Microsoft has recently added a new adware protection system for enterprises, allowing them to detect and block Potentially Unwanted Applications (also known as PUAs) on their computers.
But according to Microsoft’s own announcement, this feature was only available for enterprises, so consumers running Windows 10 Home or Pro, for example, aren’t getting it.
And yet, there’s a very simple way to enable this feature on any computer with Windows Defender, and as gHacks notes, it all comes down to just a few registry tweaks.
Before anything, make sure you create a backup or a system restore point, just in case something goes wrong and you need to recover your Windows install.
How to enable adware blocking
First and foremost, launch the Registry Editor. To do this, click the Start menu and type “regedit.exe.” Navigate to the following path:
Double click the Windows Defender folder to expand it, right-click it and hit the New > Key option to create a new entry called “MpEngine” (without the quotes). Right-click this newly-created key called MpEngine and select New > DWord (32-bit) Value and call the new entry “MpEnablePus” (again without the quotes). Double-click it, enter value 1, click OK, and restart your computer.
Your settings should look exactly like in the screenshot at the end of the article.
There’s one major thing that you need to take into account. Enabling adware protection in Windows Defender is a double-edged sword. While it can indeed prevent some unwanted apps from running on your PC, it could also block legitimate software, so always keep an eye on Windows Defender to see which executables are allowed and which are not.
On the good side, exes that are found to be dangerous are automatically quarantined, so you can always whitelist and run them as a legitimate app.
It’s probably a matter of time until Microsoft makes this option available by default in Windows Defender for all users, but in the meantime, this trick surely comes in very handy.