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Installing Sophos Anti-Virus on Privately owned PC's


Our site licence covers use on home computers belonging to staff and students, wherever they are.


This does not include the PCs of non-staff and non-students in the same property (e.g. friends and family).

The software must be removed from your PC if you leave the employ of the University or when the site licence expires (currently 9th December 2015), whichever comes first.

Pre-requisites for Windows Vista and Windows 7
  • You must install as a member of the Administrators group. You can right-click on the Sophos file and select "Run as administrator" to ensure this.
  • Windows Vista/7 both have Windows Defender installed. During the Sophos installation and update process you may be prompted by Windows Defender to allow the changes which Sophos is making. This may occur many times during the installation so please be ready for this.
  • As well as being prompted by Windows Defender, with Windows Vista/7 you may also be prompted by "User Account Control" for permission to install Sophos. You should permit Sophos to install of course

Installing Sophos Anti-Virus

Download the software package by clicking on the link below and saving the file to your hard disk

Sophos 9 Package for Private PCs running Microsoft Windows XP/Vista/7

The file can take several minutes to download on a broadband connection. It will take a lot longer to download over a modem (hours).You are advised to download the file whilst on campus and copy the file to a CD or other storage media and install from that once at home.

  • Once the package is on your PC's hard drive, double-click on the file to start the installation. Windows Vista/7 users should be alert for Windows Defender and UAC prompts.
  • The installation program needs to unpack files into a temporary folder on your PC. Click [Install>].
  • At the Welcome to the Sophos Anti-Virus Installation Wizard window, click on [Next>]
  • The installation will begin. You will be prompted to enter your update location:

Sophos Installation



Enter the following details: 

Update source field Entry
Username: [leave blank]
Password: [leave blank]
Confirm password: [leave blank]

and then click on [Next>] and then [Next>] again at the next window.

  • Once installed, a grey Sophos shield icon should appear in your System Tray area (normally the bottom right of your screen). This will begin to pulse as it updates itself with the latest version of Sophos Anti-Virus. Finally, it will turn blue and stop pulsing and look like this: Sophos Shield Icon
    Hovering over the shield with your mouse pointer will reveal a tool tip which will tell you when you last updated. If the shield appears but remains grey you should check the Troubleshooting Sophos Anti Virus page.
  • When the update is complete you should configure the automatic updating options:
  • Right-click on the Sophos shield in the System Tray (normally bottom right of the screen) and select Configure Updating...
  • Click on the Schedule tab, which looks like this:

Sophos autopdate















We recommend the following settings:

PC connection type: Recommended settings:

readingConnect or

Un-tick the Check for updates on dial-up setting as you're not using dial-up.

Please refer to notes below for guidance on the best setting to use for the Check for updates time interval.

wireless connection

As broadband, but ensure that you manually update when you first log in (see below).

dial-up (modem) users

Un-tick the Enable automatic updates setting.

Leave the Check for updates on dial-up ticked.

If the network is connected and available when you log in to the computer, Sophos will do an update immediately after logging in. This would be the case with readingConnect or with a computer that is on broadband. If this is your situation then you can set the interval to 60 minutes as this would give you one update when you login and another an hour later if you use the computer for a long time.

If your computer connects to a wireless access point then the wireless network connection will not be established before Sophos attempts to update itself. In this case Sophos will not update at login and will not try to update again until the interval you set has passed. If your computer uses wireless it is perhaps best to update manually once your connection is established.

You can manually update Sophos at any time by right-clicking on the Sophos shield (see Updating the Sophos Anti-Virus Software section below) if you find that Sophos has not been updated for several hours.

We recommend that you do a full virus scan of your hard disk once Sophos has been installed. This gives Sophos a working baseline to start from and allows Potentially Unwanted Application detection to work correctly.

  • Right-click on My Computer
  • Click on Scan with Sophos Anti-Virus

You should enable the Scan for potentially unwanted applications feature of the on-access scanner as this will enable the ad-ware detection system and help to protect you from malicious software (aka malware). Make sure you've done a full scan first. This setting is in the on-access scanning section of the Sophos configuration screen (the other defaults are fine)

You should also enable the HIPS features and scanning for "suspicious behaviour". If you leave the Alert only feature ticked then HIPS will monitor your system for suspicious behaviour but only warn you about it rather than stopping it. You are advised to leave the Alert only feature ticked for the first week or so of running Sophos.


Updating Sophos Anti-Virus

If you entered the settings above then Sophos Anti-Virus will automatically update itself on login (except for PC which use a wireless network) and also periodically at the interval you set. If you use a wireless network at home please refer to the notes above for how often you should set Sophos to auto-update.

If you use a dial-up modem then Sophos Anti-Virus will also update every time you connect to the Internet. If you find that this is annoying (e.g. because it slows your connection just when you want to get onto the network to do something) then untick the Enable automatic updates option but remember to do a regular update every session to ensure that your PC is protected from new viruses. It's better to endure a momentary delay during start-up than to be infected by a new virus and have to reinstall Windows. Not only that, but if you update regularly you won't have as much to download at any one time.

All PCs

You can manually update the software by doing the following:

  1. Right-click on the Sophos shield Sophos Shield Icon in the System Tray area of your screen (normally bottom right, but Windows Vista and 7 will hide the shield by default).
  2. Select Update now

Checking the status and version of Sophos Anti-Virus

Once installed, you may right-click on your Sophos shield and select Open Sophos Anti-Virus (or run it from your Start menu)

This is where you can check the current status if your software, obtain help regarding the software and viruses and scan your drives for viruses or deal with any viruses already detected (in the main right-hand pane). You should ensure that the Product version stated is at least version 7.6.20 (current version at time of writing).

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