Avira Rescue System v16

A full review of Avira Rescue System, a free bootable antivirus program

Among other utilities, Avira Rescue System provides a free bootable antivirus program that you can run from a disc before the operating system starts up.

Because it's based on the Ubuntu operating system, it means there's a familiar, point-and-click desktop interface you can use to operate the programs.

This review is of Avira Rescue System version 16, released in September 2016. Please let us know if there's a newer version we need to review.

Screenshot of Avira Rescue System v15
Avira Rescue System v15. Avira Operations GmbH & Co.

Avira Rescue System Pros & Cons

There's not much to dislike about this program:

Pros
  • Regular, graphical user interface

  • Scans compressed files

  • Includes other free tools

Cons
  • Large download (over 650 MB)

  • No custom scan options

  • The program itself is several years old

  • Might have problems updating

Installing Avira Rescue System

There are two ways you can install it, but the first is the easiest and quickest method. On the download page is two links that look almost identical aside from the word "EXE" and "ISO."

Download the EXE version for the quicker install of the two. This version includes a built-in ISO burner, which means you don't have to run a separate program just to burn Avira Rescue System to a disc. 

The ISO version doesn't include the image burning software, which means you must use an image burner to put the program on a CD or DVD.

No matter which method you use, you'll then need to boot to Avira Rescue System before the operating system starts.

Thoughts on Avira Rescue System

We love how easy it is to use even though more tools are included than in most similar bootable antivirus programs.

For example, the wizard walks you through the steps to start a scan without any issues. However, if you want more, there's a simple menu to the left that lets you access additional tools like a web browser, Windows Registry Editor, and disk partitioning tool.

While the program is scanning, you can see the number of viruses found in real-time along with the number of files scanned and the elapsed time, much like an antivirus program you'd run on your desktop.

Some bootable antivirus programs let you scan particular parts of your computer, such as just the registry or particular folders. This one will scan the whole computer, though, without any custom options.

Updates are important for all antivirus programs, and unfortunately, Avira Rescue System seems to have problems updating.