These Are the Best System Rescue Tools After a Malware Attack

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Researchers analyze five AV-made system repair tools.System rescue tools provided by antivirus makers are often used to clean infected systems after the main antivirus software detects infections.

Most antivirus makers bundle this functionality in their main products, but a few offer more specialized tools that also repair damaged files, attempting to restore the system to its earlier working point as much as possible.

Only five of such tools are currently available on the market as free tools. They are AVG Rescue CD, Avira EU-Clean, Bitdefender Rescue CD, ESET SysRescue, and Kaspersky Virus Removal Tool.

Researchers from the AV-TEST institute tested them during the past year by infecting 53 computers and then ran each tool to see if it could clean up and restore the system to its prior state of operation.

Because the test was focused on the tool’s ability to restore and repair systems, only malware that was detected by all five major antivirus vendors was used.

Kaspersky and Bitdefender come out as the top tools

Surprisingly, even if officially the AV vendors reported that they were able to detect the malware variants used in the tests, some of these tools failed to detect all threats at runtime. Only Bitdefender’s tool was able to identify all threats and then remove them from affected systems.

Despite this, when it came to total system repair percentage, the winner was Kaspersky’s Virus Removal Tool, which detected all malware, failed to remove one infection, but cleaned up all additional (harmless) junk files in all cases, repairing a total of 52 of the 53 tested systems.

Despite its strong start, Bitdefender’s Rescue CD tool cleaned out only 21 of the 53 systems, leaving behind lots of junk files on 32 computers.

Adding up all the statistics (see below), the final ranking is Kaspersky Virus Removal Tool with a total system repair percentage of 98.7%, followed by Bitdefender Rescue CD with 79.9%, AVG Rescue CD with 78%, Avira EU-Cleaner with 64.8%, and ESET SysRescue with 64.2%.

So if you are willing to stomach that Kaspersky might turn a blind eye to one in 53 malware families, their Virus Removal Tool is this contest’s winner. If you’re willing to put up with junk files but want to be 100% protected, then Bitdefender’s Rescue CD is the tool for you.

AV-TEST test results

AV-TEST test results