Another question that arose from this question is:

Is there any decent portable virus/malware scanner solution that:

  • can be placed on a bootable medium (such as a USB stick, but maybe a CD-R too)
    • ideally, also on a non-bootable medium (SD card) and chainloaded
  • has a secure way to get up-to-date signatures
    • and possibly software updates
  • can be booted on a computer (x86, for now) and scan its local filesystems for viruses and other malware (ideally, supporting most Windows, Linux, Mac OSX86, BSD, Solaris, Hurd filesystems)
    • command-line UI is fine
    • maybe GUI for those who do have more RAM
    • maybe serial console as boot option, for headless servers
    • or even network console (so you “ssh into” the system)

The solution would most probably have to be based on a modern Linux (but the question is not limited to an OS by design), with zfsonlinux and NTFS support, and at least read-only support for things like BSD UFS. (It could double as rescue system, with editor and scripting capability, for filesystems it can also write to.)

Something like this can be built easily from Grml, so it’s mostly the anti-virus component that leaves me puzzled. Most “Free” AV solutions aren’t up to the task, but there are freeware or shareware/commercial solutions too… but none solve the software or (more importantly) signature update problem decently, especially in the face of read-only media (I did specify CD-R, especially because you can just burn it once, then put it aside for when you need it).

1 Answer 1


I use AVG Rescue CD for this. It has a simple, keyboard-navigated UI. No CLI and no rich GUI though.


  • Is bootable (x86-only)!
  • Has a secure updater built-in
  • Can scan essentially any filesystem (FAT, NTFS, EXT, etc...)
  • Can scan Windows or Linux installations
  • Runs on a linux kernel
  • Looks interesting. I’m sure not everyone will need ZFS or btrfs or reiserfs or whatever filesystem du jour is needed… or one could update the base OS on them…
    – mirabilos
    Feb 5, 2014 at 16:36

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