Microsoft Edge – Prevent Download of Unsafe Files Blocked by SmartScreen Filter

The SmartScreen Filter warns the user when running unrecognized programs or files downloaded from the internet. When you download files using Microsoft Edge, the file download is blocked if the source URL is blacklisted or the downloaded program fails the application reputation check by Microsoft SmartScreen filter. However, Edge allows users to download the unsafe file regardless of the warning.

Every time when a file download is blocked, the following message shows up:

“filename” is unsafe to download and was blocked by SmartScreen Filter.

edge unsafe files block download

Still, users can download the blocked file manually by opening the Downloads panel, right-clicking on the blocked file and choosing “Download unsafe file” option in the right-click menu.

edge unsafe files block download
“Download Unsafe File” option exists by default.

Prevent unsafe files from being downloaded – Using the Registry Editor

To block unsafe files from being downloaded, use this registry edit. After implementing the registry edit below, you’ll no longer see the “Download unsafe file” option in the right-click menu in Microsoft Edge’s Download panel.

1. Start the Registry Editor (regedit.exe) and navigate to the following branch:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\MicrosoftEdge\PhishingFilter

Note: The Policies key or its subkeys may not exist by default. If so, create those subkeys manually.

2. Create a DWORD value named PreventOverrideAppRepUnknown

3. Double-click PreventOverrideAppRepUnknown and set the value data to 1

4. Exit the Registry Editor.

edge unsafe files block download
“Download Unsafe File” option removed.

Prevent unsafe files from being downloaded – Using Group Policy Editor

If you’re using Windows 10 Pro or higher, you can configure this setting using Group Policy Editor.

Start the Group Policy Editor (gpedit.msc) and go to:

User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Microsoft Edge

Enable the following setting in the Group Policy Editor

Prevent bypassing SmartScreen prompts for files

If you enable this setting, your user account is blocked from downloading unverified or unsafe files blocked by the SmartScreen Filter. The setting applies for the current user account only. There is an equivalent per-system GPO under “Computer Configuration” branch, but that doesn’t seem to work as intended.

About the author

Ramesh Srinivasan founded Winhelponline.com back in 2005. He is passionate about Microsoft technologies and has a vast experience in the ITeS industry — delivering support for Microsoft's consumer products. He has been a Microsoft MVP [2003 to 2012] who contributes to various Windows support forums.

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