Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 - support for Sophos products

  • Article ID: 119957
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  • Updated: 24 Apr 2015

This article provides details of the support available for Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 from launch, and what support we will add later in the year.

Applies to the following Sophos product(s) and version(s)
Sophos UTM
Sophos Endpoint Security and Control
Sophos Endpoint Security
Sophos Cloud Managed Endpoint

Operating systems
Windows 8.1
Windows Server 2012 R2

Release of Windows 8.1

Windows 8.1 released by Microsoft on the 18th October 2013, and available as a free download through Windows Update. 

We currently support Windows 8 with our Endpoint products, and recently also added Sophos firewall support for this platform. These products will continue to work on Windows 8.1, but you need to be aware of a change that Microsoft are making within Internet Explorer (IE) v.11 that might affect the protection you receive from web-borne threats.

Important notes on IE Enhanced Protected Mode

  1. In Windows 8 there is a setting for Internet Explorer called “Enhanced Protected Mode”, by default this is 'Off' in Windows 8. If it is enabled on a Windows 8 computer, Sophos web protection capability will not work. The protection offered by Sophos web filtering is superior to that offered by protected mode and so most customers leave it disabled. However, with IE 11, Microsoft have enabled this feature by default. This means that if you are installing onto a Windows 8.1 platform you must turn it off in order to use the Sophos web filtering capability.

  2. If you upgrade from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1, Enhanced Protected Mode will become enabled when the version of IE changes to 11 and your previous settings are changed. If you want to retain the protection offered by the Sophos web filtering feature you must change the setting back to disabled after you have upgraded.

Later this year we will release an update to our Windows endpoint product that will allow web filtering to work for both Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2, regardless of the Enhanced Protected Mode setting.

Release of Windows Server 2012 R2

Windows Server 2012 R2 also released on the 18th October 2013, will also have Enhanced Protected Mode enabled by default, we would expect fewer customers to have any web browsing on their servers. However, you need to be aware of this change and adjust settings accordingly in order to maintain best protection. 

Deployment information

Unfortunately, due to the changes Microsoft have made, following the initial release on the 18th October, you will not, by default, be able to deploy SAV to these platforms from SEC (Sophos Enterprise Console) using the SEC protect computers wizard unless you are running 5.2.1 R2 or above. For upgrade advice, or steps to deploy without upgrading see article 119728.

Important: If you have Windows 8.1 and Windows 2012 R2 computers which you want to discover and deploy endpoint software to, we recommend you upgrade to the latest version of Enterprise Console: check the System requirements article first.

Note: On upgrade to Windows 8.1, existing managed computers that have already reported their operating system to be Windows 8 will continue to stay protected, they will report correctly, and be will be able to be re-protected as and when required.

If you need more information or guidance, then please contact technical support.

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