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How to Turn Off SmartScreen Filter in Windows 8/8.1?

Taking Control: Disabling the SmartScreen Filter in Windows 8/8.1

In Windows 8, Microsoft introduced a security feature known as the SmartScreen Filter. Designed to enhance user safety while browsing and downloading content, this feature continued its legacy in subsequent Windows versions, including Windows 10 and 11. SmartScreen acts as a vigilant guard, scrutinizing the programs you attempt to download or run. While its intention is to protect users from potential threats, it might occasionally flag less renowned applications as suspicious. Users might encounter alerts such as “It is not widely downloaded and could harm your computer,” “Using this software might put your computer in danger,” or “This unsafe download was stopped by SmartScreen Filter.” Though SmartScreen isn’t an antivirus solution, its role in assessing potential threats can sometimes impede the operation of benign programs. If you find its interventions a tad overzealous or simply prefer to operate without it, there are ways to disable the SmartScreen filter both through the Control Panel and within Microsoft Edge. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the steps to turn off the SmartScreen Filter in Windows 8/8.1, ensuring you have control over what runs on your system.

How to Turn Off SmartScreen Filter from Control Panel in Windows 8/8.1?

To clarify, you cannot disable the SmartScreen filter on Windows 11/10 via the Control Panel. In Windows 11/10, Microsoft removed this functionality. However, this method remains applicable for disabling SmartScreen on Windows 8 and 8.1.

Step 1: First, open Control Panel and select System and Security.

Press the Windows logo + R keys simultaneously to open the Run dialogue box. Type Control Panel in the Run control box and press Enter to finish.

Control Panel
Control Panel



Step 2: Select Action Center in the “System and Security” window that appears.

Step 3: Click on the Change Windows SmartScreen settings link in the Action Center window’s left side pane.

Step 4: The Windows SmartScreen window will now show up on your screen. You have three choices here:-

  • Before running an unapproved Internet program, get administrator approval (recommended).
  • Don’t require administrator permission, but issue a warning before executing an unapproved application.
  • Take no action (turn off Windows SmartScreen).

By choosing the third option, Don’t do anything (turn off Windows SmartScreen) SmartScreen can be turned off.


In the era of cybersecurity threats, Microsoft’s introduction of the SmartScreen Filter with Windows 8 was a forward-thinking move. This feature, which persists in Windows 10 and 11, serves as a protective barrier when users attempt to download or run unfamiliar programs. Its primary goal is to safeguard users from potential malicious software. Thus, encountering warning messages such as “It is not widely downloaded and could harm your computer” or “This unsafe download was stopped by SmartScreen Filter” is SmartScreen’s way of ensuring user safety. But like any protective feature, it might sometimes misjudge harmless programs as threats. Though it isn’t a replacement for antivirus solutions, SmartScreen’s keen eye can occasionally be too cautious, leading users to seek ways to disable it. If you are among those who wish to take control of the SmartScreen filter on your Windows 8/8.1 system, this guide provides a step-by-step approach. While it’s worth noting that Windows 11/10 no longer allows SmartScreen adjustments via the Control Panel, users of Windows 8/8.1 still have this capability. Always remember to tread cautiously when disabling such security features, ensuring your system’s protection remains a priority.


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