Microsoft Defender SmartScreen is a security service built into the Microsoft Edge browser. It’s designed to protect you against phishing and malware websites, malicious downloads, and potentially unwanted programs. The data for Microsoft Defender SmartScreen is taken from a range of sources, including intelligence modelling, data providers, and user feedback.
If you know that a webpage or download is safe, it is possible to bypass the warning messages, but you still may not want the feature. For instance, if you regularly access a website and have to click through warnings every time it can be annoying. Alternatively, you may have privacy concerns about the data that Microsoft gets and how they will use it.
Tip: In case you’re not aware, Microsoft Defender SmartScreen passes “relevant information about a URL or file” for the repudiation check. This data is then stored anonymously to contribute to Microsoft’s security services.
Thankfully it’s not too difficult to disable the feature.
Tip: If you’re using a corporate device that is managed then you may not be able to disable Microsoft Defender SmartScreen as it is generally a setting that would be enabled via group policy.
How to disable Microsoft Defender SmartScreen
You can disable Microsoft Defender SmartScreen from Edge’s settings. To do so you first need to click the triple-dot icon in the top-right corner, then click on “Settings”, the third to last option in the dropdown menu.
Once in Edge’s settings, switch to the “Privacy, search, and services” tab on the left, and scroll down to the “Security” section. In the “Security” section, you want to click the first slider, labelled “Microsoft Defender SmartScreen” to the “Off” position.
Tip: Disabling Microsoft Defender SmartScreen will also disable the feature below it “Block potentially unwanted apps”. If you later decide to reenable Microsoft Defender SmartScreen, you will have to manually reenable “Block potentially unwanted apps” too, as this isn’t done automatically.