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[Windows] 13 top best free rootkit removal (anti-rootkit) programs

Malware is bad. No one likes malware. Rootkit is one of the worst forms of malware because rootkits hide themselves “under” or “within” the Windows operating system, making harder to detect and remove than other types of malware. Because of this, rootkit is one of the only forms of malware that has specialized removal software, known as anti-rootkit programs.

Now that doesn’t mean security suites and anti-virus programs don’t have anti-rootkit capabilities built in; in fact, most security suites and anti-virus programs do indeed have anti-rootkit protection built into them. Rather, what I mean to say is there is a special class of software out there that specialize in removal of rootkits, aka anti-rootkit programs. And we have compiled a list of nine free anti-rootkit programs for you to pick from. Enjoy!


AVG Anti-Rootkit

avg_anti_rootkit_screenshot_from_softpedia [1]

Panda Anti-Rootkit

panda_anti_rootkit_screenshot_from_softpedia [2]

F-Secure BlackLight Rootkit Detection

f-secure_blacklight_rootkit_detection_screenshot_from_softpedia [3]

Vba32 AntiRootkit

vba_31_antirootkit_screenshot_from_softpedia [4]

Sophos Anti-Rootkit (now known as Sophos Virus Removal Tool)

sophos_virus_removal_tool_screenshot_from_softpedia [5]

Malwarebytes Anti-Rootkit

malwarebytes_anti_rootkit_screenshot_from_softpedia [6]


aswMBR_screenshot [7]

Bitdefender Rootkit Remover

bitdefender_rootkit_removal_tool_screenshot_from_softpedia [8]

Comodo Cleaning Essentials

comodo_cleaning_essentials_screenshot_from_softpedia [9]


gmer_screenshot [10]

Kaspersky TDSSKiller

kaspersky_tddskiller_screenshot_from_softpedia [11]

Dr.Web CureIt

dr_web_cureit_screenshot [12]

Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool

microsoft_malicious_software_removal_tool_screenshot_from_softpedia [13]


Before we delve into which one is the “best”, it should be noted no anti-rootkit tool is perfect. Because of the way rootkits work, it is very possible that anti-rootkit program A is unable to remove rootkit Z but can remove rootkit Y while anti-rootkit program B is unable to remove rootkit Y but can remove rootkit Z. In other words, it is always good to have multiple anti-rootkit utilities at your disposal because they cover each others weaknesses.

However, that doesn’t mean all anti-rootkit programs are equal. Indeed, some anti-rootkit programs are better than others. So which is the best?

Well, immediately thrown out of the race are AVG Anti-Rootkit, Panda Anti-Rootkit, F-Secure BlackLight Rootkit Detection, Vba32 AntiRootkit, and Comodo Cleanning Essentials. Why? Because these five programs are no longer actively developed and will only remove old(er) rootkits. That leaves Sophos Anti-Rootkit, Malwarebytes Anti-Rootkit (which is still in Beta), aswMBR (which is based on GMER technology), Bitdefender Rootkit Remover, GMER, Kaspersky TDSSKiller, Dr.Web CureIt, and Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool in the race.

Out of these eight anti-rootkit programs, the top four are Sophos Anti-Rootkit, Malwarebytes Anti-Rootkit, aswMBR, and Kaspersky TDDSKiller. Of these anti-rootkit programs, all four programs are ones that you want to keep in your anti-rootkit toolkit because, as I mentioned previously, no one anti-rootkit program can remove rootkits. That being said, unfortunately, Sophos Anti-Rootkit and Kaspersky TDDSkiller haven’t yet been updated to officially work with Windows 8 (they may still work with Windows 8, but Windows 8 isn’t officially supported by them). So Malwarebytes Anti-Rootkit ranks on the top of my list as the top best free rootkit removal program, followed by aswMBR, Kaspersky TDDSkiller, and Sophos Anti-Rootkit.


In this article, we have listed 13 free rootkit removal programs for Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8. Wether you decide to download our top picks or any other on this list, we hope these programs will help you stay safe.

The download links for each program can be found below.

AVG Anti-Rootkit download page [14]

Panda Anti-Rootkit download page [15]

F-Secure BlackLight Rootkit Detection download page [16]

Vba32 AntiRootkit download page [17]

Sophos Anti-Rootkit download page [18]

Malwarebytes Anti-Rootkit download page [19]

aswMBR download page [20]

Bitdefender Rootkit Remover download page [21]

Comodo Cleaning Essentials download page [22]

GMER download page [23]

Kaspersky TDSSKiller download page [24]

Dr.Web CureIt download page [25]

Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool [26]