Windows Defender SmartScreen is a Windows security feature that was first introduced in Internet Explorer 8, mainly to protect your system from malicious entities that are spread through the internet. The feature now comes built into Windows 10 and is more advanced. The SmartScreen feature is responsible for showing the ‘Windows protected your PC’ error message.
Why Does the ‘Windows Protected Your PC’ Message Appear?
Windows Defender SmartScreen runs in the background and monitors the execution of apps and websites to determine if they pose any threat. Every time you download and try to run a program, the feature gathers information about the program and sends the data to Microsoft servers where it is analyzed and compared with a huge database of malicious apps.
The server then responds, and if the feedback is negative, SmartScreen blocks the app from running, hence the error message, ‘Windows protected your PC’. While this is an important feature that helps to protect your system against malware, the warning messages can be annoying.
If you’re an advanced user, you know what’s safe and what isn’t with regards to downloading and installing apps. Therefore, you don’t necessarily need the SmartScreen filter. If you want to disable the SmartScreen feature in Windows 10, then you’re on the right page. This post shows you how to deal with ‘Windows protected your PC’ warnings and stop them from popping up when you’re about to run an app.
How to Remove/Turn Off “Windows Protected Your PC”?
You can bypass the SmartScreen feature to be able to run unrecognized apps on your PC. The feature is enabled by default, and if you’re a novice Windows user, we advise against turning it off.
Using Windows Defender
- Open the “Settings” app by pressing the Windows Key+I simultaneously.
- Type Windows security in the search box.
- Select “Windows Defender settings” from the results.
- On the right pane, under “Windows Security”, go to “App & browser control”.
- Under the “Check apps and files” section, you’ll notice that Windows Defender SmartScreen is, by default, set to “Warn”. Click the “Off” button to disable it.
If you select “Block”, SmartScreen prevents the app from running and a warning message pops up. On the other hand, the “Warn” option allows you to choose whether or not to allow the app to run on your system.
Choose the “Off” button under “SmartScreen for Microsoft Edge” and “SmartScreen for Microsoft Store apps” as well.
Using Group Policy
- Press the Windows Key+R, and type gpedit.msc in the “Run” dialog box.
- Follow this path: Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > File Explorer.
- Find and double-click the “Configure Windows Defender SmartScreen” policy.
- Click on “Disabled” to turn off SmartScreen for all users. When you open the “Configure Windows Defender SmartScreen” window, you will notice that the “Not configured” option is the default selection. This means that SmartScreen is enabled by default for all users.
- Restart your computer to effect the changes.
Using Registry Editor
If you’re using Windows 10 Home, you won’t have access to the Group Policy Editor. However, you can use the Registry Editor to disable SmartScreen. As a general rule, you need to be careful when making changes to the registry because one mistake may render your whole system useless.
For this reason, always back up the Registry before making any changes.
To disable SmartScreen:
- Press the Windows Key+R, and type regedit in the “Run” dialog box.
- Follow this path: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\System
- Right-click on an empty space on the right pane, and select New > DWORD (32-bit) Value.
- Assign “EnableSmartScreen” to the new value.
- Double-click the new value you just created and set the “Value Data” as “0”. The default value is “1”.
- Restart your PC to effect the changes.
- If you don’t find the path above, try the following path: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer
- When you click on “Explorer”, you’ll see a list of keys on the right pane. Find “SmartScreenEnabled”. By default, the key should be set to “RequireAdmin”.
- Double-click the key, and set it to “Off”.
Turn Off SmartScreen in Microsoft Edge
- Launch Microsoft Edge and open the “Menu”.
- Select Settings > Privacy & security.
- Scroll down to the end of the page to find “Windows Defender SmartScreen”. Click to toggle the button to “Off”.
That’s it! The SmartScreen pop-up messages will no longer bother you after applying the tips above.
In this age of advanced malware attacks, we always recommend Windows users to install Auslogics Anti-Malware, a powerful tool that will help to protect your system against malicious files, apps, and websites.
Hackers are now developing sophisticated entities that can bypass your system’s antivirus. That’s why it’s crucial to add an extra layer of security to block malicious items from infecting your system and causing irreversible damage.
Auslogics Anti-Malware is always updated to prevent new malware from penetrating the tight perimeter wall that it sets around your computer. This is an intelligent tool that works hand-in-hand with your built-in antivirus, giving you peace of mind, 24/7.
Be sure to keep the Auslogics Anti-Malware software up to date to guarantee 100 percent protection.
Did the above steps on how to turn off ‘Windows protected your PC’ messages work? If you have any questions or you need further assistance, please don’t hesitate to post your concerns in the comments section below.