How to Disable the SmartScreen/Phishing Filter in Internet Explorer

Steps to Turn Off the SmartScreen Filter or Phishing Filter in IE 7-11

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The SmartScreen Filter in Internet Explorer (called Phishing Filter in IE7) is a feature designed to help warn you if certain websites appear to be stealing your personal information.

The benefits of a tool that helps prevent phishing of your personal information seems 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.

Walk through the easy process below to disable the SmartScreen Filter in Internet Explorer 8, 9, 10, and 11 or the Phishing Filter in IE7.

Time Required: Disabling the Phishing Filter in Internet Explorer is easy and usually takes less than 5 minutes

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

1. Open Internet Explorer.

2. 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.

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

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

4. Click or tap OK to save the changes.

5. If you were troubleshooting an issue, repeat whatever steps caused your problem to see if disabling the SmartScreen Filter in Internet Explorer has corrected it.

Disable the Phishing Filter in Internet Explorer 7

1. Open Internet Explorer.

2. From the Internet Explorer command bar, choose Tools, then Phishing Filter, and finally Phishing Filter Settings.

What opens here is the Advanced tab of the Internet Options Control Panel applet. One quick way to get to the Internet Options screen without going through Internet Explorer itself, is to use the inetcpl.cpl command in Command Prompt or the Run dialog box.

3. In the Internet Options window that appears, locate the large Settings text area and scroll all the way to the bottom to locate the Phishing Filter options.

4. Under Phishing Filter, choose the Disable Phishing Filter radio button option.

5. Click or tap OK on the Internet Options window.

6. Close Internet Explorer.

More on Internet Explorer Phishing Filters

The Phishing Filter in Internet Explorer 7 only checks links that are already known to be suspicious.

However, with the SmartScreen Filter in newer versions of Internet Explorer, every single 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 users, 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. It can be done in Internet Explorer 7, too, via Tools > Phishing Filter > Check This Website.