Alternate Operating System Scanner

What is PC Tools' Alternate Operating System Scanner?

Once a system is infected with malware it becomes difficult to remove that malware as it is already embedded in the system and has control over many components which are key to the system's operations. Malware, like rootkits, use system components to hide themselves and prevent other software from detecting or removing them. This is often the case of who gets there first; if the malware is able to get control of the system earlier on then it also has control over any software that may be run later. Besides just hiding, malware can also block the execution of other security applications. If you cannot install or run a security application in the first place then you cannot scan and detect the malware. The best time to remove this malware is when it is not running, but malware often starts with the Operating System, so we would have to stop the Operating System to stop the malware. On a shutdown OS nothing is running and malware like rootkits cannot hide themselves and so it would be easy to find and remove them.

But how do you run a security program like Spyware Doctor on a system that is not running?

You run the security application on an Alternate Operating System which has access to the files and registry of the sleeping Operating System. Its like putting the Operating System under a general anaesthesia. The Alternate Operating System Scanner (AOSS) can now scan through all the files on the sleeping OS unobscured by any other applications or malware.

AOSS functions by loading up an Alternate mini Operating System which runs the scanners, which in turn read data from the Spyware Doctor signature database. The scanners scan the files and registry entries of the sleeping OS and use Spyware Doctor signatures to identify malicious entries. The user is then given the option to remove these entries. Without the malware running, AOSS can easily find and remove any malware, even the most sophisticated rootkit.

But we still need Spyware Doctor...

When an Operating System is not running, certain structures and settings are also not available, as Spyware installs itself in various locations we still need to be able to see these structures to fully remove the Spyware.

In most cases AOSS will detect and remove the main components of a threat and SD will only be required to clean up. With the main components deactivated Spyware Doctor can easily clean up any remaining traces of the malware.

Of course Spyware Doctor does more than just scan; it guards the system while in operation, which is something AOSS cannot do. Prevention is always better than cure and Spyware Doctor will keep you protected, but if you do become infected or are already infected then AOSS offers a cure for the most persistent infections.

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