Review of PC Tools' Alternate Operating System Scanner

A free, bootable, antivirus program

Photo of a virus indication key on a computer keyboard

Steven Puetzer / The Image Bank / Getty Images

PC Tools' Alternate Operating System Suite (AOSS) is a software suite for Windows that functions not only as a free bootable antivirus program but also a file recovery and data destruction program.

The menus are easy to navigate through and you can start a virus scan in just a few moments after booting into AOSS.

PC Tools is no longer available. As such, you can not browse for the AOSS download on their website and no more updates will be released.

This review is of the final version of the program, version 2.0.5, which was released on December 9, 2010. 

PC Tools Anti-Virus Scanner screen

Alternate Operating System Scanner Pros & Cons

AOSS certainly has some downfalls, but it's also very simple to use:


  • Graphical user interface

  • Easy to work with

  • No custom settings (scans are easy to start)

  • Includes other useful free tools


  • Built for the Windows OS only

  • No custom settings (not very advanced)

  • Over 350 MB download size

Install Alternate Operating System Scanner

Download the ISO image from the download page to get started. The program file will be called AOSS.iso once it's been added to your computer.

Once you've successfully burned the program to a disc, you must boot to it before Windows starts up.

Thoughts on Alternate Operating System Scanner

Because Alternate Operating System Scanner doesn't have any scan options or other custom settings, you can begin a scan fairly quickly once you've booted to the disc. On that note, if you're looking for a program that lets you perform particular scans like checking certain folders only, you won't find it with AOSS.

I still like Alternate Operating System Scanner even though it doesn't have custom options because the program is really easy to use. Unlike some other bootable antivirus programs, AOSS lets you use your mouse to control the menus, which makes it very simple to use.

Just choose Anti-Virus scanner from the AOSS main menu and then choose the partitions you want checked to immediately begin a scan.

Also from the main menu are some additional tools, such as a system shell and file manager that lets you compress, remove, and copy data.