The Windows 11 unverified app message.

If you’d like to make Windows 11 safer to use for a computer novice, you can disable the execution of app installation files and choose to only allow apps from the Microsoft Store. Here’s how to set it up.

First, open Windows Settings by pressing Windows+i on your keyboard. Or, you can right-click the Start button and select “Settings” from the menu that appears.

In Windows 11, right-click the Start button and select "Settings."

When Windows Settings opens, select “Apps” in the sidebar, and then choose “Apps & Features.”

In Windows Settings, select "Apps," then choose "Apps & Features."

In Apps & Features, click the drop-down box labeled “Choose where to get apps.”

Click the "Choose where to get apps" drop-down menu.

In the “Choose where to get apps” menu, select “The Microsoft Store only (Recommended).”

In the menu, select "The Microsoft Store only (Recommended)."

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Once that’s set, you’re free to close Settings. The option takes effect immediately.

After that, if you try to run an installation file (such as an .EXE or .MSI file that you’ve downloaded), Windows 11 will prevent it from running, and you’ll see a “The app you’re trying to install isn’t a Microsoft-verified app” message in a new window. This is a good optional feature because it can potentially prevent a novice from installing malware that they downloaded without realizing it.

The Windows 11 unverified app message.

At this point, you can click “Get apps from Store,” and the Microsoft Store will open. There, you can search for a similar app to see whether it’s available.

Otherwise, if you change your mind and want to install the file anyway, click the “Change my app recommendation settings” link. You’ll be taken back to Settings > Apps > Apps & Features, where you can set “Choose where to get apps” to “Anywhere.” Good luck!

RELATED: What Windows 11's New Store Looks Like

Benj Edwards Benj Edwards
Benj Edwards is an Associate Editor for How-To Geek. For over 15 years, he has written about technology and tech history for sites such as The Atlantic, Fast Company, PCMag, PCWorld, Macworld, Ars Technica, and Wired. In 2005, he created Vintage Computing and Gaming, a blog devoted to tech history. He also created The Culture of Tech podcast and regularly contributes to the Retronauts retrogaming podcast.
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