It is important to have a good working anti-virus program on your computer, whether it is running Windows, Mac, or Linux operating systems. An anti-virus will provide valuable protection for your computer by detecting and removing malware. It can also block malicious webpages to help prevent malware from being downloaded.

It is also a requirement of the University of Otago that all computers connecting to the network have a working, updated antivirus:

Anti-virus Procedure

If you are unsure whether or not your computer has an anti-virus installed, see the instructions below or contact AskOtago Student IT Services for assistance.


  1. Open the Control Panel and go to Programs > Programs and Features.
  2. Look through the list of installed programs on your computer. This will show any installed anti-virus software.
  3. Click the small up-arrow on the bottom right of the toolbar to display the system tray. Often an installed anti-virus will be shown here.

    screenshot of Anti-virus icons show in your system tray


  1. Navigate to your Applications folder by opening a Finder window and clicking Applications in the left sidebar.

    Applications option in Finder
  2. Use the Search function in the Finder window to look for the names of common anti-virus software applications (see list below).

Common anti-virus software

Some of the most common anti-virus software applications are:

  • Windows Defender (free with Windows 8 and 10)
  • Sophos (free—the University of Otago's recommended software)
  • AVG (free)
  • Avast (free)
  • Norton (via paid subscription)
  • McAfee (via paid subscription)

Some anti-virus software requires a paid subscription:

  • If your subscription is out of date, you will need to either renew your subscription or install a free anti-virus
  • A computer that has an anti-virus with an expired subscription does not meet University of Otago policy for use of the University networks

Two or more anti-virus programs?

If you find you have more than one anti-virus installed, choose your favourite and uninstall the other. If you have more than one anti-virus, they will interfere with each other and neither will work effectively, potentially leaving you with no anti-virus protection at all.

Download free Sophos anti-virus for Windows, Mac, Android, and Linux

Although there are many anti-virus programs to choose from, the University recommends Sophos Endpoint Security, which can be downloaded for free directly from the Sophos website:

Windows Defender on Windows 8 and Windows 10

Windows 8 and 10 come with Windows Defender, a full anti-virus program that is fine to use at the University.

If you need any assistance installing or removing an anti-virus program, or if you are worried about malware on your computer, please contact AskOtago Student IT Services:

Tel +64 3 479 5170
Message us on Facebook
Or visit Student IT at the AskOtago Central Hub

Last updated 06/08/2021 03.21 PM

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