If you are not in the know when it comes to the fifty or so different antivirus companies and their hundreds of products on the market, chance is the Emsisoft name has slipped by you unnoticed. One of the reasons for this is that it the company products are not that often included in comparative antivirus tests, another that the heavyweights in the niche are overshadowing some of the lesser known products.
Emsisoft Emergency Kit is a portable tools collection for the Windows operating system that users can run right after download and unpacking. You do get version 1 of the product when you download it, but can upgrade to version 2 beta if you like by enabling beta updates under Configuration > Update. Please note that you need to run a manual update check afterwards in the main interface, and restart the program to complete the update to version 2.
The Emergency Kit ships with four different modules that you can run independently from each other:
- Emergency Kit Scanner - Uses the same virus scanning engine that is powering the company's commercial products.
- Commandline Scanner - Provides the same functionality as the GUI scanner, but from the command line
- HiJackFree - System analysis
- BlitzBlank - For advanced removals
You can use the scanner to scan part or all of your system. It features a quick and smart scan option, as well as deep scan and custom scans. Users who want to be thorough should use the deep scan option to scan all files and the memory of their PC. While it will take the longest to complete, it is also the most thorough and complete option available. It is recommended to update the signature files before starting the scan, which the program recommends automatically when you run it.
Signature updates are stored in the same folder the program is executed from so that they do not have to be downloaded every time the program is used. There is not much that you can do besides scanning the PC. The program ships with a quarantine and a whitelist, that you can use to block files from being scanned, blocked or removed.
HiJackFree is the second interesting program in the bundle. It lets you analyze core aspects of the system, including the processes, autorun, services, ports and the system's hosts file. What I personally like about the program is that it color codes the items, which gives you an indication whether an item can be trusted. Filters at the top let you hide trusted files, so that you can concentrate on files that have either not been identified by the program, or marked as untrusted.
Changes in Emsisoft Emergency Kit 2
The developers have improved the emergency kit significantly. Existing users will notice the speed improvements during scans right away, with Emsisoft claiming that the new version is on average 4.5 times as fast as the old.
The program is now utilizing the new Emsisoft Anti-Malware 6.x engine, which ships with multi-core optimizations and a dual-scan engine utilizing both Emissoft's own and the Ikarus engine.
Additional changes include better direct disk access scan modes for improved rootkit detection, improved false positive handling, and options to configure desired actions before the scan starts.
Interested users can download the latest version of the Emsisoft Emergency Kit from the official website. Keep in mind that version 1.0 is currently offered there, and that you need to check the beta update setting to upgrade to version 2.0.
While I can't vouch for the product's effectiveness when it comes to detection rates and efficiency, I like what's offered. You get a portable virus scanner plus some other tools for free, and there is really nothing wrong with running multiple portable scanners on a system from time to time.