Top 8 Ways to Fix “This App Has Been Blocked for Your Protection” in Windows

If you receive the “This app has been blocked for your protection” error message while trying to install or run an application in Windows, it means the operating system’s security features have prevented the app from running. Fortunately, there are some solutions that will help you get rid of this error. Read this guide to learn more about the fixes.

Good to know: can’t open Windows Security on your device? Check out our post to see what you can do.

Basic Fixes

Before jumping to the advanced fixes below, go through these suggestions first. You may not need to go any further.

  • Restart your PC: although restarting seems like a very basic approach, it can fix many technical issues. When you restart a PC, you basically give the operating system a fresh start without cache files clogging processes. If the system is experiencing any glitches that result in errors, such as the “This app has been blocked for your protection” error, a reboot may solve the problem.
  • Run the app as an administrator: certain Windows applications need administrator privileges to function correctly. To remedy the situation, right-click on the app icon, and select “Run as administrator.” If prompted by User Account Control, click “Yes” to continue.
  • Update or reinstall the app: you can fix this error simply by updating or reinstalling the app in question. First, check to see whether there’s an update available for the app. If there is, download and install the latest version. If updating the app doesn’t fix the issue, try uninstalling and reinstalling the app.

1. Execute the App via Windows Terminal

There is a chance that a bug is messing with you manually running the app. To bypass this issue, try to force execute the app via Windows Terminal.

  1. Right-click on the app’s shortcut, then choose “Copy as Path.”
Right-clicking on program to bring up the context menu.
  1. Right-click on the “Start menu,” and open “Windows Terminal (Admin).”
Selecting "Windows Terminal (Admin)" from WinX menu.
  1. Paste the copied file path into the Windows Terminal window, then press Enter to launch the app.
Typing command in Windows Terminal app.
  1. This should open the app for you, but if this method wasn’t helpful, proceed to the next solution.

2. Unblock the App

Windows security features can prevent apps from running on your computer if they are downloaded from the Internet, particularly if they come from unknown publishers. Fortunately, you can manually unblock the app by following the steps below:

  1. Right-click on the app’s shortcut, and select “Open File Location.”
Clicking on "Open file location" from app shortcut context menu.
  1. Find the app’s .EXE file (probably located in “C:/Program Files”), then choose “Properties” from the context menu.
Clicking "Properties" from the app file context menu.
  1. Check the “Unblock” option in the “General” tab in the Properties window. Confirm the modifications by pressing “Apply -> OK.”
Enabling "Unblock" option under Security in app properties.

Tip: learn how to block Internet access for specific Windows apps.

3. Disable User Account Control

The app could also be blocked because of the way the User Account Control is configured. Disable the User Account Control settings via the Registry Editor to ensure that you can run the app without any errors popping up.

  1. Right-click on the Start menu, and open “Run.”
Selecting "Run" in WinX menu.
  1. Type regedit and click “OK” to open “Registry Editor.” If prompted by User Account Control, click “Yes.”
Typing "regedit" in Run window.
  1. Navigate to the following address in the Registry Editor:
Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies.
Navigating to location in Registry Editor.
  1. Under “Policies,” select the “System” subkey.
Right-clicking "EnableLUA" key in Registry Editor to modify it.
  1. Right-click the “EnableLUA value” in the right panel, and select “Modify.”
  1. Type “0” in the “Value data” field, and click “OK” to save the changes.
Changing value of key in Registry Editor.
  1. Close the Registry Editor, and restart your computer to apply the changes. Launch the app after the restart to see whether the error has been resolved.

4. Turn Off Microsoft Defender SmartScreen

Microsoft Defender’s SmartScreen scans programs and files during launch for potential security risks and can prevent them from running. To determine whether SmartScreen is causing the app to be blocked, temporarily turn off this feature.

  1. Right-click on the Start menu and open “Settings.”
Clicking on "Settings" from WinX menu.
  1. Navigate to “Privacy & Security -> Windows Security.”
Navigating to Windows Security via Settings.
  1. Select the “App & browser control” option.
Selecting "App & browser control" option from Windows Security.
  1. Click on “Reputation-based protection settings” under “Reputation-based protection.”
Clicking on "Reputation-based protection settings" option in Windows Security.
  1. To disable the filter for files and executables from the list of filters that SmartScreen employs to safeguard your PC, turn off the “Check apps and files” and “Potentially unwanted app blocking” filters. If you want to disable SmartScreen completely, turn off all four filters.
Disabling "Check apps and files" and "Potentially unwanted app blocking" filters" in Windows Security.
  1. Run the app to see if SmartScreen was the source of the issue. Don’t forget to enable these options later, as these features keep your PC safe and virus-free.

Tip: learn how to permanently disable Windows Security (formerly known as Microsoft Defender).

5. Disable Your Antivirus Software

Even though antivirus software is essential to protect your system, it can sometimes interfere with installing and running applications. Follow these steps to pause your antivirus:

  1. Click on the downward arrow in the system tray, and right-click on your antivirus icon.
Right-clicking antivirus icon in system tray.
  1. Select the “Pause protection” option, and set an interval for your antivirus to be paused. Finalize by clicking on the “Pause protection” button. This process may differ based on the antivirus you are running.
Opting for the "Pause protection" option for antivirus.
  1. Run the app, and check whether the problem has been solved.

6. Enable Permission for MMC Snap-ins

MMC snap-ins are tools that manage various parts of the system, such as services, device drivers, and event logs. Sometimes MMC snap-ins get blocked by Windows, causing you to see the “This app has been blocked for your protection” error. To enable permission for MMC snap-ins, follow the steps below:

  1. Right-click on the Start menu, and tap “Run.”
Clicking "Run" in WinX menu.
  1. Type gpedit.msc in the Run box, and press “OK.”
Typing "gpedit" in Run window.
  1. In the pane on the left of the Local Group Policy Editor window, go to the following path: “User Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Microsoft Management Console\Restricted/Permitted snap-ins”.
Navigating to "Restricted/Permitted snap-ins" in Local Group Policy Editor.
  1. Right-click on the “Computer Management” option in the panel on the right, and select “Edit.”
Right-clicking "Computer Management" option to bring up context menu.
  1. Choose the “Not Configured” option, then click on “OK” to save the changes.
Selecting "Not configured" option in Distributed File System window.

Tip: keep your data safe by encrypting your USB drives on Windows. Learn how to get started with the process.

7. Configure Cryptographic Services

Cryptographic Services are responsible for managing various cryptographic functions in Windows and can sometimes interfere with third-party applications. In this case, try configuring Cryptographic Services a little differently to resolve the error.

  1. Click on the Start menu, type “services,” then click open the “Services” app.
Opening Services app from Start menu.
  1. Right-click the “Cryptographic Services” option, then select “Properties” from the context menu.
Right-clicking Cryptographic Services option in Services app.
  1. In the “General” tab next to “Startup type,” select “Automatic (Delayed Start)” from the drop-down menu.
Selecting a new "Startup type" mode for Cryptographic Services.
  1. Click on the “Log On” tab, and select the “Local System account” option. Check the box next to “Allow service to interact with desktop.” Click “Apply -> OK” to save the changes.
Enabling "Local System account" option in properties for Cryptographic Services.
  1. Restart your PC to apply the changes. After the restart, launch the app to see whether the error has been resolved.

8. Perform a System Restore

If none of these fixes have worked, and you’re still seeing the error, try performing a System Restore to revert your computer to an older state when everything was working flawlessly. It is recommended to have a backup of your important files before starting the process, in case something goes wrong.

FYI: learn what to do if System Restore is not working properly.

Making the Most Out of Your Apps

Before you consider removing restrictions on an app, it’s best to check whether the app is safe to use. If it’s an unknown app, or you have downloaded it from an obscure website, there is a high chance the app is unsafe and contains malware. To prevent such issues, check out our list of safe websites for downloading Windows software. If your applications are not responding, we have more fixes.

Image credit: Pexels. All screenshots by Farhad Pashaei.

Farhad Pashaei
Farhad Pashaei

As a technophile, Farhad has spent the last decade getting hands-on experience with a variety of electronic devices, including smartphones, laptops, accessories, wearables, printers, and so on.

When he isn’t writing, you can bet he’s devouring information on products making their market foray, demonstrating his unquenchable thirst for technology.

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