1. Installing and Updating Sophos

1.1. Introduction

Sophos Endpoint Security and Control for Windows (also known as Sophos Anti-Virus) is a security application that provides a number of features for computer systems running Microsoft Windows, in particular protection against malware such as viruses.

Members of Oxford University may download and install the Sophos software on their own desktops and laptops.

These instructions are primarily for people who want to install the Sophos software onto their personal laptop and/or desktop. Please check with your local IT Support Staff about antivirus protection for college and departmental systems as local arrangements often apply, and installing the version intended for personal systems may cause problems.

1.2. Obtaining and Installing Sophos

Before installing Sophos for Windows:

  • Make sure that your computer is running a supported version of Windows. The current version of Sophos Endpoint Security and Control is version 10.0 which is supported on the following desktop operating systems including 64 bit versions where applicable.
    • Windows 7
    • Windows Vista
    • Windows XP Service Pack 1 and above
    • Windows 2000 Service Pack 3 and above
  • Remove any other anti-virus software installed on your machine. To do this use the [Programs and Features] control panel (Windows 7 and Vista) or the [Add or Remove Programs] control panel (Windows XP).

If you haven't already obtained Sophos you can download it for free via the following link:


When you download the installer you may receive a warning that the program may harm your computer because it is not commonly downloaded. This is normal if you use a recent version of Internet Explorer, for example. You may need to click on Actions before you can run the installer. When you click on Actions you will see a Smartscreen Filter window. The Sophos installer is now digitially signed; click on the entry against Publisher to see the details. To run the installer you will need to click on Run anyway.

1.3. Installing Sophos for Windows

This section describes how to install the Sophos software once you have downloaded it from the OUCS Self-registration page.

After you have downloaded the file, Run it or find the downloaded file and double-click on it. You will see a dialog box with a progress bar as the files are extracted. This may take a minute or two

Once the files have been extracted the installation screen (shown below) will appear. Click on the Start button to begin the installation.

Start screen

The installation of Sophos onto your computer is an automatic process. Once you have started the installation please be patient and wait for it to complete (this may take several minutes). You are not required to help in this process. To begin with you will see the following screen while the program is installed:

Installation in progress screen 1

Once the first part of the installation is complete, the text on the screen will change to show that Sophos is being configured, as shown below.

Installation in progress screen 1

When the installation has completed you will see the following screen.

Installation complete screen

If the installation has failed for any reason the shield will be red. If this happens please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) web page for information on how to find out what the problem is.

Installation failed screen

If the installation was successful we recommend that you restart your computer as Sophos frequently needs the computer to be rebooted before all features are enabled.

1.4. Checking the status of Sophos

Once you have rebooted check that you can see a blue and white shield in the system tray (usually in the bottom-right of the screen, near the clock).

On Windows 7 systems the shield will probably be hidden and to view it you will need to click on the up-arrow near the clock.

Blue and white shield on Windows 7

On older versions of Windows the shield should be visible immediately.

The blue and white shield icon found in the task bar

On Windows 7 systems you may prefer to change the settings so that the shield is always visible. This may make it easier to see when Sophos is running normally or whether there are any problems.

To change the settings select [Customize] from the menu that appears when you click on the up-arrows near the clock.

Customize option for Notification Area

This will open the Notification Area Icons control panel. Look down the list (and if necessary scroll down) until you see the entry for [Sophos Endpoint Security and Control]. From the drop-down list next to it change the setting to [Show icon and notifications]. Finally click on OK to apply the changes.

Windows 7 Notification Area Icons control panel

So long as the shield is blue and white as shown then Sophos should be working correctly. However you still need to update it as described below to protect against malware discovered since the installation package was built. If the shield looks different, such as shown in the following picture, please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) web page for explanations and possible solutions.

Exclamation mark on shield icon

Sophos generally pops up status messages from the shield to alert you to problems, as well as to confirm that Sophos is running properly. For example, after you start up your computer you may see a message telling you that all protection is enabled as shown below.

Shield popup showing all protection enabled

1.5. Updating Sophos Anti-virus for the first time

Although the blue and white shield shows that Sophos is installed and running properly you still need to update it immediately to make sure that it can identify the most recent viruses. Before you update Sophos make sure that your computer is connected to the Internet.

Right click on the blue and white shield icon in the task bar. A small pop-up box will appear:

Update now pop-up screen

Click the Update Now link. Sophos will begin to download files and will show you a downloading screen.

Download files screen

Once all the necessary files have been downloaded, Sophos will automatically install these files onto your system. At this point you will see an installation progress screen. While Sophos is updating the Sophos shield near the clock may disappear for a short time.

Once the files have been successfully installed, the installation screen will close automatically. The Sophos shield icon in the task bar should be visible and blue, and any progress boxes will close indicating that the update is complete.

The blue and white shield icon found in the task bar

From this point on Sophos will try to update itself automatically every hour. You won't see the downloading screen during these automatic updates. See the Keeping Sophos up to date section below for more information on auto-updating.

Once installed Sophos should automatically check files that you open for viruses. To open the main Sophos program itself, if you need to run scans, modify configuration or manage items in quarantine, open Sophos EndPoint Security and Control from the [Start] menu (in the Sophos program group, or right-click on the shield in the task bar and select Open Sophos EndPoint Security and Control.

1.6. Keeping Sophos up to date

Sophos Endpoint Security and Control uses a username and password to automatically download updates. These credentials are valid for around 14 months and expire during November each year. Once they have expired, Sophos will no longer be able to download updates, and your computer will be more vulnerable to new viruses etc.

This normally only applies to Sophos installed onto personal laptops and desktops. On college or departmental systems, Sophos (or other antivirus software) is often managed by your local IT Support staff and you should check with them before making any changes.

To make sure that you keep your computer(s) up to date, you will need to download and install a new Sophos package in October each year. Please see the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for more details on how to check whether your installation(s) of Sophos is using valid credentials.

On computers that are connected to the internet Sophos will check for updates once an hour. To find out when the program last updated itself, hover your mouse over the blue and white shield icon found in the task bar and you should see a small pop-up window showing the date and time of the last update:

hover mouse over task bar Sophos shield

If you find it difficult to make this status message appear you can see the same information by right-clicking on the shield and choosing [Open Sophos Endpoint Security and Control] from the menu. This will open the Sophos program, and the main screen will show a Status box near the top left of the window.

Main Sophos window - status box

When the program is in the process of updating itself you the pop-up window will look a little different.

Sophos shield showing updating message

While Sophos is updating you can choose to view a progress window. Do this by right-clicking on the shield and choosing [View updating status] from the menu that appears. The option will be unavailable if Sophos isn't updating.

File update downloading window

If Sophos finds new updates it will automatically install them after downloading them.

If you see a red circle with a white cross superimposed on the blue and white shield (see below), the most recent update failed. This will always happen (and is normal) if Sophos tries to update while your computer is disconnected from the Internet. If your Internet connection is working correctly and the update fails, refer to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for some possible reasons and solutions.

Red cross on blue and white shield

1.7. Further Information

If you encounter any problems there is a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) web page with answers to some of the most common issues that people encounter.

We provide some outline information on configuring Sophos options and scans in the next section.

Up: Contents Next: 2. Further Configuration and Setting up Manual and Scheduled Scans

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