As someone who works with computers, I’m often getting calls from my family and friends asking me to clean viruses off of their computers. Generally, they’ve avoided my earlier encouragement to install Microsoft Security Essentials and now they find themselves dealing with computers that are not behaving as they should (they also ignore my other encouragements about using “In-Private Browsing” in IE8 & IE9 to browse to sites that are questionable, not running attachments, etc.). So for this reason, I keep a DART CD (Diagnostics and Recovery Toolkit) from MDOP (Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack) so that I can run Microsoft Standalone System Sweeper.
Well, starting today, my life should become a lot easier. A beta of a standalone version of System Sweeper was available here: http://connect.microsoft.com/systemsweeper and is now available here: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows/what-is-windows-defender-offline In conjunction with Microsoft Safety Scanner (which released last month) from http://www.microsoft.com/security/scanner/en-us/default.aspx, I’ve now got places to point people that hopefully means I won’t have to head over to as many houses.
I ran across this info when an e-mail at work referenced a ZDNet posting about the release of the beta of System Sweeper.
In my mind, the cool thing about our AV products is that they all share the same AV engine, be it Windows Defender, Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool, Windows Live OneCare (retired), Forefront Client Security, Forefront Endpoint Protection, the MS AV engine in the Forefront Server Security for <insert app here> products, Microsoft Security Essentials, or Microsoft Standalone System Sweeper. So once the AV team includes something in the appropriate portion of the definitions leveraged by that particular product, all the products leveraging that portion of the definitions can detect/remove the offending software. Why reinvent the wheel and make inefficiencies that don’t need to exist. When I go to fix a friend’s computer, I’ll just download the full definitions for Microsoft Security Essentials from here via the Microsoft Security Portal and load them into System Sweeper once it is running.
This will save me a TON of time with my friends & family able to solve their own problems.
UPDATE: 4/13/2012 The Beta of System Sweeper has now released and is called Windows Defender Online. URLs in the post updated to reflect this change.