FIX: SmartScreen prevented an unrecognized app from starting

Smart Screen is a security module that was introduced by Microsoft and integrated into several Microsoft utilities such as Internet Explorer 8, 9, 10, 11 with a main focus to improve security. When you try to install a certain software or an app that is not included in the windows store, a warning message pops up automatically to notify you that it may not be a safe choice to install; but on a gentler note it still gives you an option to run the program anyway.

In addition to this, Smart Screen automatically checks the websites we visit so as to continuously update a list of reported phishing sites and malicious software websites. All this may seem annoying at times but it basically keeps the PCs safe from malicious viruses or malware.

In this guide we will explore ways of sorting out the Smart Screen issue. At some point it just starts getting on your nerves; after all you are aware of what you install as well as the sites you visit.

Turning off the Smart Screen filter

First things first, if you want to turn the Smart Screen filter ensure that you have a powerful antivirus program installed on your PC. This will protect you from the different malware and viruses that may accompany the programs that you want to install. Here are a few steps to get you there.

Hold the Windows Key and Press X. Choose Control Panel

Now click on System and Security -> Go to Security and Maintenance. On the left hand side of the screen choose Change Windows Smart Screen Settings.

Now choose “Don’t do anything” (Turn off Windows Smart Screen). Make sure that you save/apply the changes that you have effected.


In case you need the Smart Screen up and running the same steps apply. However at step five make sure you choose “turn on windows Smart Screen”. There you go, Smart Screen has been disabled.

You still have some options open to you once Smart Screen is off. Once Smart Screen has been disabled, you may still get a warning or prompt with the wording “The publisher could not be verified. Are you sure you want to run this software?” You may probably also want to completely stop Windows from adding the zone info in the file’s substitute stream; so that you no longer receive such warnings. Here’s how:

Press Windows + R and type gpedit.msc. You can just as well type that right at the start menu, it will automatically appear.

Navigate to User Configuration, then to Administrative Templates. Next, select Windows components and then Attachment manager.

Double click on the policy entry that reads “Do not preserve zone information in file attachments” Activate it and then click/tap on OK.


The same can be achieved via editing system registry editor.

  1. Go to the Registry Editor (type regedit on the Run window)
  2. Navigate to this key:


  1. If this key does not exist, create one yourself.
  2. Make a new DWORD and name it “SaveZoneInformation”. Set it to 1.

From hereinafter, you will not be required to unblock files downloaded via your browsers and downloader apps so long as they adhere to this setting.


Kevin Arrows

Kevin Arrows is a highly experienced and knowledgeable technology specialist with over a decade of industry experience. He holds a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certification and has a deep passion for staying up-to-date on the latest tech developments. Kevin has written extensively on a wide range of tech-related topics, showcasing his expertise and knowledge in areas such as software development, cybersecurity, and cloud computing. His contributions to the tech field have been widely recognized and respected by his peers, and he is highly regarded for his ability to explain complex technical concepts in a clear and concise manner.