The user protections in Windows 10 are quite aggressive which, for the most part, is a good thing that protects people from malicious software. Every now and then, however, it’s a wee bit too aggressive and gets in the way of your actual work. Read on as we show you how to circumvent the “This app has been blocked for your protection” error in Windows 10.
Why Do I Want To Do This?
As a general rule you don’t want to do this. Historically Windows has been pretty loosey goosey when it comes to file security and the prevention of malicious software attacks. Over the years the engineers at Microsoft have slowly tightened things down, improvement by improvement, and thanks to signed drivers, certificates, user account control settings, and so on there’s a much lower chance these days that you’ll accidentally install malicious software.
If you’ve found this article via Google search and you’re frustrated that you can’t install an application because Windows 10 keeps flat out denying you with the error message “This app has been blocked for your protection” before we even dig into how to circumvent the error we want you to take a deep breath and think about where the file came from. You’re upset that your old scanner from 2004 won’t work on Windows 10 and you found bootleg drivers on some suspicious website like SuperAwesomeFreeAndTotallyNotMalwareDrivers.com? We’d recommend biting the bullet, getting a newer scanner, and not circumventing the very useful protections put in place precisely to stop you from running very suspect Setup.exe files found on websites of dubious quality.
On the other hand you might find yourself in a perfectly valid situation where you’ve downloaded the drivers for a file directly from the manufacturer website and they simply won’t run properly on Windows 10 because of technical (but not malicious) problems like an expired or improperly applied certificate. In such cases it’s perfectly reasonable to circumvent the error message and accompanying security block.
Again, and for emphasis, you should only circumvent this security measure if you are absolutely confident you have a legitimate executable and not a malicious piece of software. Downloaded it from from Hewlett-Packard’s support site? Great. Downloaded it from a shady driver web site? Don’t even think about it.
How Do I Circumvent The Error?
The error is a rather curious one. The title bar of the pop up box is “User Account Control” but it pops up even if you set your user account control settings to a minimum level or disable them. The warning text is “This program has been blocked for your protection” and the body text of the warning is “An administrator has blocked you from running this program. For more information, contact the administrator.”
That doesn’t seem particularly odd (blocking installation of files on a non-administrative account is a common feature across operating systems) but you’ll get the error even if you run the installation on a Windows 10 account with administrative privileges. Further, if you right-click on the file and select “Run as administrator” you’ll get the exact same error.
However you can circumvent the entire process (and we again want to emphasize that you should only do so if you have express confidence in the validity of the file you are about to run) by turning to the command prompt.
Note: There is another solution that involves activating the “hidden” administrative account in Windows wherein you sign out of your regular account (even if it has, as mentioned above, administrator privileges) and log into the new generically named “administrator” account to run the program that won’t run. Then you backtrack by logging out and disabling the hidden administrator account. This technique works but we’re only noting it here out of a duty to be thorough in educating the reader not because it is worth the effort or potential security risk (if you fail to turn the account back off).
Even though right-clicking on the application in question and selecting “Run as administrator” does nothing, if you put “cmd.exe” in the run dialog on the Windows 10 Start Menu, right-click on it, and select “Run as administrator” for the command prompt, as seen above along with the offending Setup.exe application, then the elevated command prompt will execute the improperly signed executable.
At that point you can simply navigate to the location of the .EXE file via the command prompt and run it as seen in the screenshot above. Unlike selecting “Run as administrator” via the GUI in Windows Explorer, when launched from the elevated commend prompt you’ll enjoy an error free experience.
Again, we don’t recommend willy-nilly using this trick but if you find yourself with some legitimate but incorrectly signed drivers (and you’re not about to wait around, potentially indefinitely, for the manufacturer to properly sign them for Windows 10) then the trick is a real life saver.
Have a question about Windows 10? Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll do our best to answer it.