Anyone who is running Windows will run into SmartScreen at one point or another, just as they will run into UAC prompts and other confirmation/security dialogues placed by Microsoft to protect the average person from damaging their computer. The SmartScreen is just another security filter that is supposed to keep malware and unwanted files from infecting your computer but the utility can also be a righteous pain. Disabling or changing its behavior are both pretty easy tasks so here are three different ways of managing the filter’s settings.
1) The Control Panel
This the easiest method as it is available to everyone and requires no knowledge whatsoever. However, you may find that the settings here are managed by your system’s administrator and you will not be able to change anything.
- Open your Start Menu, type SmartScreen and click on the Control Panel item. In Windows 10, the first result will direct you to the Settings app where the only setting you can alter refers to the screening of Windows Store URLs, not exactly what we are looking for.
- Back to the Control Panel’s Security and Maintenance screen, click on the “Change Windows SmartScreen settings” link from the left sidebar.
- Choose a new option for SmartScreen. The top setting, with which SmartScreen pops out a warning that requires an administrator’s approval, is the default one. The second option will still give you a warning but anyone can confirm it and the last one will disable SmartScreen for good.
2) The Registry Editor
The Registry is available to everyone and it is a fantastic way of forcing changes into effect. Just remember to follow the steps below carefully and back up anything you modify.
- Press the WinKey to open your Start menu, type exe and press Enter.
- Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer.
- Open the String Value named SmartScreenEnabled.
- Change the value to one of the following:
RequireAdmin (SmartScreen will show a prompt and will require an administrator to approve it.)
Prompt (SmartScreen will just pop out a message that anyone can confirm.)
Off (SmartScreen will never bother you again.)
3) The Local Group Policy Editor
This method is only available to users of Pro and higher editions of Windows.
- Type msc in your Start menu and press Enter.
- Go to Computer Configuration > Windows Components > File Explorer.
- Double-click on the “Configure Windows SmartScreen” setting.
- Change the status to “Enabled” and choose an option from the dropdown menu.
- Click on OK to save your settings and close any remaining open windows.