Microsoft Edge logo on a computer screen.


Those of you who use Microsoft Edge want to make sure that your security is as tight as possible. And Edge offers a variety of settings to help you reach that goal.

A SmartScreen option will protect you from malicious websites and files. An option for potentially unwanted apps blocks downloads of suspicious or low-reputation apps.

A typosquatting checker warns you if you’ve mistyped a URL, potentially leading you to a malicious site. And an enhanced security option allows you to choose a specific security mode to defend your browser from malware.

To access the security options, click the ellipsis icon in the upper right, select Settings, and then click the setting for Privacy, search, and services. Scroll down until you see the section for Security.

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Edge security settings.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney

Options for tightening security in Microsoft Edge

The first option for Microsoft Defender SmartScreen tries to protect you from malicious sites and downloads. In general, this is a helpful feature as it will automatically stop the loading of sites and files deemed malicious or suspicious. SmartScreen does sometimes get in your way with too many false positives, an annoyance when you’re trying to download a file that you know is legitimate. But I’d advise you to turn on the switch for this one. If you do bump into too many false positives, you can always turn it off, at least temporarily.

The next option for Block potentially unwanted apps automatically stops downloads of potentially unwanted applications (PUAs) that may slow down your system, display unwanted ads, or try to install additional software. The apps blocked by this option aren’t typically malicious but more annoying and disruptive. Like SmartScreen, this one does occasionally result in a false positive. But you’re better off keeping it enabled and then disable it if you need to get past any false positives.

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The third option for Typosquatting Checker warns you if you’ve mistyped a URL and get redirected to a potentially malicious website. In a practice known as typosquatting, cybercriminals will set up malicious websites that mimic the URLs of legitimate sites with certain characters added, deleted, or changed. Enable this option, and the typosquatting checker will alert you if you try to access one of these sites.