the usual way and Windows users should feel right at home even though it's running in Linux. You might need to select English in the bottom left corner though. Click the Update button and download the latest definitions (a wired internet connection works fine), then click the Virus Scanner button and then Start Scanner. The Configuration Options button can be used to configure what to scan for and what to scan.

Avira AntiVir Rescue System

Avira AntiVir Rescue System isn't just a virus scanner and it could be used to recover files from a Windows PC that won't boot. Although it's a Linux OS running from CD, it reads Windows NTFS disks fine. Click the Miscellaneous button and then click Commandline. The screen clears and you get a command prompt.

Working from the command prompt isn't familiar to Windows users and you might need some help. This tutorial will help. The commands you need are ls, cd, cp. The ls command lists the contents of the current folder/directory. The cd command changes directory, and cp is used to copy a file. A typical session might go something like:

ls               (list the files/folders)
cd media         (it's where Linux mounts disks)
ls               (list the contents
cd Devices       (change to the Devices folder)
ls               (list the contents
cd hda2          (change to this hard disk - try each hda)
ls               (we're on the Windows disk and can now browse folders and copy files)

This isn't the place for a command line tutorial for Windows users, so look up the usage of the key comands you need at Google. You can do a lot with just ls, cd and cp.