Boot scans, also called shoe scans, or pre-boot virus scans are the latest tools that antimalware software utilizes to remove malware that has not been detected by traditional scanning software. This type of scan may be set to run automatically at regular intervals or manually by the user if they suspect their computer is infected. Many antivirus programs allow users to select the degree of sensitivity for the boot scan and also decide on the actions that should be taken when a threat is recognized.

A boot scan is efficient because it lets an antimalware program to find files in use by the OS. These files are not easily deleted because they are constantly being accessed by the OS. They will display an Access Denied message when you try to delete them. The boot scan will locate these files and allow the antivirus software to erase them before the OS is able to start using them.

The time required for a boot scan will vary depending on a variety of variables, such as the speed of the CPU, the number of system files are being scanned and whether or not the computer is in use during the process of scanning (thus changing the status of these files). It is however common for this type of scan to take significantly longer than an ordinary antivirus scan due to the comprehensive nature of the process.