You can surf the web with more confidence: find out below how to configure Internet Explorer to check the safety of pages and downloads automatically.

First, Spiderwebs for the Day Have It, Those for the Night Do Not

Some spiders active during the day at least decorate their webs with extra threads of silk.

In spite of their name, these stabilimenta are not, it seems, there for stability but to make the webs more obvious and easier to see.

On the web that you traverse (day and night) with a browser, the dangerous sites are usually not decorated and made obvious—unless, of course, you have Internet Explorer “decorate” them:

How to Have Internet Explorer Check Page and Download Safety Automatically

To set up Internet Explorer for Windows so it checks websites and files for their safety automatically as you access them:

  1. Click the Tools menu gear icon (⚙️) in Internet Explorer.
    • Keyboard shortcut: You can also press Alt X to open the menu.
  2. Choose Internet options from the menu that has appeared.
  3. Go to the Advanced tab.
  4. Make sure Enable Windows Defender SmartScreen is checked under Security.
  5. Click OK.

How to Have Internet Explorer Check Page and Download Safety Automatically: FAQ

Can I open a site that Internet Explorer has blocked?

Yes. To override Windows Defender SmartScreen for a page you are trying to open in Internet Explorer:

  1. Click More information on the This website has been reported as unsafe page.
  2. Now click Disregard and continue (not recommended).

Can I download a file that Internet Explorer has blocked?

Yes. To override Windows Defender SmartScreen for a download in Internet Explorer:

  1. Click View downloads in the blocked download bar that has appeared at your Internet Explorer window’s bottom.
    • Keyboard shortcut: You can also press Ctrl J to open the downloads window; this also works if the download’s bar is not or no longer visible.
  2. Now click on the blocked download with the right mouse button in the View Downloads – Internet Explorer window.
  3. Select Download unsafe program from the context menu that has appeared.

I have disabled Windows Defender SmartScreen in Internet Explorer; can I still check a site’s safety?

Yes. To quickly check any site against the SmartScreen blacklist of unsafe pages:

  1. Open the page you want to check.
  2. Click the Tools menu gear icon (⚙️).
  3. Select Safety | Check this website from the menu that has appeared.
  4. If a Windows Defender SmartScreen dialog pops up, click OK.
    • Note: Internet Explorer will send the URL of the page you are about to check to SmartScreen servers.
  5. Internet Explorer will reload the page acting as if Windows Defender SmartScreen was enabled.
    • Note: This will not enable SmartScreen for any other page or the future.

I have enabled Windows Defender SmartScreen in Internet Explorer; how can I check it is working?

You can visit the Windows Defender SmartScreen phishing demonstration page. With SmartScreen properly enabled in Internet Explorer, you will see a blocking screen instead of the page itself.

I cannot change the SmartScreen setting or override its warnings; what’s going on?

It is possible for Windows system administrators to set Windows Defender SmartScreen options for Internet Explorer centrally. They can make it impossible to turn SmartScreen off, for example, or prevent you from overriding its warnings.

(How to have Internet Explorer check page and download safety automatically tested with Internet Explorer 11; updated July 2018)