Microsoft begins blocking 'unwanted applications' like adware and cryptominers, using Edge

New anti-PUA feature must be manually toggled on, however

Credit: Dreamstime

Beginning with the current version of Microsoft Edge, Microsoft will begin blocking adware, Bitcoin miners, and other unwanted apps that sometimes accompany apps that users download from the web.

Microsoft Edge version 80 contains a new Settings menu with the option to “Block potentially unwanted apps,” which works in conjunction with Windows’ Microsoft Defender SmartScreen to detect and warn against what Microsoft calls PUAs, or Potentially Unwanted Apps. Microsoft has listed what it considers to be common PUAs here.

If turned on, Edge will block these apps by default, though you’ll have the option to override Microsoft’s decision and allow the app to download and install.

Microsoft’s new PUA protections live in the Settings menuCredit: Microsoft
Microsoft’s new PUA protections live in the Settings menu

The new option takes Windows’ own built-in protection in a different direction. To date, Microsoft’s efforts have been focused primarily on malware. The company’s answer to that has been the Microsoft Store, which has a list of curated apps that Microsoft has already approved.

But far more appliblog postcations can be downloaded from third-party app stores or from the web itself, where users must depend on the trustworthiness of the app’s author.

Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft makes clear, moreover, that PUAs are not malware, per se. Adware or cryptominers don’t necessarily harm your PC; they simply slow it down. Some anti-malware applications already identify applications like cryptominers and block them.

Microsoft’s code now attempts to sniff out piggybacked applications that come bundled with apps that are otherwise harmless.

Edge’s protections against PUAs are off by default, though they can be turned on by going to Edge’s Settings menu, then to Privacy and Services > Services > Block potentially unwanted apps.

If a PUA is detected, you’ll see a notification, like the images shown in this article. You’ll then have the option to reject the app entirely, or let Microsoft know that it’s okay to download. Microsoft will take this feedback and incorporate it, Microsoft said in a blog post.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Microsoft

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Mark Hachman

Mark Hachman

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Brand Post

More online threats demand more protection.

Save up to $90! Great Deals on Norton 360 antivirus starting at just A$79.99 Get comprehensive protection with Norton 360 including Antivirus, secure VPN, a Password Manager, PC Cloud Backup, and more. All backed by 60-day Money Back Guarantee and 100% Virus Protection Promise.

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?