The Microsoft Defender SmartScreen filter in Windows 10 helps protect your computer from phishing and malware on the websites you browse and the apps you use. It can be used as an early warning system to let users know if a certain site is suspicious or if they cannot find the downloaded file in their list of security software programs.
Rcommends keeping SmartScreen “always on” because this is the easiest way to protect your device from undetectable threats. But sometimes you may want to temporarily disable this setting to download games or applications that you know are safe but are marked by SmartScreen. The following guide shows how to disable the SmartScreen filter in Windows 10.
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 this link.
Using App & Browser Control
The easiest way to disable the SmartScreen filter is to use the system settings menu called “Browser and Application Control”, which can be accessed from the “Start” menu.
The options of SmartScreen are highlighted as “On” on the corresponding page. You only need to “turn it off” to disable Windows Defender SmartScreen.
You will receive a Windows Defender alert: “Windows Defender SmartScreen is off. Your device may be vulnerable.” If you want to install unknown files, you can choose to disable the prompt and temporarily change the symbol from “Warning” to “close”.
Also check the radio button under “Check apps and files”, which has two options: “Warning” or “Block.” If you select “Warning”, SmartScreen will warn you when you try to open an unrecognized file or application.
If you select “Block”, SmartScreen will display a warning message and block the execution of the file or application.
Using Group Policy Editor
In addition to the simple default methods mentioned above, we will also explore some system or network administrator methods to replace access to Windows Defender SmartScreen.
For system or network administrators, Windows has a specific policy setting in Group Policy Editor that can quickly disable the SmartScreen filter in Windows 10.
1. Open Group Policy Editor by searching for “gpedit.msc” in the Start menu. In the Policy Editor, go to “Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> File Explorer.”
2. Find and double-click on the “Configure Windows Defender SmartScreen” policy.
3. In the policy settings window, configure it as follows:
- To disable the SmartScreen filter, select the radio option “Disabled.”
- To enable the SmartScreen filter, select “Enabled” and either select “Warn” or “Warn and prevent bypass” under the Options section.
To make the changes take effect, restart your system or execute the
gpupdate /force command as admin.
Using Registry Editor
Windows 10 home users will not have access to the Group Policy Editor. However, you can use Registry Editor to disable the SmartScreen filter. You just need to create some values. Before editing the registry, make a backup copy.
1. Search for “regedit” in the Start menu and open it as an administrator. Go to the following location.
To disable the SmartScreen filter, create a new DWORD value by selecting “New” and then “DWORD (32-bit) Value.”
Name the value as “EnableSmartScreen.” Double-click on the newly created value and set its Value Data as “0.”
3. To enable the SmartScreen filter, first set the Value Data of “EnableSmartScreen” as “1.”
4. Now you need to set the SmartScreen blocking level. For that, right-click on the right panel and select “New -> String Value.” Name the value as “ShellSmartScreenLevel.”
5. Double-click on the new string value and set either “Warn” or “Block” as the value data.
- Warn: shows a warning message, but you can bypass it.
- Block: shows a warning message and blocks you from running the app or file.
When finished, restart the system and you can start.
Here, we have seen various ways to disable Windows Defender SmartScreen in rare cases, when you might want to download a marked file or application.
Want to learn more about how Windows Defender protects your PC? You will find that it is comparable to the best antivirus software on the market. In addition, it will not overload your system resources because it is built into the operating system. Therefore, we recommend keeping SmartScreen turned on at all times.