[Fix] Can’t Change SmartScreen Filter Settings in Windows 8 and Later
This tutorial will help you in 2 ways:
- For troubleshooting SmartScreen settings issues in Windows 8/8.1
- For restricting users from changing SmartScreen settings in Windows 8/8.1
"SmartScreen" filter is a new feature present in Windows 8 and later operating systems to provide better security to Windows users. Actually this feature was introduced in Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) web browser. SmartScreen filter automatically checks files for malicious content and warns users if it finds something suspicious.
Windows allows users to customize SmartScreen filter settings using Action Center. You can turn SmartScreen filter on or off according to your requirements using simple steps mentioned in following tutorial:
But sometimes users are not able to change SmartScreen filter settings in Windows. Whenever they try to open SmartScreen filter settings window, they find all options are grayed out i.e. cannot be changed as shown in following screenshot:
Since all options are disabled, users can't change SmartScreen filter settings. Recently we received a comment from an AskVG reader "Abhishek" regarding similar issue:
I have Windows 8.1 Pro but the problem is that I can't enable or disable "Windows Smart Screen" feature. I have downloaded and installed various registry editor tweaks from web for solving the problem but the problem was not solved. Please help me.
Actually it happens when a restriction is set in Windows to restrict users from changing SmartScreen filter settings. The restriction might be set by Administrator or a 3rd party software accidentally.
If you are also facing this problem, following simple steps will help you in fixing this issue:
You can enable customization of SmartScreen filter settings using any of following 2 ways:
- METHOD 1: Using Group Policy Editor (gpedit.msc)
- METHOD 2: Using Registry Editor (regedit)
METHOD 1: Using Group Policy Editor (gpedit.msc)
1. Type gpedit.msc in RUN or Start search box and press Enter. It'll open Group Policy Editor.
2. Now go to:
Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> File Explorer
3. In right-side pane, look for "Configure Windows SmartScreen" option.
4. The option would be set to Enabled or Not Configured. Double-click on it and set it to Disabled.
That's it. It'll immediately enable customization of SmartScreen filter settings in Windows.
METHOD 2: Using Registry Editor (regedit)
If you don't want to use or can't use Group Policy Editor, you can take help of Registry Editor for the same task. Just follow these simple steps:
1. Type regedit in RUN or Start search box and press Enter. It'll open Registry Editor.
2. Now go to following key:
3. In right-side pane, you'll find a DWORD EnableSmartScreen. Delete this DWORD and close Registry Editor.
4. Now restart your system or restart Explorer as mentioned here. After restart, you'll be able to change SmartScreen filter settings.
If you want the opposite i.e. if you want to restrict users from changing SmartScreen filter settings in Windows, then you can follow these simple steps:
METHOD 1: Using gpedit.msc
Double-click on "Configure Windows SmartScreen" option as mentioned in above steps and set its value to Enabled. You can also set which option would you like to set as default:
- Require approval from an administrator before running downloaded unknown software
- Give user a warning before running downloaded unknown software
- Turn off SmartScreen
Now users will not be able to change SmartScreen filter settings.
METHOD 2: Using regedit.exe
Go to following key in Registry Editor as mentioned in above steps:
Now create a new key System under Windows key. Now select System key and in right-side pane, create new DWORD EnableSmartScreen and set its value to any of following:
- 2 (To require approval from an administrator before running downloaded unknown software)
- 1 (To give user a warning before running downloaded unknown software)
- 0 (To turn off SmartScreen)
That's it. Now users will not be able to change SmartScreen filter settings using Action Center.
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