Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Someone I know has got their Windows XP PC infected with malware.

Are there any tools I can use to disinfect the PC remotely? It would have to be a boot CD because XP is completely hosed.

share|improve this question
Does this mean you won't be able to physically get to help your friend? Are they able to burn a Live CD using another system? – slhck Oct 28 '11 at 21:59
LiveCD and/or Teamviewer – surfasb Oct 28 '11 at 22:29
Yes, I will not be able to get to my friend's house. I will have to mail a livecd over. – KZ. Oct 30 '11 at 1:53
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Removing malware by remote:

  1. Remote access by you using a live CD and with this connecting to your friends computer and then you removing the malware.

    To do it this, you would require a live CD OS (Ubuntu, etc.) or a rescue CD that has a browser that can get internet access and has anti-malware software installed to it. You could from your computer, using the live CD, use your friends system to connect to MSE or any anti-malware site.

  2. Remote access by you giving advice and they burn, insert and use the live CD:

    This has a list of live CD anti-malware options and this is from the 'Live CD list'. I have used Kaspersky rescue CD and have read/ heard good things about Panda and AVG.

    I have not needed to use any, but would try open diagnostics from the 'live cd list- windows antivirus'. This may not sound like good advice, but I would go with any free CD first and see if it removes anything and then possibly look at a 'try before you buy' and so on.

    If you do not have a CD burner, Imgburn is a good selection and the guides tell you all you need to know when burning an ISO.

Other remote as in advice:

  1. With Internet access (I would try this first):

    Using this option, your friend could connect to SE and use/ install the free service and remove the malware that way.

  2. The last, but possibly the best, is to re-install the OS:

    1. First run a full backup (the malware will be backed up and this is as a 'just in case).
    2. Copy all data to CD/DVD (documents, music, video, etc.).
    3. Reformat, reinstall and update - this wipes the drive and takes it back to a clean OS.
    4. Install the anti-malware of your choice, update it.
    5. Reinstall all programs from the programs websites and copy the data off the CD/DVD and back to the OS.

The malware should get picked up by your new anti-malware system. If your friend does not have an install CD, you can use any XP install disk and use the product code from your friend's computer (this is legal, or so I have been told).

share|improve this answer
Thanks for the list of live CDs. Are there any you would recommend? I'm flying completely in the dark here, my friend is very non technical and can't give me a good description of what is going on. A boot and nuke from orbit solution would be best. I'll try the live cds out in a VM. – KZ. Oct 30 '11 at 1:55
@KZ have added another list and the cd's i've used (in answer no.2), go free 1st - and contact me if you want anything more – mic84 Oct 30 '11 at 4:31

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.