Microsoft Edge now blocks adware, cryptominers, and other 'potentially unwanted apps'

Microsoft Edge PUA setting
Microsoft Edge PUA setting (Image credit: Microsoft)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft Edge now sports an option to block "potentially unwanted apps."
  • Examples include downloads that include adware, cryptominers, torrent software, and more.
  • The setting is off by default and can be enabled at any time.

The latest version of Microsoft Edge can now block "potentially unwanted apps" (PUA), with the aim of keeping your PC speedy by preventing nefarious downloads. The feature is off by default, but can be enabled at any point in the settings menu. In a new blog post, Microsoft detailed how this feature works and the specific types of apps it targets.

"In the new Microsoft Edge (beginning with 80.0.338.0), we've introduced a new feature to prevent downloads that may contain potentially unwanted apps (PUA), by blocking those apps from downloading," Microsoft said in the blog post. You can turn the feature on by heading to the "Privacy and services" section of the settings menu and enabling "block potentially unwanted apps."

Once enabled, Edge will screen downloads based on a set of criteria. If you try to download something Microsoft has deemed a PUA, you'll see a banner telling you that it has been blocked, along with the option to delete the download. If it's a download you want to keep, you can select the ellipses menu on the banner and choose "keep anyway."

Microsoft has a detailed rundown of the types of software it blocks, all of which fall into one of six buckets. Here's a look:

  • Advertising software
  • Torrent software
  • Cryptomining software
  • Bundling software
  • Marketing software
  • Evasion software
  • Software with a poor industry reputation

"We encourage users to always try to download software from a trusted location, such as the publisher's website or a reputable app store, and to check reviews of the app and the reputation of the publisher before downloading," Microsoft added in its blog post.

Blocking for PUAs joins Edge as another effort to keep web browsing secure. The new browser also features tracking prevention, which gives you granular privacy settings that can block unwanted trackers from following you around the web.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl