How to Fix Windows SmartScreen Can’t Be Reached Error

Windows SmartScreen is a built-in Windows 10 and Windows 8 security tool that warns users when they are about to run a potentially malicious program or application on their PCs.

It allows the user to block malicious software from being downloaded from the internet.  Windows SmartScreen offers a layer of protection for both Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge browsers.

Windows SmartScreen pops up anytime and warns you against downloading and running applications which it deems unsafe. Once the screen shows up, you are presented with two choices; either to RUN ANYWAY or DON’T RUN.

When you are sure that the program comes from a trusted source, click on the RUN ANYWAY button. Otherwise, click on the DON’T RUN. However, there are instances when the SmartScreen filter does not work as expected and you get an error message “Windows SmartScreen can’t be reached right now”.  Let’s see how you can troubleshoot that.

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How do I Turn SmartScreen Filter ON / OFF?

  1. Open Internet Explorer, head to Tools > SafetyTurn off windows defender smart screen
  2. Click on the Turn OFF Windows Defender SmartScreen option and choose either Turn off SmartScreenTurn OFF -ON smartscreen
  3. Filter or Turn on SmartScreen Filter.
  4. Click Ok

Fix: Windows SmartScreen Can’t be Reached Right Now

Solution 1 – Check Internet Connection

Solution 2 – Fixing Windows SmartScreen Settings

Solution 3 – Changing Settings through Group Policy Editor

Solution 4 – Scan your System using an Antivirus Program

Other Troubleshooting Tips

Final Words

Windows SmartScreen: Frequently Asked Question (FAQs)

Check your Internet Connection

Since the SmartScreen feature requires internet to work as intended, be sure to check that your WIFI or LAN has an internet connection. An easy hack it to open the command prompt and ping which is Google’s DNS, and you should get a reply. If not, try resetting the router or call the service provider to revive your internet connection.

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Fix Windows SmartScreen Settings

Since the SmartScreen feature requires internet to work as intended, be sure to check that your WIFI or LAN has an internet connection. An easy hack it to open the command prompt and ping which is Google’s DNS, and you should get a reply. If not, try resetting the router or call the service provider to revive your internet connection.

Sometimes, tampering with SmartScreen settings can cause this problem. If your internet is running fine and you are still getting the “Windows SmartScreen can’t be reached right now” error, consider reverting to default settings. To accomplish this follow these steps:

  1. Open Windows defender security centerWindows defender security center icon

  2. Click on ‘App and Browser’ ControlChoose App and browser control - Fix Windows Smartscreen Can't Be Reached

  3. To eliminate the “Windows SmartScreen can’t be reached right now”, Locate  App and Browser control and confirm that settings are in their default values as shown below:
    – Check apps and files = Warn
    – SmartScreen for Microsoft Edge = Warn
    – SmartScreen for Windows apps = WarnApps and browser control warn

If you are using an older version of windows, the SmartScreen filter can be accessed using the Run box by typing:


Ensure that the settings for Windows SmartScreen remain enabled. Alternatively, you can access Microsoft Edge Advanced settings and confirm if the SmartScreen is enabled. If it is disabled, enable it and see if the problem is solved.

Changing Settings through Group Policy Editor

To go about this,

  1. Open the Run dialog box by pressing on Windows key + R
  2. Type in gpedit.msc and hit the Enter key. Next, click on Computer Configurationgpedit.msc
  3. Click on Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> File Explorercomp conf admin wn conf
  4. Double click on File Explorer and Locate ‘Configure Windows Defender SmartScreen‘. Check if the option is set to Enabled or Not Configured.configure Windows Defender smartscreen
  5. Next, double-click on ‘Configure Windows Defender SmartScreen‘ and set it to Disabled.Disable Windows Defender Smartscreen
  6. Finally,  Click on ‘Apply‘ then ‘OK‘.

Scan your System using an Antivirus Program

Occasionally, this problem can be due to a virus issue. Sometimes, some malicious programs can make alterations to our systems without requiring permissions. Chances are that sometimes, the Windows SmartScreen filter could have been disabled by sneaky malware. To remediate it, conduct a virus scan using an up-to-date Antivirus program that will be able to detect and remove any malware that may be behind this. This can also be achieved using Windows Defender, which is a built-in antimalware tool.

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Other Troubleshooting Tips

  • Sometimes, this problem can be fixed by a simple reboot of the system
  • In addition, update your computer with the latest version of windows by installing all the pending updates.
  • Ensure that Windows Defender is also updated and running using the latest spyware definitions. Confirm also that it is running. Confirm internet connectivity by making sure the speed is okay and working as expected.
  • check-square-o In case of Windows SmartScreen was disabled on Microsoft Edge or Internet Explorer, fix this by resetting the two browsers to default settings.
  • check-square-o Always keep your system clean by periodically deleting unwanted files and temporary files from the system. When system file is full, Windows may start misbehaving due to instability. Cleaning the system means giving your PC enough disk space for it to operate optimally.
  • check-square-o Disable third-party anti-virus software or possibly uninstall it just to be sure. In most cases, third party Antivirus programs tend to disable the smart screen.

If all that has been explained here does not work for you, probably it’s time to back up your data and reinstall the operating system. This helps to delete all old (probably problematic) settings and restore them to the new settings.

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Final Words

As seen in this tutorial, there are many ways of fixing the Windows SmartScreen can’t be reached right now. I hope that the few we have shared will help you resolve the matter. Or maybe you have tried a different approach that worked before? kindly share with us through the comment section. Keep it locked for more helpful topics.

Windows SmartScreen: Frequently Asked Question (FAQs)

What is a SmartScreen Filter?

A SmartScreen Filter is a Microsoft additional security feature that acts behind Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge. It acts as a warning System warning user before downloading and running a program that it detects as a potentially malicious software. If the source of the program is known and trusted , the user can continue to download and run the application.

What is SmartScreen Filter in Internet Explorer 11?

SmartScreen Filter is a security feature embedded inside Internet Explorer whose task is to detect malicious files sent from phishing websites. The SmartScreen Filter also aids in the prevention of malware and malicious attacks coming from downloads or installations

Is SmartScreen Different from Pop-up Blocker?

Yes, they are two different things. SmartScreen verifies pages visited by the user while a Pop-up blocker prevents pop-up windows from being displayed.

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