Microsoft Defender Flags Winaero Tweaker in Windows 10

Today, plenty of users reported that Microsoft has started flagging Winaero Tweaker as PUS (potentially unwanted software). Someone at Microsoft is clearly not happy with the features I've implemented in my app.

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Microsoft Defender now removes the app, with the following clarification:

HackTool:Win32/WinTweak

Winaero Tweaker Flagged By Defender 4 Winaero Tweaker Flagged By Defender 3 Winaero Tweaker Flagged By Defender 2 Winaero Tweaker Flagged By Defender 1

This change made its first appearance with signature definitions version 1.313.1201.0.

Update: The issue seems to be resolved with definition version 1.313.1221.0. Thanks to bleepingcomputer.com for the heads up.
Tweaker Fixed

 

Well, what actually is unwanted software? It is usually apps that change your browser's home page, replace URLs, show ads, or harm the operating system options without user knowledge.

Is anything above true for Winaero Tweaker? Definitely, it is not.

As my app's users already know, Winaero Tweaker doesn't change any setting automatically, or without user confirmation. Also, I do believe that folks who download and use the app, they know what they are doing. There is no chance that Winaero Tweaker will suddenly appear installed on your computer without your request.

Yep, Winaero Tweaker is really a potentially unwanted app. But for Microsoft, not for you or me!

They must be unhappy to see a popular app that allows disabling Defender, Ads, real unwanted apps like Soda Saga and other garbage the OS installs, or Windows Update in Windows 10. They definitely don't want us to use such apps.

Winaero Tweaker 0.16.1 Disable Updates

So, be ready that they will continue to flag it. This situation is not by mistake, this has happened intentionally.

It is always up to you which apps to use. As you may already know, it is possible to tweak Windows 10 without even installing my app. Everything that it does is carefully documented in this blog. There are no secrets behind Winaero apps, any of them.

As for Winaero Tweaker, I personally use it, and is going to continue to enhance it with new options and tweaks. It allows me to regain the flexibility of settings, and restores choices that Microsoft has taken away from users' hands in Windows 10.

It is time to add a link to this post in the FAQ.

Download Winaero Tweaker | The list of Winaero Tweaker features | Winaero Tweaker FAQ

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27 thoughts on “Microsoft Defender Flags Winaero Tweaker in Windows 10

  1. Alexandre Lebrun

    i was surprised to see geting flaged, already whitelisted it.
    why isn’t windows blocking the store from downloading candy crush saga after every update, speaking of unwanted software Edge still can’t be uninstalled from windows even though it is not required : windows 10 LTSB don’t have edge and run just fine.

    I have been dual booting kubuntu for a while now, it’s these kind of reason that make me keep linux when it get so many issue too.

    Reply
  2. Yasin Karaçivi

    Hi, Mr. Tkachenko!
    We are following your software and tweaks with great interest. Microsoft’s blocking of the software does not change anything. If they had done everything right, your tweakers would not be necessary. Don’t worry, we are always with you!

    On the other hand;

    I found a solution for Disabling Immersive Context Menu tweak.
    It works on all Windows 10 versions 1809 and above.
    Maybe you can add it to WinaeroTweaker.

    Download the file in the Google Drive link and follow the instructions.
    Welcome to the Classic Context Menu.

    Google Drive Link:
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1B7Qv4ccxPLUPnKoXCJ8tyAAzUeHCzc10

    Screenshot: (Before & After)
    https://i.imgur.com/yXMMHwr.jpg

    Regards
    Yasin Karaçivi

    Reply
  3. hejden

    I’m trying to report it as a false positive here, but in a typical MS fashion they seem to have an outage:
    https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/wdsi/filesubmission
    I’ll bother their support staff about this, and would suggest others to do the same.

    Reply
    1. SebOno

      I just filed a report and it said it wasn’t malware.

      Reply
    2. hejden

      I got a message that they removed the detection :) Here’s hoping they’re right!

      Reply
      1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

        yep. I’ve updated the post.

        Reply
        1. Geo Graphy

          I found your Winaero Tweaker while searching for a way to have a more readable font in File Explorer. My installation of Windows 10 will not even let me install it. I hope you aare able to get MS to allow your software to work on Windows 10 systems. Good Luck

          Reply
          1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

            What exactly had happened? Could you share more details?

  4. pd

    Don’t let the bastards grind you down Sergey!

    Got ’em all running scared and embarrassed, clearly. A great achievement.

    A bit of old school MS bullying will not change the situation. Tweaker exists because MS gave up on the space. Arguably your tool forced them to pick up the ball by renewing PowerToys which they let rot for so long and failed to keep Tweak UI up to date as well.

    Keep your chin up!

    Reply
  5. Bill Bright

    Just started getting this WD warning today. As a long time Winaero user, I immediately suspected it was a false positive. But to confirm, I ran a manual scan with Malwarebytes Premium. As expected, it found nothing.

    What bothers me is when the program is blocked, it claims it was blocked by the user. I did not block it!

    Generally speaking, I really like Windows Defender. And I really don’t mind that WD tags Winaero. Any decent anti-malware solution should look for any code designed to remove or disable it. But once I white list it, I expect it to stay white listed.

    Reply
  6. Dave

    Thanks for the heads up. As WAT is one of those “set it and forget it” programs and never noticed when the .exe went missing.

    I got no notification and there’s none in the history, but the file was gone when I checked after reading this story [U] on my win 10 pro PC [/U]. I went and checked the win 10 Home PC and the notification was there so I went through the allow/restore/exclude proccess to put it back.

    Reply
  7. Bill Martin

    When I click on your “RECOMMENDED: Click here to fix Windows errors etc”, my BT Virus Protect (powered by McAfee) always comes up with:

    Warning: you could be getting scammed!
    Suspected unsafe site: http://new.incluster.com/4wHwMt?subid2=63mbcf52ib&subid=6133

    This website could be trying to steal your information, install a virus or gain access to your device.

    Could this be what Microsoft is referring to?

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      I don’t think so. Winaero Tweaker doesn’t include any kind of ads, including the link.
      BTW, good point. It is time to review ad policies here.

      Reply
      1. Bill Martin

        Thanks for the enlightenment, Sergey.
        Keep healthy, and Happy Tweaking

        Reply
  8. Paul R

    I allowed the file in windows security, but Win10 still won’t allow me to run the file as it forces a deny on the UAC request. Only way to get it to run is to rightclick on the executable and run with admin privileges. Is there any way to fix this?

    Reply
  9. tinbin

    easy fix lol i removed windows defender

    Reply
  10. Samy

    I just tried to reinstall Winaero Tweaker using Microsoft Defender, no troubles at all !

    Reply
  11. Chrissy Rothgeb

    Looks like they’ve “fixed” the problem as of definitions 1.313.1218.0. I must have skipped the definitions version that was flagging it as malware. Hopefully your article had something to do with it. As an IT admin, I’m always happy to find anything new I can learn about the platform I support on a daily basis, and Winaero has been an awesome source of that information on a daily basis, both the the tool and your newsletters. Keep doing what you’re doing – your efforts are most appreciated!

    Reply
  12. Anonymous

    They should then block also CCleaner and O&O ShutUp 10 etc.

    Reply
  13. Rakib Hasan

    Microsoft is a joking company now. They makes Windows as worst piece of crap. Windows 10 is a diseaster. Windows Defender is a total 3rd clas s**t.

    Reply
  14. Pedro Viegas

    I’m using it and I’ll continue using it.
    Keep up the excelent work tou’re doing, guys.

    Reply
  15. Klaus

    I just got clocked with this nonsense, and in all fairness, they also clocked Win 10 Tweaker.exe on my PC, but left Ultimate Windows Tweaker 4.7.1.exe untouched.
    A big fat SPASIBO to you Sergey for having made and maintaining this exceptional fabulous tool !!!! ( and all the insights in the other malware like FF, Chrome, Edge…)
    After 30+ years in this circus, tools like yours are the Vitamin C for us IT pros not to loose our mind on an almost daily basis. (along with GOD mode and a bootable Linux of course)

    Reply
  16. A. M. LOUID

    Norton 360 flags it too.

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      It also flags AeroRainbow, the app that only changes the window frame color.

      Reply
  17. Colin Johnson

    A similar problem has now occurred with the utility that removes Cortana and Microsoft Edge permanently that Winaero published a while ago. This happened yesterday, the 3rd September 2020. Has this happened to anyone else? Colin Johnson

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      That wimtweak tool constantly gets ‘dislikes’ from various AV engines.
      Well, unlike Winaero Tweaker, it is an open source app. You can grab its sources from MSFN and compile it yourself.

      Reply

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