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Cure a malware-infected PC with $6 flash drive

Actually, any flash drive will do, as will a blank CD. The key ingredient here is AVG's new Rescue CD utility, a bootable, malware-cleansing freebie.

A 2GB flash drive for $5.99 is a pretty good deal, especially when you pair it with AVG's new system-rescue utility.

Security software gets you only so far. Sometimes a bit of malware manages to sneak through, at which point, well, you're screwed. PC viruses, spyware, rootkits, and their ilk are like kids who move home after college: once they're in, they're nearly impossible to get out.

Today's deal equips you with a tool you can use to cure an infected PC after the fact. It starts with the 2GB Kingston Data Traveler USB flash drive, which is selling via eBay for $5.99 shipped.

Update: That deal has ended, but Adorama has the same drive for $7.95 shipped.

It's a fairly ordinary drive at a pretty good price, but it's only the first half of the equation. The second is AVG Rescue CD, a new freeware utility that's expressly designed to clean malware from infected PCs.

As you may have guessed from the name, the software was designed with bootable CDs in mind--but there's also a version that can run from flash drives, which I consider a much more convenient option. For one thing, flash drives fit in a pocket or on a keychain, so they're much easier to keep close by than a CD. For another, it boots faster.

Obviously you don't need this particular flash drive in order to use AVG Rescue CD; a cheapie blank CD would afford the same functionality.

But not the same convenience. You never know when an infection will hit, and there's much to be said for having a $6-gun in your holster, loaded and ready to fight back.

By the way, the flash-drive version of AVG Rescue CD consumes only about 70MB of space, so you can use the rest for everyday storage purposes.

The eBay deal ends tomorrow, March 31, at 8 a.m. PDT. AVG Rescue CD is free forever.

Note: I'll be away from the office tomorrow, so I'll see you back here Thursday (no joke) with a brand new deal!