Windows 10 May 2020 Update, also known as Windows 10 2004, introduced a new potentially unwanted app protection in Microsoft Defender. Microsoft kept that setting off by default, allowing users to decide whether to use it or not. Now Microsoft announced that it is enabling potentially unwanted app protection for Windows 10, Windows 11, and Microsoft Edge users.
Potentially unwanted apps (PUA) are not necessarily malware because they do not cause direct harm to your system or files as, for example, ransomware does. According to Microsoft, potentially unwanted apps are programs that slow down your computer, inject ads, install additional annoying software, crypto miners, etc. In other words, PUA is any app that you would not install on your system intentionally, hence the name "unwanted apps." Besides detecting unwanted apps on your system, Microsoft Defender can spot and remove downloads that contain PUAs.
Although Microsoft has already enabled potentially unwanted apps protection in Microsoft Defender, users have an option to disable it (there are separate controls for apps and downloads in Edge). Because PUA by definition includes some apps that users might consider safe and useful (crypto miners, torrent clients, bundled software), Microsoft allows whitelisting specific programs to prevent false positives. You can learn how to turn off potentially unwanted app protection in Microsoft Defender in a dedicated post.
It is good to see Microsoft finally enabling PUA protection by default for all users. New policies will help less-proficient users avoid adware and other potentially harmful apps that slow down computers and cause a bad user experience. Maybe your relatives and friends will no longer bother you with requests to fix their slow PCs full of banners and registry cleaners.
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