Computer Help | Miscellaneous:

Rescue Disk Comparison

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For: Windows XP (32) | Windows Vista (32/64) | Windows 7 (32/64) | Windows 8 (32/64) | Linux (32/64)

Last Reviewed/Updated: 05 May 2013 | Published: 06 Jun 2011 | Status: Active

  1. 1.  Introduction
  2. 2.  Rescue Disks By Anti-Malware Vendors
  3. 3.  Resources And Additional Information

1.  Introduction

A rescue disk (a.k.a., rescue disc, repair disk/disc or recovery disk/disc) is bootable media that provides functionalities and utilities for fixing computer problems that prevent the computer from starting normally. Different rescue disks provide different functionalities and utilities. This Web page compares rescue disk functionalities and utilities.

Being bootable and portable, CD/DVD discs and USB flash memory drives are ideally suited for use as rescue disks. To use a rescue disk: 1.) create the rescue disk on a CD/DVD disc or USB flash memory drive; 2.) boot the computer from the rescue disk, not the computer hard drive; and 3.) run the rescue disk utilities against the computer hard drive.

i
USB external hard drives are also bootable and portable. However, rescue disks can be created typically only on USB flash memory drives, not on USB external hard drives.

To boot a computer from a rescue disk, insert the rescue CD/DVD into the CD/DVD drive or plug the rescue USB flash memory drive into a USB port, power on/restart the computer, and, if prompted, respond as necessary to boot the computer from the rescue disk. If the computer cannot boot from the rescue disk, and if the rescue disk was created successfully and is functional, and if the CD/DVD drive or USB port is functional, then either: 1.) the computer BIOS does not support booting from CD/DVD drives or USB drives, which is unlikely for computers manufactured since 2002; or 2.) the computer BIOS is not configured to boot from CD/DVD drives or USB drives, which means, to use the rescue disk, you must enter the BIOS setup program and configure the BIOS to boot from CD/DVD drives or USB drives.

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Further discussion of the BIOS is beyond the scope of this page. For information on how to enter the BIOS setup program and how to configure the BIOS to boot from CD/DVD drives and/or USB drives, see the computer motherboard/BIOS documentation.

2.  Rescue Disks By Anti-Malware Vendors

Rescue disks by anti-malware vendors provide malware detection and removal. Most also provide additional functionalities and utilities.

Rescue Disks By Anti-Malware Vendors
Functionality/
Utility
AVG
Rescue CD
(avg.com)
Avira
AntiVir Rescue System
(avira.com)
BitDefender
Rescue CD
(download.
bitdefender.
com)
F-Secure
Rescue CD
(f-secure.
com)
Kaspersky
Rescue
Disk 10
(support.
kaspersky.
com)
Norton
Bootable Recovery Tool
(security.
symantec.
com)
Version Reviewed 120.120823 build 5411 released 22Nov12 3.7.16-
20130429_192427 released 29Apr13
Released 25Mar13 3.16 build 52606 downloaded 29Apr13 10.0.32.17 downloaded 29Apr13 5.1.0.26 downloaded 29Apr13
Price Free Free Free Free Free Free, but requires qualifying PIN/product key (1)
Rescue Disk Download Size ~90MB ~260MB ~485MB ~140MB ~305MB ~155MB
Rescue Disk Download Updated ~Twice a year Daily ~Once a year ~Twice a year ~Every 7-30 days ~Twice a year
Rescue Disk Download Includes Virus Definitions + + + + + -
Rescue Disk Includes Virus Definitions + + + + + +
Source Of Rescue Disk Included Virus Definitions Bundled
with
downloaded
.iso/.rar/.zip file
Bundled
with
downloaded
.iso/.exe file
Bundled
with
downloaded
.iso file
Bundled
with
downloaded
.iso file
Bundled
with
downloaded
.iso file
Downloaded at time of rescue disk creation (2)
Date Of Rescue Disk Included Virus Definitions Determined By Release
date of
downloaded
.iso/.rar/.zip file
Release
date of
downloaded
.iso/.exe file
Release
date of
downloaded
.iso file
Release
date of
downloaded
.iso file
Release
date of
downloaded
.iso file
Date of rescue disk creation
Download Updated Virus Definitions + + + + (3) + + (4)
How To Create Rescue CD/DVD Download .iso file | Burn image. Download .iso file | Burn image.
or,
Download .exe file | Run .exe file.
Download .iso file | Burn image. Download .iso file | Burn image. Download .iso file | Burn image. Download via Norton Download Manager | Install | Run | Click Create on CD/DVD media.
How To Create Rescue USB Flash Memory Drive Download .rar/.zip file | Extract .rar/.zip file | Run setup.exe file. - - - Download .iso file | Download rescue2usb.exe file | Run rescue2usb.exe file. Download via Norton Download Manager | Install | Run | Click Create on USB key.
Rescue CD/DVD And USB Flash Memory Drive Functionally Equivalent + NA NA NA + +
Functionality/
Utility
AVG
Rescue CD
(avg.com)
Avira
AntiVir Rescue System
(avira.com)
BitDefender
Rescue CD
(download.
bitdefender.
com)
F-Secure
Rescue CD
(f-secure.
com)
Kaspersky
Rescue
Disk 10
(support.
kaspersky.
com)
Norton
Bootable Recovery Tool
(security.
symantec.
com)
Loads Linux Linux Linux Linux Linux Windows 7 Preinstallation Environment
Scan Volumes Windows
XP/Vista/7/8
Windows
XP/Vista/7/8
and Linux
Windows
XP/Vista/7/8
Windows
XP/Vista/7/8
and Linux
Windows
XP/Vista/7/8
and Linux
Windows
XP/Vista/7/8
Select Volumes To Scan + + + + + -
Select Directories To Scan + + + - + -
Malware Removal Undo ? ? ? ? ? +
Command Line - + + + (5) + +
File Manager Midnight Commander 4.7.1 (text) Midnight Commander 4.6.1 (text) (6) Thunar 1.0.1 (graphical) - Dolphin 1.4 (graphical) -
CD/DVD Drive Support + (7) + (8) + + (9) + +
Eject Rescue CD/DVD And Access Different Disc Inserted In Same CD/DVD Drive + (10) - - - - +
Windows XP Product CD (i.e., CDFS Volume) Support + + + + + +
Windows Vista/7/8 Product DVD (i.e., UDF Volume) Support - - + + + +
USB Flash Memory/External Hard Drive Support + (11) + (12) + + (13) + +
Network Support + + NetworkManager Applet 0.7.996 + NetworkManager Applet 0.8.4 +
Web Browser Links 2.3pre2 (text) AviraBrowser (graphical) (14) Mozilla Firefox 3.6.17 (graphical) - Konqueror 4.4.5 (graphical) -
Registry Editor Registry Editor (text) - - - Kaspersky Registry Editor 1.0.8 (graphical) Registry Editor 6.1 (graphical) (15)
Additional
Functionalities/
Utilities
  • Memtest86+ 4.20.
  • TrueCrypt.
  • Fix MBR Volume.
  • TestDisk 6.13.
  • smartctl 5.41.
  • PhotoRec 6.13.
  • Ping Utility.
-
  • TestDisk 6.11.3.
  • GParted 0.4.5.
  • htop 0.8.3.
  • Foxit Reader 1.1.0.
-
  • Hardware Info.
  • Screenshot.
  • Norton Power Eraser (16).
  • Notepad (17).
  • Numerous Windows 7 Preinstallation Environment utilities (18).
(1)  Norton Bootable Recovery Tool: Qualifying PIN/product key required to boot from the Norton Bootable Recovery Tool, not to create the Norton Bootable Recovery Tool. Qualifying product keys include Norton Antivirus, Norton Internet Security, and Norton 360. Apparently expired qualifying product keys are accepted. For example, a product key from Norton Internet Security 2008 that expired in 2009 was accepted in May 2013.
(2)  Norton Bootable Recovery Tool: Internet connection required to create the Norton Bootable Recovery Tool. When downloading virus definitions, since the Norton Bootable Recovery Tool download does not include virus definition, the entire virus definition database (~100-150MB) is downloaded, which can be prohibitive with slower Internet connections. Therefore, it is suggested that dial-up users use a malware free computer with a faster Internet connection to create the Norton Bootable Recovery Tool.
(3)  F-Secure Rescue CD: When downloading virus definitions, instead of downloading only updated virus definitions, the entire virus definition database, fsdbupdate9-packed.run (download.f-secure.com), (~130-150MB) is downloaded, which can be prohibitive with slower Internet connections. However, the F-Secure Rescue CD automatically looks for and uses fsdbupdate9-packed.run located on the root of an attached USB flash memory drive. Therefore, it is suggested that dial-up users use a malware free computer with a faster Internet connection to download fsdbupdate9-packed.run. If Internet Explorer opens fsdbupdate9-packed.run instead of prompting to save it, download fsdbupdate9-packed.run with Mozilla Firefox. To use fsdbupdate9-packed.run on a USB flash memory drive, if necessary, format the USB flash memory drive FAT or FAT32, not NTFS or exFAT | download fsdbupdate9-packed.run | copy fsdbupdate9-packed.run to the root of the USB flash memory drive | attach the USB flash memory drive and boot the computer from the F-Secure Rescue CD.
(4)  Norton Bootable Recovery Tool: Automatically downloads updated virus definitions at scan time, not manually. Therefore, to download updated virus definitions, click Start Scan.
(5)  F-Secure Rescue CD: To open command line, press Alt+F2. To close command line, press Alt+F1.
(6)  Avira AntiVir Rescue System: To open Midnight Commander, click Miscellaneous | Command line | press Alt+F5. To close Midnight Commander, press Alt+F7.
(7)  AVG Rescue Disk: Insert CD/DVD discs before booting from the AVG Rescue Disk, or boot from the AVG Rescue Disk, insert CD/DVD discs, and select Re-mount Windows volumes.
(8)  Avira AntiVir Rescue System: Insert CD/DVD discs before booting from the Avira AntiVir Rescue System, or boot from the Avira AntiVir Rescue System, insert CD/DVD discs, and click Miscellaneous | Include all devices.
(9)  F-Secure Rescue CD: To access CD/DVD discs from the command line, insert CD/DVD discs | open command line (see (5) above) | issue mount command. Cannot scan CD/DVD discs.
(10)  AVG Rescue Disk: To eject the AVG Rescue CD, select Eject rescue cd. To access a different disc inserted in the same CD/DVD drive, insert CD/DVD disc and select Re-mount Windows volumes.
(11)  AVG Rescue Disk: Attach USB flash memory/external hard drives before booting from the AVG Rescue Disk, or boot from the AVG Rescue Disk, attach USB flash memory/external hard drives, and select Re-mount Windows volumes.
(12)  Avira AntiVir Rescue System: Attach USB flash memory/external hard drives before booting from the Avira AntiVir Rescue System, or boot from the Avira AntiVir Rescue System, attach USB flash memory/external hard drives, and click Miscellaneous | Include all devices.
(13)  F-Secure Rescue CD: To access USB flash memory/external hard drives from the command line, attach USB flash memory/external hard drives | open command line (see (5) above) | issue mount command. To scan USB flash memory/external hard drives, easiest way is to attach USB flash memory/external hard drives before booting from the F-Secure Rescue CD.
(14)  Avira AntiVir Rescue System: To open AviraBrowser, click Online shop. Apparently it is impossible to edit the URL in the address bar.
(15)  Norton Bootable Recovery Tool: To open Registry Editor, click Launch Command Prompt | type regedit.exe | press Enter.
(16)  Norton Bootable Recovery Tool: Internet connection required to run Norton Power Eraser.
(17)  Norton Bootable Recovery Tool: To open Notepad, click Launch Command Prompt | type notepad.exe | press Enter.
(18)  Norton Bootable Recovery Tool: To list the numerous Windows 7 Preinstallation Environment utilities; 1.) click Launch Command Prompt | type dir *.exe | press Enter, and 2.) click Launch Command Prompt | type cd .. | press Enter | type dir *.exe | press Enter.

3.  Resources And Additional Information