SafeGuard Device Encryption: Hotkeys and the POA

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Certain hardware settings and how it functions can lead to problems when starting endpoint computers, causing the system to hang or peripherals to stop working. The Power-on Authentication supports a number of hotkeys for modifying these hardware settings and deactivating their function. Furthermore, gray and black lists covering functions known to cause problems are integrated in the .msi file installed on the computer. 

This article provides information on the Sophos SafeGuard Device Encryption hotkeys.

Applies to the following Sophos product(s) and version(s)
Sophos Disk Encryption 5.61.0
SafeGuard Device Encryption

See the following knowledgebase articles for further information:


You can activate the hotkey mode at POA level during the computer's "Power On Self Test" and before “Sophos SafeGuard is starting” is displayed, as follows:

  • Start the computer.
  • Before the "Power On Self Test" (POST) has finished, you must press and hold the "Left Shift" key.
  • When the message "Shift key has been pressed. Waiting for Hotkey..." is displayed, press the hotkey of your choice. Usually, you must press the required key within 5 seconds.


Sophos SafeGuard is starting.

Please wait.....

Shift key has been pressed. Waiting for Hotkey....


After pressing one of the hotkeys (F3, F4, F5, F6, F7, F9) a message is shown on the screen that confirms that the hotkey has been accepted. Only one hotkey can be activated for each reboot.


Example (in this case F9 was chosen):

Sophos SafeGuard is starting.

Please wait.....

Shift key has been pressed. Waiting for Hotkey....

Toggle ACPI/APIC Support!


Depending on the pressed hotkey the following messages are shown on the screen to confirm success or not.

Shift F3 = Toggle USB Legacy Support!

Shift F4 = Toggle display resolution!

Shift F5 = Starting alternative USB Kernel!

Shift F6 = Toggle ATA compatibility mode!

Shift F7 = Toggle USB 2.0 Support!

Shift F9 = Toggle ACPI/APIC Support!

Available hotkeys 

The following hotkeys are available at POA (Power On Authentication): 

  • Shift F3 = switch USB Legacy support (Off/On)*
  • Shift F4 = toggle from VESA to VGA graphics mode (Off/On)*
  • Shift F5 = switch USB support (Off/On)*
  • Shift F6 = switch from ATA to Int13 (Off/On)*
  • Shift F7 = switch USB 2.0 support (Off/On)*
  • Shift F9 = switch ACPI/APIC (Off/On)*

* The bold marked option is the default value.

Function keys in the logon screen

When the POA logon screen is shown the following function keys are available:

  • F2 = Cancel autologon
  • F5 = Shows the currently active values of the hotkeys.  


  • F8 = Change password in POA
  • Left Shift + left Alt = switch keyboard layout (US/DE...)

Configuring hotkeys during installation

In a roll-out scenario these settings can be applied during the installation.  This can be done by using either an MST file (a package manipulation or transform for the main Windows installer) which is applied, or the right parameter in combination with msiexec.exe).

Possible parameters (can be found in the 'Property' table of the MSI package):

  • NOLEGACY=(0/1)
  • NOVESA=(0/1)
  • ALTERNATE=(0/1)
  • NOATA= (0/1)
  • NOUSB20=(0/1)
  • ACPIAPIC=(0/1)

It is also possible to use the command line options at installation time for example to install the client in VGA mode (POA). Example:

  • msiexec /i SGNClient_x64.msi novesa=1

Wenn Sie weitere Informationen oder Unterstützung benötigen, wenden Sie sich bitte an den technischen Support.

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