SmartScreen Filter is a security module that is integrated into several Microsoft products such as Internet Explorer or Windows Live Messenger. It basically warns users if they are about to open a potentially dangerous website or file. A warning is displayed and it is up to the user to continue or stop at this point. The filter has been criticized in the past for being too obtrusive and annoying, criticism that it shares with the User Account Control feature.
A new version of SmartScreen Filter has been integrated into the Windows 8 Developer Preview. It is not clear yet if the feature will make it into the final version of Windows 8 in this form, or at all, but it is likely that it does. Whenever you execute a file that you have downloaded from the Internet, it is first checked by SmartScreen Filter against a database. Files that cannot be identified are blocked automatically, and a warning is displayed instead.
Windows protected your PC
Windows SmartScreen prevented an unrecognized program from starting. Running this program might put your PC at risk.
The only two options on the screen are the highlighted OK button, and a more info link that is nearly as distinguishable from the background. A click on OK closes the message and blocks the executable from being started. If you want to start the program, you need to click on More Info. This changes the Windows protected your PC screen slightly.
Microsoft displays publisher and program information, and a run anyway button. The program will be executed on your system if you click on that button.
This feature has the potential to cost you some time and a lot of nerves. If you are running an up to date antivirus software, you probably have no need for SmartScreen Filter's additional protection.
Disabling SmartScreen Filter In Windows 8
You can disable SmartScreen Filter in the Windows Control Panel. Use Windows-Pause to bring it up, and click on Control Panel in the address bar afterwards. Select System and Security and then Action Center afterwards.
Select Change SmartScreen Settings on the left. This opens the following menu where you can turn Windows SmartScreen off.
The following options are available:
- Require approval from an administrator before running unrecognized programs from the Internet (recommended)
- Give a warning before running unrecognized programs from the Internet, but don't require administrator approval
- Turn off Windows SmartScreen
Windows SmartScreen could be Windows 8's User Account Control. A feature that aims to make the system more secure and annoys the hell out of users at the same time. (thanks Caschy for the tip)