Some Windows users have been reaching us for advice after the Windows SmartScreen feature is apparently blocking Microsoft’s own apps from opening. Affected users report that the Windows SmartScreen can’t be reached right now error occurs when they try to open apps from the built-in Windows suite (Maps, Alarms, Photos, Mail, etc.).
What is Windows Smart Screen
SmartScreen is a cloud-based anti-phishing and anti-malware component that is included in all Windows 8 (8.1) and Windows 10 versions. This security component is also used with Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, and Outlook.com.
Whenever SmartScreen is down or unreachable on an end user PC, the machine will no be able to download anything through official and unofficial channels.
What causes the Windows SmartScreen can’t be reached error
After investigating the issue and looking at various user reports, we got a pretty good idea of which factors might lead to the apparition of this issue. Below you have a list of culprits that are most likely responsible for the Windows SmartScreen can’t be reached error:
- Corrupted Windows account – Certain inconsistencies with your Windows account might trigger this issue. Users in a similar situation have resolved the issue by creating a new Windows account
- SmartScreen is disabled from Windows Defender Security Center – This particular error can occur if the user or a third party application has disabled the SmartScreen filter.
- SmartScreen is down due to an MS issue – Since SmartScreen is a cloud component, there were cases in the past where this security component was down for all users for a couple of hours until maintenance was complete.
- The error is caused by a proxy entry – Several users have reported that the issue was resolved as soon as they disabled their proxy from the Networking setup.
How to fix the Windows SmartScreen can’t be reached error
If you’re currently struggling to resolve the same issue, this article will provide you with a couple of verified troubleshooting steps. Below you have a collection of methods that other users in a similar situation have used to resolve the Windows SmartScreen can’t be reached right now error.
For the best results, follow the methods in the presented order until you find a fix that successfully addresses the problem for your particular scenario. Let’s begin!
Method 1: Making sure that SmartScreen is enabled
Before we explore additional repair strategies, let’s make sure that the SmartScreen filter is enabled on your particular machine. You can verify this easily by accessing the built-in Windows Defender Security Center.
Here’s a quick guide on making sure that SmartScreen is enabled on your machine:
- Press Windows key + R to open up a Run dialog box. Next, type “ms-settings:windowsdefender” and press Enter to open the Windows Security tab of the Settings app.
- Click on the Open Windows Defender Security Center button under Windows Security.
- Inside Windows Defender Security Center, click on App & browser control.
- Make sure that the Check apps and files toggle is set to Warn. Then, verify if the same is true for SmartScreen for Microsoft Edge and SmartScreen for Microsoft Store apps.
- If SmartScreen was disabled, reboot your computer after operating the changes and see if the error is resolved at the next startup.
If the Windows SmartScreen can’t be reached right now error is still occurring, continue down with the next method below.
Method 2: Verify whether SmartScreen is down for maintenance
Another possible scenario is that the SmartScreen component is scheduled for maintenance. Whenever this happens, the SmartScreen component will become unreachable for a lot of users at the same time.
Before you go through some potentially unnecessary steps, take some time to check Microsoft’s communication channels or forums for an announcement of a scheduled (or unexpected) maintenance session. Good places to start are the Microsoft Answers forum or the Windows Twitter account. You can also do an online search to see if any recent topics have popped up about SmartScreen.
If you confirm that SmartScreen is not down for maintenance reasons, move down to the next method below.
Method 3: Disable proxy server (if applicable)
Several users have reported that the issue was fixed as soon as they disabled the use of a proxy server through the built-in way. Apparently, certain proxy servers can interfeere with the SmartScreen component and cause it to become unusable.
Note: If you’re not using a proxy server, disregard this method and continue with the next one.
To disable the proxy server entry on your particular machine, follow the guide below:
- Press Windows key + R to open up a Run dialog box. Them, type or paste “ms-settings:network-proxy” and hit Enter to open the Proxy tab of the Settings application.
- Inside the Proxy tab, scroll down to Manual proxy setup and make sure the toggle associated with Use a proxy server is turned Off.
- Reboot your machine and check if the issue has been resolved at the next startup.
If the issue is still not resolved, continue with the next method below.
Method 4: Creating a new Windows user account
Some affected users have reported that the issue was fixed after they created a new Windows user account. While this procedure will make you lose a couple of settings enforced through your user account, it’s usually effective in circumventing the Windows SmartScreen can’t be reached right now error.
If you decide to create a new Windows user account, follow the instructions below:
- Press Windows key + R to open up a Run dialog box. Next, type or paste “ms-settings:otherusers” and hit Enter to open the Family & other people tab of the Accounts menu.
- Next, click on Add someone else to this PC, then click on I don’t have this person’s sign-in information.
- Insert the user credentials (email, password, country and birth date) and hit the Next button again.
Note: If you want to create a new user local user account, click on Add a user without a Microsoft account.
- Once you’re finished with the creation of your new Windows account, click on the Start icon, click on the account icon and choose to Sign out.
- Now from the sign-in screen, select your newly created account to log in with it.
- Once you’re logged in, see if the issue was resolved by trying to open a native Windows app.