How to Turn On or Off "Windows SmartScreen" in Windows 8 and 8.1


information   Information
What this feature does

Windows SmartScreen, like the SmartScreen Filter in Internet Explorer, helps keep your PC safe by checking downloaded files and web content within apps to help protect you from malicious software and potentially unsafe web content. Before an unknown or potentially unsafe downloaded file is opened, Windows will display a warning. If SmartScreen detects potentially unsafe web content in an app, Windows will display a warning in place of the content.

Information collected, processed, or transmitted
If you choose to use Windows SmartScreen to check downloaded files, Windows sends information to the SmartScreen online service This information might include a file name, file identifier (“hash”), and digital certificate information along with standard PC information and the Windows SmartScreen filter version number. To help protect your privacy, the information sent to Microsoft is encrypted via SSL.

If you choose to use Windows SmartScreen to block potentially unsafe content in apps, Windows sends information to the SmartScreen online service including the addresses and types of content that some Windows Store apps access when you use them. In response, the online service tells your PC whether the content has been reported to Microsoft as unsafe or suspicious. Reports sent to Microsoft include information such as the name or identifier of the app and the full addresses of web content accessed by the app.

To help protect your privacy, the information sent to Microsoft is encrypted. Information that might be associated with a webpage accessed inside an app, such as search terms, might be included in the address sent to Microsoft. For example, if you look up a word in a dictionary app, the word you look up might be sent to Microsoft as part of the full address accessed by the app. Microsoft filters these addresses to try to remove personal information where possible.

Windows generates a number called a globally unique identifier (GUID) that is sent to Microsoft with each report. The GUID lets us determine which data is sent from a particular computer over time. The GUID doesn’t contain any personal information.


Use of information

Microsoft uses the information described above to provide warnings to you about potentially unsafe downloaded files and content within apps. For example, if SmartScreen detects a potential threat inside an app that supports SmartScreen, Windows will display a warning in place of the content. We also use the information to improve SmartScreen and other products and services. Microsoft doesn’t use the information to target advertising to you.

For more information, see: Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 privacy statement - Microsoft Windows


This tutorial will show you how to turn Windows SmartScreen on or off in Windows 8, Windows RT, Windows 8.1, and Windows RT 8.1.

You must be signed in as an administrator to be able to do the steps in this tutorial.

Note   Note
If you allow a downloaded program that has been filtered by Windows SmartScreen to Run Anyway, then this specific downloaded program will always be allowed to run without getting a SmartScreen warning message for it again afterwards. If you were to download the same program again and try to run it, then you would get a SmartScreen warning message again since it's a new download.


EXAMPLE: A "Windows SmartScreen" Warning Message

Click image for larger versionClick image for larger version








OPTION ONE
To Turn SmartScreen On or Off using Control Panel

1.
Open the Control Panel (icons view), and click/tap on the Action Center icon.

2. In the left pane of Action Center, click/tap on the Change Windows SmartScreen settings link. (see screenshot below)

Click image for larger version


3. If prompted by UAC, then click/tap on Yes.


4. Select (dot) the option for how you want Windows SmartScreen to handle unrecognized programs, then click/tap on OK. (see screenshot below)
NOTE: The default option is to Get administrator approval before running an unrecognized app from the internet.


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5. When finished, you can close the Action Center if you like.





OPTION TWO
Turn On or Off SmartScreen Filter using a REG File Download


Note   Note
This option does the same as OPTION ONE above, but just using a .reg file to set Windows SmartScreen instead.


The .reg files below are for the registry key and value below.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer

SmartScreenEnabled String Value

RequireAdmin = Get administrator approval before running an unrecognized app from the internet
Prompt = Warn before running an unrecognized app, but don't require administrator approval
Off = Don't do anything


1. Do step 2, 3, or 4 below for what you would like to do.

2. To Set SmartSceen to "Get administrator approval before running an unrecognized app from the internet"
NOTE: This is the default setting.

A) Click/tap on the Download button below to download the .reg file below, and go to step 5 below.

Set_SmartScreen_to_get_administrator_approval.reg



download
3. To Set SmartSceen to "Warn before running an unrecognized app, but don't require administrator approval"

A) Click/tap on the Download button below to download the .reg file below, and go to step 5 below.

Set_SmartScreen_to_Warn.reg



download
4. To Turn Off SmartSceen to "Don't do anything"

A) Click/tap on the Download button below to download the .reg file below, and go to step 5 below.

Turn_SmartScreen_Off.reg



download
5. Save the .reg file to your desktop.

6. Double click/tap on the downloaded .reg file to merge it.

7. If prompted, click/tap on Run, Yes (UAC), Yes, and OK to approve the merge.

8. When finished, you can delete the downloaded .reg file if you like.





OPTION THREE
To Force a Windows SmartScreen Setting in Group Policy


Note   Note
This option will allow you to specify and force a Windows SmartScreen setting that cannot be changed using OPTION ONE or OPTION TWO above.

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1. Open the Local Group Policy Editor.

2. If prompted by UAC, then click/tap on Yes.

3. In the left pane, click on to expand Computer Configuration, Administrative Templates, Windows Components, and open File Explorer. (see screenshot below)

Click image for larger version

4. In the right pane of File Explorer, double click/tap on Configure Windows SmartScreen to edit it. (see screenshot above)

5. Do step 6, 7, 8, or 9 below for what you would like to do. (see screenshot below)

Click image for larger version

6. To Allow OPTION ONE and OPTION TWO to change SmartScreen Settings

A) Select (dot) Disabled or Not Configured, click/tap on OK, and go to step 10 below. (see screenshot below step 5)
NOTE: Not Configured is the default setting.

7. To Force SmartScreen to Require Approval from Admin before Running

A) Select (dot) Enabled, select Require approval from an administrator before running downloaded unknown software under Options, click/tap on OK, and go to step 10 below. (see screenshot below step 5)

8. To Force SmartScreen to Warn User before Running

A) Select (dot) Enabled, select Give user a warning before running downloaded unknown software under Options, click/tap on OK, and go to step 10 below. (see screenshot below step 5)


9. To Force SmartScreen to be Turned Off

A) Select (dot) Enabled, select Turn off SmartScreen under Options, click/tap on OK, and go to step 10 below. (see screenshot below step 5)

10. You can now close the Local Group Policy Editor window if you like.





OPTION FOUR
To Force a Windows SmartScreen Setting using a REG File


Note   Note
This option does the same thing as OPTION THREE above, and will allow you to specify and force a Windows SmartScreen setting that cannot be changed using OPTION ONE or OPTION TWO above.

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The .reg files below are for the registry key and value below.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\System

EnableSmartScreen
DWORD

delete = Default
0 = Disable (turn off)
1 = Warn user before running
2 = Require admin approval before running


1. Do step 2 ,3, 4, or 5 below for what you would like to do.

2. To Allow OPTION ONE and OPTION TWO to change SmartScreen Settings
NOTE: This is the default setting.

A) Click/tap on the Download button below to download the file below, and go to step 6 below.

Default_SmartScreen.reg

download

3. To Force SmartScreen to Require Approval from Admin before Running

A) Click on the Download button below to download the file below, and go to step 6 below.

Force_SmartScreen_Get_administrator_approval_before_running.reg

download

4. To Force SmartScreen to Warn User before Running

A) Click on the Download button below to download the file below, and go to step 6 below.

Force_SmartScreen_Warn_before_running.reg

download

5. To Force SmartScreen to be Turned Off

A) Click on the Download button below to download the file below, and go to step 6 below.

Force_Turn_Off_SmartScreen.reg

download

6. Save the .reg file to your desktop.

7. Double click/tap on the downloaded .reg file to merge it.

8. If prompted, click/tap on Run, Yes (UAC), Yes, and OK to approve the merge

9. When finished, you can delete the downloaded .reg file if you like.





That's it,
Shawn