10 Free and Portable Offline Antivirus Scanners

Having an antivirus application or antimalware software installed on your system while connected to the internet is essential these days, not only to protect you if you browse questionable websites or use torrents etc, but even legitimate websites can be hacked and serve malicious files to unsuspecting visitors. One example is celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s website recently being hacked several times serving up possible malware to its unsuspecting visitors.

If you have a computer that isn’t connected to the internet, such as one with XP installed, it’s still useful to sometimes scan the computer to make sure nothing malicious has found its way onto the system. Even with an antivirus installed on the system, some malware can disable your internet connection and if it was somehow allowed to get through, you cannot go online until the issue is fixed.

There are ways to run a virus scan without an active internet connection or installing a full antivirus suite, one option is to run a scan from a bootable CD or USB stick. Here’s another solution which is using a portable antivirus scanner that can check your system for viruses and malware without needing installation or an internet connection on the target computer. We have 10 for you to try out. 1. Emsisoft Emergency Kit

This is perhaps less of an emergency kit than previous versions as HijackFree the system analysis tool and BlitzBlank the hard to remove file and registry entry deleter have been removed, but you still get the effective award winning anti malware scanner in both GUI and command line versions.

emsisoft emergency kit

Download and run the executable to extract the Emergency Kit. If you run it on a system with no internet connection select No to bypass the online definition update. For the latest virus definitions you can take the EEC folder to another computer and let it update, although the website seems to update the Emergency Kit executable at least once a day so the definitions should never be more than 24 hours old.

The Quick Scan is only a light scan and checks a few common locations where malware commonly resides, while the Malware Scan is more thorough and Emsisoft’s recommended option. For a total scan of the entire system with all the scanning and cleaning methods the Emergency Kit has at its disposal, use the Custom Scan. A useful option is the Whitelist which excludes files, folders or processes from the scan.

Download Emsisoft Emergency Kit


2. Avira PC Cleaner

Avira used to be the most popular free antivirus around until they entered into a partnership with Ask.com and its unpopular toolbar. There’s no denying though, that Avira’s detection rates are still very good and running an offline scan with Avira PC Cleaner gives you that benefit.

avira pc cleaner

The main issue with Avira PC Cleaner is it needs to be semi installed and run on an internet enabled computer first to download the 100MB+ of definitions. Once that’s done, go to the Windows Temp folder (Win+R and type %temp%) and copy the folder Cleaner to another folder or flash drive. Then run the ‘Remove Avira PC Cleaner’ desktop shortcut to delete everything. An option is available in the main interface to copy PC Cleaner directly to a USB flash drive.

Then when you run PC Cleaner simply use the avwebloader.exe and select Yes to use the existing definitions. There are two modes, normal and a check box for a Full scan which obviously takes longer. It’s not fully clear what each mode does but normal appears to scan critical areas such as the Windows and Users folders, full will likely scan the whole drive or all drives on the computer.

Download Avira PC Cleaner


3. Microsoft Safety Scanner

Safety Scanner is effectively an offline portable version of Microsoft Security Essentials. Sadly Security Essentials took a reputation hit a few years ago after Microsoft stated that MSSE will always be behind other antivirus software in terms of detection rates because it’s designed that way. But it’s still a quick and easy tool that can also be run alongside other security software.

microsoft safety scanner

Download the version of Safety Scanner compatible with your offline system (32-bit or 64-bit), run the tool and accept the license. Three scan types are available, Quick Scan checks the important and common areas of the system that could contain viruses, Full Scan will check the entire system and the customize option allows adding of a specific drive or folder which will be checked in addition to a Quick Scan.

The around 180MB Safety Scanner executable you download will expire in 10 days, at which point you will need to download a new version, Microsoft say that the downloadable Safety Scanner executable is updated with the latest virus definitions several times a day.

Download Microsoft Safety Scanner


4. Kaspersky Virus Removal Tool

Kaspersky is well known for being top or close to the top in most major antivirus tests so the Virus Removal Tool is potentially one of the best antivirus scanners around. KVRT has undergone a few changes recently and now has no configuration options to speak of and the main program is more self contained, extracting only the virus database to the Windows Temp folder.

kaspersky virus removal tool

After running KVRT and accepting the license agreement, wait for it to initialize and unpack its database to the Temp folder then choose what you want to scan by clicking the Change parameters button. There are options to scan the system memory, startup objects, drive boot sectors, the system drive and other folders/drives of your choice from the “Add object…” button. It will only run a quick scan by default (memory, startup objects and boot sectors).

After a few days Kaspersky Virus Removal Tool will warn the database is outdated and prompt you to download an updated version from the website, Kaspersky updates the executable every 2 hours or so and it’s around 100MB in size. The 2015 versions of Virus Removal Tool also adds command line arguments to the program.

Download Kaspersky Virus Removal Tool


5. Comodo Cleaning Essentials

The Comodo Cleaning Essentials mini suite consists of a few other useful tools besides the antivirus cleaner. You get an advanced task management, monitoring and analysis tool called KillSwitch and a part of KillSwitch that can be used as a standalone tool is the Autorun Analyzer that shows and allows you to view and control anything starting with your computer.

comodo cleaning essentials

You will need to run Comodo Cleaning Essentials on a computer with internet access first to download the virus database. To do that launch CCE.exe and start a Smart Scan which will automatically download the 200MB+ signature database. When it starts to scan exit CCE and you have the database ready to use offline. When using the program with an offline computer just choose Skip when it says the server cannot be contacted.

Smart scan checks system memory, autorun entries, services, boot sectors, registry entries and system files. Full Scan will perform a scan of all drives on the system in addition to the Smart scan. Custom Scan will let you manually choose what you want somewhere in between the two. Comodo Cleaning Essentials has an options window at the top right with extra settings like scanning archives or MBR’s and setting the heuristics level.

Download Comodo Cleaning Essentials


6. ClamWin

ClamWin is an open source on demand virus scanner that is built around the also open source ClamAV antivirus engine. While ClamWin itself has no real-time protection abilities, another free tool called Clam Sentinel can help give basic real time scanning.

clamwin

The portable version of ClamWin is created by Portableapps.com and only includes the program without the virus definitions databases, so they will have to be downloaded on an internet enabled computer through ClamWin or manually download the 3 CVD files from ClamAV and add them to the ClamWinPortable\Data\Db folder.

Scanning is done manually in ClamWin so you just click on a drive or double click and browse for a folder or file to scan, multiples can be selected via Shift-click. Alternatively a quicker memory scan will check just the files loaded into system memory. Because it’s an on demand scanner from the outset, there are a number of options for filtering, email alerts, size limiting, Office attachments and how to treat infected files.

Download ClamWin Portable


7. Dr.Web CureIt!

Dr.Web have been offering CureIt! as a free standalone antivirus scanner for several years and it’s also able to scan for and detect a number of different types of threats, including adware, hack tools, jokes and riskware in addition to the viruses, trojans, spyware, rootkits you would normally expect.

drweb cureit

You’ll notice the download filename is different each time which is a security measure to help bypass some malware. On launch the program unpacks itself to the system Temp folder and then runs. The main default scanning mode is an Express scan which checks memory, boot sectors, root folders, Windows and Document folders and Temp folders. You can alter those options and add your own drives or folders from “Select objects for scanning”.

CureIt! has a number of settings in the Preferences menu at the top right, such as auto applying actions, exclusions, default actions and protecting CureIt! operations. Dr.Web are very quick with their updates as the program cannot update itself, new executables are released approximately every hour.

Download Dr.Web CureIt!


8. Panda Cloud Cleaner Portable

Despite the name, Cloud Cleaner will also work while you are completely offline. It is less effective without the internet though because the local virus database only detects the most common and dangerous infections. That said, Panda Cloud Cleaner is still a useful program while offline.

panda cloud cleaner

The PCCLauncher.vbs is useful because it closes unneeded processes first and then runs the cleaner, which helps if an infection has stopped you running exe files. To get the latest virus definitions the program will first need to be run online, then taken to an offline PC. For a normal launch run PCloudCleaner.exe and click the button to accept the license and run a default quick scan which checks the registry, memory and common malware locations.

Two other scan options are available by clicking the arrow next to the scan button, “Analyze all PC” will scan the whole system and “Analyze other elements” allows for selecting additional drives or folders. Besides malware, Cloud Cleaner also checks for unknown files and other suspicious behavior or settings, in addition a basic cleaner can remove temp files, browser files, cookies and etc. Options to close unnecessary processes or deleted locked files are in Advanced Tools.

Download Panda Cloud Cleaner Portable


9. eScanAV AntiVirus Toolkit

eScanAV is perhaps less well known than most of the other tools here, but detection results in the major antivirus tests for eScan products put it ahead of some major household names. They also offer this Antivirus Toolkit which is a proper dedicated portable virus scanner.

escan antivirus toolkit

One issue is the kit currently contains virus definitions that are months out of date, so you need to first get them updated on an internet enabled computer. The best way to do this so the updated version can be reused is to unpack mwav.exe with an archiver like 7-Zip and run mexe.com to launch the program, then click Update to download the latest definitions. Once that’s done the mwav folder can be taken to an offline computer and eScanAV launched with mwavscan.com.

Usage is very easy as all the options are in the one window, select which areas, drives and/or folders to scan, choose if you want to scan only or clean as well and whether to check archives, then start the process. Note that an unpacked eScanAV folder with updated definitions is around 600MB in size.

Download eScanAV AntiVirus Toolkit


10. VIPRE Rescue

VIPRE Rescue is different from all the other tools here because it is run entirely using a command line interface so it’s not as easy for the average user to control the options and view the results. This one may be more suited to the technically minded.

vipre rescue scanner

It is easy to get the program running though, simply download the 200MB+ executable and upon launch it will extract to the folder of your choice and begin running a scan. The default is a Deep Scan with Rootkit checking enabled. If you want to run a Quick Scan use the /quick argument, to disable the rootkit scan use /norootkit. Supplying /path {path to folder} allows scanning of custom folders. Don’t forget to CD to the path or you’ll get a definition files not found error.

By default VIPRE Rescue will clean the infected objects so if it falsely quarantines something you will need to use the command line to list and the restore a quarantined item. As the program cannot update itself, new downloadable executables are added to the website every day with the latest definitions.

Download VIPRE Rescue


Notes: Sophos Virus Removal Tool would be an unofficial number 11 but there was a few reasons we left it out. Firstly it asks for a name and email to download, it also installs itself fully onto the system before you can copy the folder and only a full system scan is carried out. Still a useful option if you want something extra to try. We did also look at Zillya! Scanner but the definitions have not been updated since December 2014. Norman Malware Cleaner which you might see listed elsewhere is no longer available.

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