Windows SmartScreen protects your PC from potentially dangerous attachments. This “Windows protected your PC” message is an alert displayed by Windows SmartScreen and is triggered by a specific Windows policy.
This is the exact alert you see on your Windows 11 or Windows 10 PC:
Microsoft Defender SmartScreen prevented an unrecognized app from starting. Running this app might put your PC at risk.
If you want to disable this alert so that this “Windows protected your PC” alert is not displayed again you need to change a policy setting in Windows 10 or Windows 11.
Please note that disabling this alert will expose the PC to potentially dangerous files. These files will then be executed directly, without the above alert.
To adjust the policy settings you will need a tool that is not installed by default in Windows home versions. This is the “Group Policy Editor” or “gpedit.msc”.
Disable the “Windows protected your PC” alert using Policy
Right-click on the Start button. In the menu click on Run. In the Run window type: gpedit.msc.
In the left menu, open the following view:
- User Configuration
- Administrative templates
- Windows Components
- Attachment Management
On the right side, then double-click on the “Do not preserve zone information in file attachments” policy. You will change this policy from “Not configured” to “Enabled”.
This policy setting allows you to manage whether file attachments are marked by Windows with information about their source zone (such as restricted, Internet, Intranet, local). This only works correctly with NTFS. With FAT32 it does not work and no error message is displayed. When zone data is not preserved, no proper risk analysis can be performed by Windows.
If you enable this policy setting, file attachments are not marked with their zone data. This is what you have modified.
If you disable this policy setting, file attachments are marked with their zone information.
If you do not configure this policy setting, file attachments are marked with their zone information.
The message “Windows protected your PC” will now not be displayed in the future. All attachments or potentially dangerous files are opened immediately.
I hope this has helped you. Thanks for reading!