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Can’t Boot Windows because of a virus? VIPRE free antivirus can help.

18. December 2009
VIPRE Rescue bootable free antivirus

    VIPRE rescue is a free antivirus produced by Sunbelt software.  The goal of the security program is to rescue inoperable or non bootable Windows OS’s from viruses.  The entire antivirus installation is included in a single executable (a 57 megabyte file.)  This means that no definitions need to be downloaded and it can be run completely offline.  Unfortunately, Vipre rescue antivirus must be run from the command line so it can be tricky for novice users.  This can be done from within a normal Windows operation, Windows Safe Mode, or a bootable Windows PE environment. I will explain the latter two below. Please note that this method will work for all versions of Windows including Windows 7, Vista, and XP even with locked NTFS partitions.

Safe Mode Antivirus Scanning:

    This first method is if you can get your computer into Safe Mode.  Enter Safe Mode by pushing the F8 key even before you see the Windows is starting logo (directly after the BIOS screen).  To my amazement, many free antivirus software including AVG etc. do not function in Windows Safe Mode.  The antivirus will simply state “the AVG engine cannot be started in Safe Mode.”  I think this is a ridiculous precedent because often users cannot boot normal Windows because of a virus or worm preventing them from a normal startup.  The solution is to get VIPRE rescue antivirus on to your computer in safe mode.  You can do this by putting the file on a CD-ROM/DVD or a USB flash drive.  Simply click the exe file and the VIPRE antivirus will automatically extract itself and run the antivirus deep scan. The program will automatically detect and delete any viruses, Trojans, or worms detected.

Windows PE antivirus scanning with Active Disk

Non bootable Windows, Windows PE antivirus scanning (Advanced Users Only):

     This final option is when a computer has been completely disabled by a corrupted virus (not completely deleted by another antivirus scan) or deleted crucial files etc.  The preceding situation happens when a user cannot start in either normal Windows or Safe Mode.  The easiest solution to the preceding virus problem is to download the Active@ Boot Disk here.  This program will allow a user to boot a Windows like environment off of an USB flash drive or CD-ROM/DVD.  The software will give a user complete access to the NTFS partition of choice for a complete and thorough antivirus scan without the need to have access to a bootable Windows.  This program is free to use for 10 days which should be enough to fix what you need to fix in a non commercial environment.  I like Active @ Boot Disk because it has the smallest foot print of Windows PE available at only 150 megabytes max and it is extremely straight forward to use.  A user can use a 1 GB flash drive to install the Windows PE and VIRPE free antivirus on the same drive or CD. Note: the official Windows PE installation requires a 2 GB flash drive and a DVD RW and a lot of complex instructions.
    Install the Active @ Boot Disk program by simply running the executable.  Preferably, put the installation on a USB flash drive.  Once the installation is complete, put the VIPRE free antivirus executable in the USB drive.  Restart the computer and make sure to boot the USB flash drive or CD-ROM/DVD.  This can be done hitting by usually hitting F12 etc. on the first BIOS screen.  Note:  when a computer starts up there will be a prompt for the BIOS boot menu usually it’s a F1 through F12.  Once the Windows PE environment is loaded, navigate to the VIPRE free antivirus executable in the command prompt and start the exe. This will start the antivirus scan in the Windows PE environment.

Download VIPRE free command line antivirus here