Windows 8 Breaks Rescue Disks
Removing computer viruses ranges between painfully frustrating to impossible, and an external rescue or boot disk is frequently required to clean viruses that are resisting removal.
In fact, the practice of cleaning an infected device from an independent, external, known clean device is recommended by government cyber security departments and computer security leaders around the world.
Windows 8 PCs contain a new technology called Secure Boot that only boots devices that have been verified by Microsoft. Many popular rescue disks won’t boot on PCs that ship with Windows 8 without modification to the BIOS (called UEFI on Windows 8 PCs) system firmware. Even Microsoft’s own Windows Defender Offline won’t boot.
PC manufacturers must include a technology called Secure Boot in order to ship PCs with Windows 8. Secure Boot uses a public-key infrastructure to verify the integrity of the operating system and prevent unauthorized programs such as bootkits from infecting the device. One consequence of Secure Boot is bootable removable media (rescue disks, Live CDs, Live USBs) will no longer work on PCs that ship with Windows 8 unless they’re upgraded to include the necessary signed components. So far it looks like only our friends at FixMeStick have upgraded.
We’ll keep you up to date as more rescue disks support this new Secure Boot architecture and please let us know if you know of any that do already.