Microsoft SmartScreen Filter is a technology used in several Microsoft products, including Internet Explorer but also Windows Live applications such as Windows Live Messenger. Internet Explorer users can disable the SmartScreen Filter in the browser directly by going to Tools > Safety > Turn Off SmartScreen Filter.
Microsoft unfortunately has not added the same option to its Windows Live products. Windows Live Messenger users for instance cannot disable SmartScreen Filter in their application. What does it do?
SmartScreen Filter scans links that are clicked on by the user in the application. Safe links can be opened as usual. They open directly in the default browser. Links that are considered a security risk, or at least of questionable destination, are not opened directly. Microsoft is changing the link target to display an interstitial page warning the user. It reads: Remember to protect your password. You are leaving Windows Live to visit: URL. The website you're about to go to isn't part of Windows Live, so don't provide your Windows Live password if you're asked for it.
Options are to close or continue with continue redirecting the page to the destination the link is pointing to.
The process itself does not take longer than a few seconds, it does however add up for users who regularly click on links in Windows Live products. Even worse, the message itself is not specific to the website, it is just a general notification to protect the password. It would probably have been better to display that message only once, and not all the time.
We have already established that there is no direct way to turn of SmartScreen in Windows Live Messenger and other Windows Live products. The state of the Internet Explorer SmartScreen filter has no effect on the filter in Windows Live. This was suggested numerous times on websites addressing the issue.
Some users who are experiencing the issue find it confusing that the warning message appears in their default web browser, thinking that it is a issue of the browser and not Windows Live. This is not the case as well. Microsoft basically redirects links internally which are then displayed in the default browser.
1. Remove SmartScreen for Live Messenger 2011
The userscript basically clicks on continue automatically. While it does not remove the intermediary screen it bypasses it without user interaction. It has been tested to work under Firefox and Chrome, other web browsers may also be compatible. Firefox users need the Greasemonkey extension before they can install the userscript.
2. Firefox add-on Redirector and rules
A second option for Firefox users is the powerful Redirector add-on. The extension uses regular expressions to change links automatically. The SmartScreen filter url appends http://link.smartscreen.live.com/?l= to the url which needs to be removed. Instructions have been found in the Mozilla forum:
Then you click on Tools -> Extensions -> Redirector -> [Options]
You Add a new redirection, with :
Example URL = http://link.live.net/?l=http%3a%2f%2fwww.foo.com%2fbar%2f&h=itWsyZHjrlEFsiwF88uQrxzR07adAQGROv79wRiLd%2fs%3d&p=1
Include Pattern = http://link.live.net/?l=*&h=*
Exclude Pattern =
(leave it blank)
Redirect to = $1
Pattern type = wildcard
Unescape matches = checked
Is there a solution if Opera, Safari or Internet Explorer are set as the default Internet browser on the system? Let us know in the comments. Oh, and Microsoft: Please add an option to disable SmartScreen, or at the very least an option to whitelist domains to Windows Live.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.