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
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
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.
Note: This software comes in 32-bit and 64-bit versions.
This is the 32-bit version. If your 64-bit PC is running a 64-bit
OS, please download the 64-bit version
— Sally Wiener Grotta & Daniel Grotta