How to Disable the SmartScreen/Phishing Filter in Internet Explorer

Steps to turn off the SmartScreen Filter or Phishing Filter in IE 8-11

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The SmartScreen Filter in Internet Explorer (called Phishing Filter in IE7) warns you if certain websites appear to be stealing your personal information.

The benefits of a tool that helps prevent phishing of your personal information seem obvious, but not everyone always finds these features helpful or very accurate.

In certain situations, the SmartScreen Filter or Phishing Filter in Internet Explorer can even cause problems, so disabling the feature can be a valuable troubleshooting step.

These instructions apply to Internet Explorer 8, 9, 10, and 11.

Disable the SmartScreen Filter in Internet Explorer 11, 10, 9, and 8

From the Internet Explorer menu bar, choose Tools, then (depending on how your computer is set up) either Windows Defender SmartScreen Filter or SmartScreen Filter, and finally the Turn off Windows Defender SmartScreen or Turn off SmartScreen Filter option.

Press Alt if you don't see the Tools menu at the top of Internet Explorer.

In the new window that opens, called Microsoft Windows Defender SmartScreen or Microsoft SmartScreen Filter, select the Turn off Windows Defender SmartScreen or Turn off SmartScreen Filter option is selected.

Click or tap OK to save the changes. If you were troubleshooting a problem, repeat whatever steps caused your problem to see if disabling the SmartScreen Filter in Internet Explorer has corrected it.

More on Internet Explorer Phishing Filters

With the SmartScreen Filter, every download and website is checked against an ever-growing list of phishing and malware sites. If the filter finds something suspicious, it prompts you to exit the page or continue through to the unsafe website.

Downloads from reportedly harmful websites are also blocked when the SmartScreen Filter is enabled, so you can only download those kinds of files by disabling the SmartScreen Filter. Downloads that are accepted through the filter are those that have been downloaded by many people and are therefore considered safe, as well as files that have not yet been explicitly marked as dangerous.

You can check a specific website that you suspect is dangerous, through the same menu as above; just choose the Check this website option from that menu.