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 AskStudent IT 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 shown in your system tray


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

    Screenshot showing 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 (30-day free trial—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 If your subscription is out of date, you will need to either renew your subscription or install a free anti-virus.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.

Please see the Wikipedia Comparison of Anti-Virus Software page if you wish to consider alternatives and compare different vendors and products.

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.

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 AskStudent IT:

Tel +64 3 479 5170
Or visit AskStudent IT at the AskOtago Central Hub