SmartScreen Filter in Windows 10

SmartScreen Filter in Windows 10 protects your system from web-based attacks such as phishing, malicious software downloads and drive-by attacks. The filter is built into OS and integrated into Microsoft browsers: Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer 11.

Filter is based on the cloud ranking system from Microsoft, which inspects and evaluates each site you are visiting (URL reputation checks) and all downloaded/executable files (Application Reputation protection). Filter analyze and compare information about a file or website with an existing list of malicious sites and files in database. If file is marked as unsafe or it is not available in the rating base, file downloading or execution will be blocked by SmartScreen Filter.

So, when you will try to download unknown file using IE or Edge, it will be blocked and user will be alerted in that case.

This unsafe download is blocked by SmartScreen Filter:

this unsafe download

If the executable file was downloaded using a different browser or it was copied from another computer, the filter will trigger when you will try to run the file and block its launch.

Tip. One of the drawbacks of the SmartScreen Filter is blocking most of the applications that are not digitally signed.

SmartScreen Filter in Windows 10 is enabled by default, but Administrator can change its settings or turn it off completely. Now let’s take a look on how we can change SmartScreen Filter settings.

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Important Tip. To protect your PC in a better way we do not recommend you to disable SmartScreen at all

Disable SmartScreen using Windows 10 Control Panel

Open classic Control Panel and go to Security and Maintenance. In the left column select Change Windows SmartScreen Settings.

The following options are available:

  • Get Administrator approval before running an unrecognized application from the Internet (recommended)
  • Warn before running an unrecognized app, but don’t require Administrator approval
  • Don’t do anything (turn off Windows SmartScreen)

change smartscreen settings

When SmartScreen filter is disabled, you will get a notification you need to turn it on.

turn on windows smartscreen

To hide the notification click on Turn off messages about Windows SmartScreen.

turn off messages

Configure SmartScreen using Group Policy

You can configure SmartScreen settings in Windows 10 using Group Policy. If you configure local computer, open the Local Group Policy Editor (not available in the Windows 10 Home) by pressing Win + R -> gpedit.msc. Now go to Computer configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> File Explorer and locate the policy Configure Windows SmartScreen.

configure windows smart screen

Enable the policy and select one of three modes:

  • Require approval from Administrator before running downloaded unknown software
  • Give user a warning before running downloaded unknown software
  • Turn off SmartScreen

turn off smart screen

To apply the policy settings, run the command
Gpupdate /force

Tip. If SmartScreen Filter mode set via Group Policy, you can’t change its settings using Control Panel.

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Configure SmartScreen via registry

Also you can change SmartScreen Filter settings using Registry Editor. Run regedit.exe and go to HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer. Locate SmartScreenEnabled parameter.

It can be with different values:

  • RequireAdmin
  • Prompt
  • Off

smart screen enabled

Select the filter mode and then restart computer.

SmartScreen in Windows Store

SmartScreen Filter also analyzes the addresses of sites that are accessed by the Windows 10 Modern Apps. This may block network access to certain applications. In such cases, you should disable the filter for the Windows Store apps.

Go to Settings (Win+I) -> Privacy -> General. Locate and switch off Turn on SmartScreen Filter to check web content (URLs) that Windows Store apps use.

turn on smart screen

You can make the same action using registry. Go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ and create new DWORD (32-bit) parameter (name EnableWebContentEvaluation and value 0).

SmartScreen in Microsoft Edge browser

Microsoft Edge browser also has a separate settings for SmartScreen Filter. To disable it, go to Preferences (the button in the upper right corner of your browser).

Click on the Advanced Settings and turn off Help protect me from malicious sites and downloads with SmartScreen Filter.

advanced settings windows 10

To perform the same action via registry, navigate to the following key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\AppContainer\Storage\microsoft.microsoftedge_8wekyb3d8bbwe\MicrosoftEdge\PhishingFilter and create DWORD parameter with name EnabledV9 and value 0.

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SmartScreen in Internet Explorer

You can also disable SmartScreen Filter in Internet Explorer. To do that:

  1. Open Internet Explorer
  2. Click on the little gear on top left corner and expand Safety section
  3. Click on the menu item Turn Off SmartScreen
    edge turn off smartscreen
  4. Then select the option to turn it off and click OK

ms smartscreen filter

To disable SmartScreen Filter in Internet Explorer via registry, execute following command:
REG ADD “HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\PhishingFilter” /v EnabledV9 /t REG_DWORD /d 0 /f

phishing filter

So, in this article we took a look on how to control SmartScreen Filter settings in Windows 10. Hope it was useful for you, guys!

Cyril Kardashevsky

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