How to enable Potentially Unwanted Application protection in Windows 8 and Windows 10


Enterprise users are always looking for ways to protect their systems, and Microsoft recently unveiled a new opt-in feature to protect against Potentially Unwanted Applications (PUA). PUA is a broad term that covers everything from adware to browser extensions, and users of Windows 8 and Windows 10 can enable the feature to block such nasties at a download level.

PUAs are described by Microsoft as "a threat classification based on reputation and research-driven identification", and includes unwanted components bundled with legitimate software. Venture into the registry, and a tweak can be used to enable protection against such unwanted elements.

At the moment, PUA protection is something that is only available to enterprise users and enabling it does involve a little legwork -- there is no simple check box to enable, sadly. That said, the security feature can be enabled fairly easily, and it's well worth considering. Start by firing up the Registry Editor -- hit the Windows key and R, type regedit, and press Enter.

Now you need to navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\ Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender\MpEngine. Look for the DWORD key called MpEnablePus (or create it if you don’t see it) and assign it a value of 1. If you decide at a later time that PUA protection is not for you, you can either delete the key, or just change its value to 0.

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