Enable Windows Defender’s ‘Unwanted Application’ Protection

Enable Windows Defender’s ‘Unwanted Application’ Protection

With great, free options for protecting your PC from internet badness, Windows Defender doesn’t see much action. However, if you’re still using it on the front line and you’re on Windows 8 or above, you can get some added security by enabling the application’s “PUA” support.

As this post on Microsoft’s malware blog details, Windows Defender’s “Potentially Unwanted Application” option is disabled by default. It isn’t explained why this is the case, but it’s sufficient to say that turning it on doesn’t take much effort.

First, you’ll need to open the Registry and hunt down the following key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESoftwarePoliciesMicrosoftWindows DefenderMpEngine

Then, if the DWORD entry MpEnablePus doesn’t exist, add it with a value of 1. (And yes, you can disable it in the future by changing this to 0.)

For Windows 7 users, sorry, but you’re out of luck. This flag doesn’t appear to work on versions prior to 8. Still, there’s a wide range of competent alternatives out there for you to use instead.

Shields up on potentially unwanted applications in your enterprise [Microsoft, via gHacks]


  • This is Enterprise only.

    “If you are an enterprise user, and you are running System Center Endpoint Protection (SCEP), or Forefront Endpoint Protection (FEP), it’s good to know that your infrastructure can be protected from PUA installations when you opt-in to the PUA protection feature. If enabled, PUA will be blocked at download and install time.”

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