I'm about to wipe my PC and reload everything, mostly for security purposes. I currently have Norton Internet Security 2011 and MalwareBytes Anti-Malware loaded and always running. I'll probably add Super Anti-Spyware. Right now, I also have a not updated version of CounterSpy; this program has been discontinued. Anyway, all of these run within Windows.
Since this will be a good time to download more software, that is to say right after I reformat the drive--anything else I should do at that time, for example checking for rootkits? how?--can I get some suggestions about programs I can store on a CD/DVD, boot to, and run from outside of Windows? My DOS knowledge is very limited, and my Linux knowledge is non-existent. I presume you get why I want to run some kind of scan(s) from time to time outside of Windows.
Can any evil software survive a total reformat using the PC manufacturer's discs? I read something on Wikipedia about (I think) rootkits living in the PC's BIOS, or something like that. Also, if I have an infected, external hard drive, will Norton and MalwareBytes (and maybe Super Anti-Spyware) protect the PC from becoming infected during the installation of the "new" (to the PC) process?