Is your SmartScreen Filter turned off? Or do you get the message SmartScreen Filter cannot check this website? If that is so, this post will show you how to enable or disable SmartScreen Filter on Windows 11/10/8/7 using the UI, Group Policy or Registry Editor.
For those who don’t know what SmartScreen is, it is a feature that helps detect phishing websites, and can also help protect you from installing malicious software or malware. So whenever you encounter a suspicious site, a warning will be displayed on the browser window to notify the user about the site’s nature and whether the user trusts the site owner/publisher to continue further on the URL provided.
Read: SmartScreen filter warning messages explained.
Enable or Disable SmartScreen Filter
Now let us see how to enable or disable the SmartScreen Filter on Windows 11/10 using the UI, Group Policy or Registry Editor.
Turn on or Turn off SmartScreen Filter using UI
Via Windows Security
You can open Windows Security > App & browser control. To turn it off for Apps, under Reputation-based protection, you will see the following 3 options:
- Check apps and files
- SmartScreen for Microsoft Edge
- SmartScreen for Microsoft Store apps.
You can toggle the switch to the On or Off positions as required.
Do note that when you do this, you leave your computer vulnerable.
Via Microsoft Edge
Open Microsoft Edge browser > Settings > Privacy & Services.
Here toggle the Microsoft Defender SmartScreen switch to the Off or On position as required.
Via Internet Properties
You can also open Internet Options/Properties. Go to the Advanced tab and scroll down for Security Category. There if you want to enable/disable the feature, you can accordingly check the box captioned “Enable SmartScreen Filter” then press OK.
Now after you enable the feature, every time you encounter a suspicious URL it will display a message.
If you don’t want to use this feature, you can just uncheck the checkbox to disable the same, but it’s highly recommended since phishing attacks are increasing day by day, increasing the potential threat to confidential information of email accounts.
TIP: You can also quickly bypass SmartScreen filter and download files, without turning off SmartScreen Filter.
SmartScreen Filter is turned off
If your SmartScreen is turned off or you receive the message that it is disabled by an administrator, then follow these steps.
Enable or Turn on SmartScreen Filter using Group Policy
Run gpedit.msc to open the Group Policy Editor and navigate to the following setting:
Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > File Explorer
In the right pane, double-click on Configure Windows SmartScreen to change its settings. In recent Windows 10 versions, it is called Configure Windows Defender SmartScreen.
This policy setting allows you to manage the behavior of Windows SmartScreen. Windows SmartScreen helps keep PCs safer by warning users before running unrecognized programs downloaded from the Internet. Some information is sent to Microsoft about files and programs run on PCs with this feature enabled. If you enable this policy setting, Windows SmartScreen behavior may be controlled by setting one of the following options: Require approval from an administrator before running downloaded unknown software, Give user a warning before running downloaded unknown software or Turn off SmartScreen. If you disable or do not configure this policy setting, Windows SmartScreen behavior is managed by administrators on the PC by using Windows SmartScreen Settings in Action Center.
Read: How to disable SmartScreen for Microsoft Store apps.
Enable SmartScreen Filter using Registry Editor
Run regedit to open the Registry Editor and navigate to the following key:
In the right pane, you may find DWORD value EnableSmartScreen. Delete this DWORD.
The values for this key are as follows:
- 0 : To turn off SmartScreen
- 1 : Give the user a warning before running downloaded unknown software
- 2 : Require approval from an administrator before running downloaded unknown software.
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