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The Microsoft Defender SmartScreen filter in Windows helps protect your PC from phishing and malware on the websites you browse and the applications you use.
Note: even if you don’t want to run such an unknown file through SmartScreen, before downloading, you can check for potential malware online at VirusTotal.What Is the SmartScreen Filter?
SmartScreen works as an early warning system to let a user know whether a site or app is suspicious or a downloaded file wasn’t found in its list of safe software programs. It essentially uses a big database of whitelisted and blacklisted sites to analyze whether a given thing is safe to open.
Overall, SmartScreen is a handy security layer that you’re better off leaving on. However, there may be times when it’s getting in the way of you visiting sites or downloading things that you know are safe but just haven’t been verified by SmartScreen. At times like these, you should turn SmartScreen off.Windows Security Settings
The easiest way to disable the SmartScreen filter is to use a system settings menu called “App & Browser Control,” which can be accessed from the Start menu. To do this, follow the steps below:
Once you are in “Settings,” tap “Privacy & Security,” then “Windows Security.”
We don’t recommend switching off all SmartScreen filters. Just switch off the one that’s getting in your way at that moment, do what you need to do, then switch it back on.
Once you’ve switched off SmartScreen, you will get an alert by Windows Defender: “Your device may be vulnerable.”Using Microsoft Edge
If you specifically want to turn off SmartScreen for sites in Microsoft Edge, you can also switch off SmartScreen directly through the browser.
Open “Privacy, search and services” on the left, then scroll down to the “Security” section on the right, where you will find the option to switch off “Microsoft Defender SmartScreen.”Using Group Policy Editor
For system or network administrators, Windows has a specific policy setting within the Group Policy editor to quickly disable the SmartScreen filter in Windows.
To make the changes take effect, restart your system.Using Registry Editor
You can also use the Registry Editor to disable the SmartScreen filter. You just have to create a couple of values.
Note: it is important to keep in mind that making incorrect changes to the registry entries can result in system malfunctions. To prevent this, we recommend that you create a restore point and back it up before following the steps below.
Search for regedit in the “Start menu” and open it as an administrator.
Go to the following location or simply copy and paste the address shown below:
Close the Registry Editor and restart your computer to apply the changes.
Note: while “Warn” shows a warning message that you can bypass, “Block” displays a warning message that blocks you from running the app or file.
Do you want to know more about how Windows Defender is protecting your PC? We have a writeup of how it stacks up against other antivirus software (spoiler: pretty well). Also, check out our guide on how to capture a scrolling screenshot in Windows.Frequently Asked Questions Can I selectively disable the SmartScreen Filter for certain websites or apps?
No, the SmartScreen Filter is a system-wide setting in Windows 11 and cannot be selectively disabled for specific websites or apps.Will disabling the SmartScreen Filter affect my browsing speed or performance?
Disabling the SmartScreen Filter is unlikely to have a significant impact on your browsing speed or performance. However, it may make your device more vulnerable to malicious attacks, so it is important to be cautious when browsing the Internet.Will disabling the SmartScreen Filter affect other security features in Windows?
Disabling the SmartScreen Filter should not affect other security features in Windows, but it is still recommended that you keep all security features enabled for maximum protection.Are there any other security features in Windows 11 that I can use instead of the SmartScreen Filter?
Yes, Windows 11 has several other built-in security features, such as Windows Defender, Firewall, and Device Encryption, that can help protect your device and data from malicious attacks. It is recommended that you keep these features enabled for maximum protection.
As a technophile, Farhad has spent the last decade getting hands-on experience with a variety of electronic devices, including smartphones, laptops, accessories, wearables, printers, and so on. When he isn’t writing, you can bet he’s devouring information on products making their market foray, demonstrating his unquenchable thirst for technology.
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