Microsoft Edge Gets Potentially Unwanted Apps Blocking Feature, Here’s How to Activate The Crapware Blocker

Microsoft’s new and recently launched Chromium-based Edge web browser has received an interesting and important feature. The browser can automatically block the downloading and installing of ‘Potentially Unwanted Apps’ or ‘Potentially Unwanted Programs’. The new Microsoft Edge’s Crapware Blocker is available in several Microsoft programs meant for the Windows 10 operating system.

A new feature, that remains inactive unless users activate it, has been added to the new Microsoft Edge web browser. It effectively cautions about and bocks potentially unwanted or unsafe programs or applications that manage to sneak into the Windows OS system by multiple techniques that are operational on a suspicious website. The Crapware Blocker is certainly a great addition to the browser and should help in boosting the latter’s adoption.

Microsoft Edge Web Browser Get Crapware Blocking Feature:

Windows 10 OS users, who are surfing the web using browsers, often encounter downloads that aren’t intentionally initiated. In other words, some new, unsought for apps get downloaded in the phones and computers. Now Microsoft Edge has a Crapware Blocker that will block “Potentially Unwanted Apps” or “Potentially Unwanted Programs” (PUPs) from getting downloaded. There have been several instances wherein malware disguised as legitimate files or programs have made their way into the Windows OS system and then proceeded to spread viruses and malware on the victim’s PC as well as other computers or devices connected to the same network.

The Crapware Blocker appears to be a natively integrated feature. In other words, Microsoft Edge web browser users will not have to separately download and activate the same. Incidentally, Microsoft introduced the blocker as an experiment in September 2019 in the ‘Development’ versions of Microsoft Edge.

The PUPs are essentially suspicious or low-reputation apps according to Microsoft. The PUPs include features such as adware, browser toolbars, trackers, cryptocurrency miners, and other unwanted material. These programs often stealthily acquire permission for being downloaded when users click on license agreements or even areas within the webpage.

Interestingly, the new Edge browser is just one of Microsoft’s products to have the feature. Many security programs for Windows 10 OS, including Windows Defender, Google Chrome, or Malwarebytes support the blocking of potentially unwanted programs. Though each of the platforms functions in a slightly different manner and may have its own blacklist, all of them try to prevent the download and accidental install of potentially unsafe and suspicious programs or applications.

How To Activate The Crapware Blocker In The Latest Version Of Microsoft Edge Web Browser?

Currently, the new Crapware Blocker is available in the beta version of Microsoft Edge and is not enabled by default. Incidentally, the feature is available in Beta, Dev and Canary versions of the browser. The company plans to introduce the Stable version of the feature in the latest Stable Release of Microsoft Edge Browser soon. According to a few reports, the security feature will be available in the stable version of Chromium-based Edge by this month’s end.

The Crapware Blocker feature isn’t activated by default. Here is how you enable the feature in Microsoft Edge:

  1. Enter Edge://settings/privacy in the Microsoft Edge address bar to open the local page directly. Alternatively, open the Settings page manually with a click on Menu (three dots) and selecting Settings > Privacy and services.
  2. Scroll down to the Services group on the page.
  3. A new entry marked “Block potentially unwanted apps” is available.
  4. Toggle the setting to ‘On’ position.

As expected, Microsoft Edge checks all downloads against a growing database of low-reputation or potentially unsafe applications. Active Downloads of files that are on the blacklist are automatically blocked. The browser displays a “was blocked as unsafe” notification to the user to indicate why the download was halted. Users can easily delete the partially downloaded file.

There are chances the database might contain false positives. If the user is sure about the file or wants to accept the risks, they can click on the three dots next to the delete button to select ‘Keep’ instead. Selecting the Keep option overrides the Block and saves the file to the local system.

Alap Naik Desai
A B.Tech Plastics (UDCT) and a Windows enthusiast. Optimizing the OS, exploring software, searching and deploying solutions to strange and weird issues is Alap's main interest.