Is there any software I can use to scan a bootcamp partition on OSX for viruses from OS X?

I prefer to run the scan from OS X because:

  • Typically Windows anti-virus solutions are more like full suites that require an installation. I do not wish to install anything like that because it would incur a performance penalty.

  • As I understand it, running the scan from outside the OS you're scanning means that anything potentially malicious on the OS won't interfere with the scan.

I suppose I could use a bootdisk of some kind but that is difficult because some bootdisks are not compatible with macbooks.

So I figure if OSX is already hosting/aware of the Windows partition I should be able to easily scan it from OSX right?

  • ClamAV supposedly runs on OS X. I have used it from Linux to scan a Windows partition and it worked well.
    – aglasser
    Jun 26, 2014 at 17:02
  • @aglasser I have used clam in the past and it seemed to work fine. So that's definitely a good suggestion. The only thing I'm not sure about is how effective it is vs other projects.
    – jmathew
    Jun 26, 2014 at 17:21

2 Answers 2


Two problems:

  1. I am not sure of any good Mac solution that will have the coverage of Windows viruses that Windows tools such as Security Essentials do. ClamAV may have pretty good signatures, but I can't vouch for whether it does or does not have a comparable scan and fix ability to a commercial product. Mac virus scan programs may be better, but again, they would probably have more focus on Mac viruses.

  2. By default, NTFS partitions are not writable on Mac OS X. You therefore could detect, but not fix or remove, viruses from your Windows partition. The only way around this is to purchase a commercial product such as Paragon NTFS, or go through some interesting challenges to get open-source drivers to mount the partition read-write.

If you use Microsoft's offline version of Security essentials (http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/what-is-windows-defender-offline) and your Mac is reasonably new, you should be able to make a bootable USB drive that will work - just insert it and hold down Option as you power on your Mac.


I would like to vote for ClamXAv (http://www.clamxav.com) too. I am using this software since many years, and I am very happy with it. On 10.9 it found the Genieo software and helped me to remove it.

It would be new to me, that this great free application has a focus on Mac viruses. May be fdmillion can give us some facts?

Whether you can use it for removing viruses depends on your Mac OS system: if you are using Mac OS X 10.6 and a FAT-32 Windows partion / volume, then you scan a Win volume and remove files.

As far as I know this has changed with newer Mac / Win system: you can read Win volumes with Mac, but only read / write to Mac volumes using a Win system. Another reason for me to stay on 10.6 and Win XP, because I prefer full access on Mac, but no access on Win.

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