Trend Micro's HouseCall, maybe, is not the best free online security scanner on the market. It is slower than some competitors; it may be less effective than others. However, it is the only one out of the top online scanners, offering not just detecting the virus contamination or security threat, but also cleaning or deleting of infected files from wide range of threats including viruses, worms, Trojans, and spyware. In addition, Trend Micro HouseCall seeks out firewall problems and other vulnerabilities, and makes suggestions for correcting them.
Please note that HouseCall requires a small download before it can scan your computer.
Getting Started with HouseCall
- Click Download HouseCall to begin. The file to download differs in relation to your Operating System, soc choose the option (32-bit or 64-bit), which suites you.
- You can choose to save a copy of the launcher (HousecallLauncher.exe) and use it to quickly starts scan. Remember to visit this page occasionally to get the latest copy of the launcher.
- It is recommended that first-time users select the Quick Scan option, which is available in addition to the Full Scan or Folder Scan options.
- Enabling the Smart Feedback setting helps increase the strength of the Smart Protection Network by sharing malware and threat data as part of our global neighborhood watch program. No personally identifiable information is gathered as part of participation.
- At least 300MHz IntelTM PentiumTM processor or equivalent
- At least 256MB memory
- At least 200MB available disk space
- Windows™ XP (32-bit) Home or Professional with SP2 or SP3
- Windows Vista™ (32-bit, 64-bit) Ultimate, Business, Home Premium, or Home Basic with SP1 or SP2
- Windows 7 (32-bit, 64-bit)
- At least high-color (16-bit) and a minimum resolution of 1024x768 pixels
Review of HouseCall (32-bit version) by PCWorld
Trend Micro--one of the most respected companies in security software--offers HouseCall, a free Web-based utility that scans for and cleans your computer of all currently documented viruses, Trojans and other malware. In addition, HouseCall seeks out firewall problems and other vulnerabilities, and makes suggestions for correcting them. We do not recommend using HouseCall in lieu of an installed security program. But it has saved our computers numerous times, when all else failed. Its new version is not only compatible with Windows 7, but you can download either a 32-bit or 64-bit version of its launcher.
Setting up HouseCall is a breeze. You can choose to do a Quick Scan, Full Scan or Custom Scan (choosing which drives and folders-- including connected network drives--will be analyzed). If you're in a hurry, you may also want to check the option to have HouseCall fix all found problems. If you prefer to look at each problem found, and select which ones to fix, leave that option unchecked.
Then, click on Scan Now, and sit back and wait. Depending on the size and density of your drives, the type scan you choose, the speed of your computer, and the speed of your internet connection, it can take fifteen minutes (for a Quick Scan of critical system files) to several hours (for Complete or comprehensive Custom Scans). Our Custom Scan of all folders and files on two local and four network drives took five hours and four minutes.
Unlike previous versions of HouseCall, which ran completely online, this newest iteration uses a downloadable launcher. That means you no longer have to worry about browser compatibilities or having the latest Java installed. During the scan, the launcher first verifies that you have the latest version of the program, and automatically downloads any updates you might need, before actually launching. We feel that is an extra step that shouldn't be necessary, when you've just downloaded the launcher; shouldn't it be the newest version already? Once launched, HouseCall Then, it checks file patterns on your computer against Trend Micro's latest database of malicious files, via your Internet connection. A progress bar and timer tell you how much time has lapsed and the percentage of the job that is complete, so you can walk away and know approximately when to return.
When the scan is complete, HouseCall generates a report of all threats found and actions taken to fix the problems. It also provides information for any that were found but not repaired, so that you can investigate further. This time around, it found nothing on our test system--happily. Other times that we've used it, HouseCall has located and neutralized considerable threats to our systems.
Trend Micro is known for its aggressive and frequent updates of malware definitions, which means that HouseCall will catch the vast majority of active malicious files that might lurk in your system. But, because of its thoroughness, HouseCall can be time-consuming. It's best to run it at a time when you aren't planning to use your computer, such as overnight.
HouseCall is a great resource for anyone who suspects that their computer woes may be related to malicious files--or for those who just want to double-check that their installed security program is doing its job.
Review of HouseCall (32-bit version) by BrightHub
Ease of Use
To use the Trend Micro HouseCall free scan, users will need to download a small launcher program (Housecalllauncher.exe), which is available in 23-bit and 64-bit versions to support older and new operating systems such as Windows 7. Once the launcher is downloaded, the user is required to run the program, which will download all the required components and ready itself to scan the computer. The scanning options include a full, custom (including folder specific scans) as well as a quick scan.
Users have the option of allowing the program to share threat data with “a global intelligence network to quickly discover new threats” according to the Trend Micro HouseCall website. Unlike some other online scanners, HouseCall not only detects threats but it can remove them as well. In fact, the program can be set to auto clean, which is a feature that tries to remove threats automatically, or users can choose to perform the removal tasks manually if malware is detected.
One major advantage that HouseCall has over traditional virus scanning solutions is that it is always up-to-date. The service doesn't rely on periodic software definition downloads to be able to detect viruses. Users are assured that the latest virus definition files are being used for each scan because the launcher always fetches the newest definitions prior to starting a scan. In a search for the best online virus scanners, you will be hard pressed to find a better alternative to HouseCall.
Trend Micro HouseCall and its free virus scan, like many other online scanners, is generally available to everyone who has Internet service. However, its reliance on the Internet in order to perform a scan, is its Achilles heel. There are certain malware that will impair the computer’s ability to access the Internet, making it nearly impossible or at least technically challenging to remove malware using online scanners.
However, once the scanner downloads the required components, it does a good job of scanning the computer for viruses without hogging system resources. It's not surprising that the program is not a system hog, however. Bear in mind that it doesn't run all the resident shields and active protection components of a full fledge virus scanner.
Developers’ Website: http://housecall.trendmicro.com/