Sophos Home – Why you need to try out the free PC antivirus software

After concentrating on and serving business and enterprise users for quite a while, Sophos in December 2015 launched a new antivirus exclusively for home and non-commercial users. Called Sophos Home, the antivirus can protect upto 10 computers – whether Windows or Mac – from malware and inappropriate websites.

To get started with Sophos Home however, one has to first uninstall any antivirus on their PC before running Sophos Home as it won’t install unless and until any previous antivirus software has been completely uninstalled.

After removing the previous antivirus from the PC, it’s then time to download Sophos Home by registering on the firm’s website to create your account. (Apparently, this enables Sophos to track the number of those using the free solution).

Just a quick reminder though: to install and use the Sophos Home free antivirus, the PC needs to have either Windows 7 and above, the same for Mac where it only works on Mac OS X 10.8 or higher. The machine also needs to have a minimum 1 GB of free disk space as well as 1 GB of RAM. For browsers, it supports Microsoft Edge, Microsoft Internet Explorer 10 or later versions, Apple Safari, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.

From here, the user is then at liberty to configure the software according to their needs and specifications by checking on un-checking the areas below:

From the above screenshot, it becomes clear that one can use Sophos Home to control the kind of content they access or if the antivirus is used to protect multiple PCs – maybe ones used by children for instance – you (as the licensee) is able to configure it to ensure that kids don’t access inappropriate content.

One can also decide to have some websites, apps, files and folders exempted as shown below: 

Next, let’s look at how Sophos Home compares to other free antivirus solutions in the market:

From the above comparison, Sophos Home is ahead of the competition because of two main reasons – one being that – just as we’d mentioned earlier – it can block inappropriate websites(a functionality which is very key especially when the solution is used to protect multiple PCs, even those used by children) while the second is that unlike the others, it can be used to remotely manage upto 10 computers from a webs browser.

However, one key feature of the antivirus – which can be an advantage as well as a downside depending on how it affects you during usage – is the block websites that have viruses and other threats functionality. Sophos Home will block a ‘clean’ website even if it has no threats unless you exempt it or briefly turn off the block websites feature.

Here is an example: Trying to access http://www.africadigitalbanker.com/ with block websites on:

Then when the feature is briefly deactivated and the site exempted from being blocked via the website exemptions tab:  

But immediately the block websites feature is activated, the site is blocked.

I’m yet to use my license to protect additional machine(s) though.