Change Windows SmartScreen Settings in Windows 10

Windows Defender Secuirty Center Icon Big

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 has added the SmartScreen feature directly to 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 gets 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. Also, it is possible to unblock an unknown downloaded file it if you trust it.

In Windows 10, SmartScreen is enabled for classic Desktop apps, for Edge and for apps from the Store. Here is how to change its settings.

To change SmartScreen settings in Windows 10, do the following.

  1. Open Windows Security (formerly Windows Defender Security Center).  It has an icon in the system tray.
  2.  Click the icon "App & browser control".
  3. Under Check apps and files, select on the following options: Block, Warn (used by default), or Off according to your preferences.
  4. In the UAC confirmation dialog, click on the Yes button.

Setting the option to Block will prevent Windows 10 from running unknown files.

The Warn option will make the OS show a confirmation dialog.

Finally, the Off option will disable Windows SmartScreen.

Also, SmartScreen options can be changed with a Registry tweak. Here is how it can be done.

Configure Windows SmartScreen options with a Registry tweak

  1. Open the Registry Editor app.
  2. Go to the following Registry key.

    See how to go to a Registry key with one click.

  3. On the right, modify or create a new string (REG_SZ) value SmartScreenEnabled. Set it to one of the following values:
    Block - Block any unrecognized app from running.
    Warn - Warn the user before running an unrecognized app (display a confirmation).
    Off - disable the SmartScreen feature.
  4. To make the changes done by the Registry tweak take effect, restart Windows 10.

To save your time, you can download the following Registry files.

Download Registry Files

The archive includes the following tweaks:

  • SmartScreen_Block_unrecognized_apps.reg
  • SmartScreen_Warn_about_unrecognized_apps.reg
  • Disable_SmartScreen.reg

That's it.

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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

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