How to disable Windows SmartScreen in Windows 10

The SmartScreen filter is a technology which was initially designed for Internet Explorer to protect users from malicious websites and web applications. It was integrated with IE8 and IE9 (as the successor to IE7's Phishing filter). Starting with Windows 8, Microsoft implemented Internet Explorer's SmartScreen feature directly into the operating system so files are screened for being potentially harmful.


If enabled, the Windows SmartScreen filter sends information about every application you download and run to Microsoft’s servers, where that information will be analyzed and compared with their malicious apps database. If Windows get a negative feedback about the app from the server, it will prevent you from running the app. Over time, the reputation of apps builds up in their database. However, there is an annoyance: if the SmartScreen filter does not find any info for an app you just downloaded - it will prevent you from running the apps, annoying you with messages like "Windows protected your PC by preventing this potentially malicious app from running" and so on. These messages besides the fact that Microsoft will know everything about what you run and install, make the SmartScreen filter less desirable for many users. Let's see how to disable SmartScreen in Windows 10.

Note: for files downloaded with Edge in Windows 10, you need to disable Smart Screen explicitly in the browser as described here:

Disable Smart Screen for Edge downloads in Windows 10

You need to do the following.

  1. Open the Control Panel. See all ways to open Control Panel in Windows 10.
  2. Navigate to Control Panel\System and Security\Action Center. In the left pane, you will see the "Change Windows SmartScreen settings" link. Click it. Windows 10 action center
  3. The following window will appear on the screen: Windows 10 disable smartscreen filter
  4. Set the option "Don't do anything (turn off Windows SmartScreen)" as shown in red above and click OK.

That's it. Windows SmartScreen is turned off now.
You can also turn off messages about Windows SmartScreen if you prefer to forget completely about its existence.

18 thoughts on “How to disable Windows SmartScreen in Windows 10

  1. throkr

    “….. These messages besides the fact that Microsoft will know everything about what you run and install, make the SmartScreen filter less desirable for many users …..”
    “You can also turn off messages about Windows SmartScreen if you prefer to forget completely about its existence”

    That’s exactly what I did since I began to use Windows 8 …
    Yet another MS spy less ! ;-)

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      Yeah, indeed

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

      Reply
    2. David Liell

      This did not work for me. Any other suggestions

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

      Reply
  2. Anarhija

    the problem I’m having is that even tho I AM the admin, it tells me only the admin can change it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      Did you apply some group policy tweak? Maybe you are in a corporate domain?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
    2. Kalamadea

      I do get this problem as well but it’s been a problem since Windows Vista, I’m not sure what causes it.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  3. Clint

    so ive turned smartscreen off, but every time I try to download a file from a website Cheathappens.com it still blocks it?

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

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    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      It is probably Defender, not Smart Screen

      Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

      Reply
    2. Kevin

      YES! I’ve been fighting with this as well for a week now. I’ve turned off SmartScreen, still can’t download. I’ve turned it off at every level, for both apps and security, saved, restarted, double-checked that it’s off, and STILL can’t download what I want. I appreciate the warning from SmartScreen, but as a user, we should be able to CHOOSE to bypass the warning and continue on with our business. I’ve been on Windows 10 for a couple of months and this was not a problem in the beginning. Just started last week or so. SmartScreen Filter is the guest that WILL NOT LEAVE. Ha!

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

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  4. Ben G.

    I have the same problem that Kevin just had. I am more of a veteran to windows 10, and got it the day it came out. It just started today to block the downloads of word documents from google drive, word documents that I uploaded and DIDNT ATACH ANY VIRUSES TO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Even after I turned off or disabled every single findable windows smart screen filter, I CANT DOWNLOAD ANYTHING!!!! I Why today does windows have to disrupt my education!?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  5. KorVet

    I have the same problem as Kevin and Ben G.: SmartScreen will not go away! Tried all the same stuff and no results. This needs to get to Microsoft somehow but I don’t know how to do that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    1. Cme

      Internet explorer:-Internet options, advanced, untick ‘enable smart screen filter’, click apply.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

      Reply
      1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

        This will not disable the system-wide smart screen feature.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

        Reply
        1. Cme

          I turned off smart screen as in above article but that didn’t solve the problem. Going into Internet options did. I haven’t had a download blocked since.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

          Reply
  6. Abtin

    I believe I found the solution:
    1. Click on More (triple dots) at the top right in Microsoft Edge
    2. Click on Settings
    3. Scroll down to the bottom and click on “View Advanced Options”
    4. Scroll down to the bottom and turn off “Help protect me from malicious sites and downloads with SmartFilter”

    Worked for me… Hoped I helped you

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 0

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    1. amirul

      DUDE THANK YOU YOUR A LEGEND!!!!!!!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

      Reply
    2. Mateusz

      YESSS! It’s working – thank you Abtin!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      Reply
    3. Travis

      This worked for me as well. Thank you!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      Reply

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