It’s rare for a large company like TrendMicro to offer freebie software which could potentially harm its own sales. But in House Call, they’ve released an anti-Virus utility which is almost as effective as their much heralded PC-cillin suite.
The utility is free to download, and TrendMicro has surely released it as an incentive for users to eventually upgrade to the PC-cillin package. The only trouble is, they’re giving a lot away for free. So much, in fact, those users might be tempted to stick with what they know works.
House Call is extremely efficient at what it does. Sitting on the user’s operating system, it acts as a barrier between the local hard drive and harmful viruses which a user might encounter on the web. Not only does it protect from online dangers, but it has scanning facilities to detect and destroy Trojans and worms that are already in place on the system.
The first thing you’ll notice about House Call – after the quick download – is the intuitive interface. It’s very simple to navigate between the various settings and even novice users will find the information that they need. House Call looks to break away from the complexities that can arise with some of the more comprehensive anti-Virus suites on the market. It keeps things simple and makes no effort to be more than it is.
When you install HouseCall for the first time, you’ll be asked to download a plug-in for your web browser. The plug-in allows the software to scan your system’s memory and it will also search for harmful files in any storage disks that you have attached. One of the features which distinguish House Call over its premium rivals is the support for virus definitions.
House Call keeps an online virus database which the software connects to and automatically transfers every time there are new additions. The benefits of this are obvious. When you purchase packages like Norton, or indeed PC-cillin, you have to make a constant effort to stay on top of new sophisticated threats. This means connecting your application and manually searching for new fixes. While the software is usually better equipped to tackle such viruses, how many of us actually check for new updates every day?
You don’t need to worry about manually updating House Call. It looks after itself. You can carry on browsing the Internet, and the software will quietly make upgrades as new definitions become available. If you encounter a virus or a file without the required certificate, House Call will pop up and offer you options for how to deal with the file.
Of course, there’s a reason why House Call is free and PC-cillin isn’t. While HouseCall is more than capable of dealing with the most basic threats, it will openly let you know if it detects a virus which it doesn’t have a fix for. On top of that, you’ll be referred to PC-cillin. So it’s clear to see how TrendMicro are hoping to make their money, but to be fair, we found that most of the viruses you’d expect to encounter are dealt with efficiently by this free utility. Trojans and worms can be eliminated, along with spyware and bundled adware which we could all do without.
House Call offers a helpful “Auto Clean” feature which will automatically filter through the files on a webpage – or your local system if stated – and get rid of threats. It’s particularly good at detecting security issues in embedded code.
Sometimes the software can be a little over-protective in denying access to pages which are poorly coded rather than designed with malicious intent. But this is easily fixable can be toggled on and off as you please.
Better yet, the utility will offer step by step advice for eliminating threats which the software isn’t fit to deal with on its own. This is a nice addition and with the database of virus definitions being constantly updated, you can usually get a solution for most security issues.
Of course, many experienced users will opt for the widely praised PC-cillin as their anti-virus package of choice. And if you have the money, we certainly wouldn’t deem that unwise. But if you’re interested in anti-Virus protection – and you probably should be – House Call provides a brilliantly effective freeware solution. Head over to the Trend Micro website for more information, and a link to the download mirror.