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How to block downloads in Chrome on Windows 10

Chrome, like any other browser, can download files. It has a built-in anti-virus feature that normally prevents users from downloading malicious files, allowing only safe files to be downloaded. The anti-virus is hard to fool so if anyone unintentionally clicks on a link that downloads a malicious file, the download will be stopped by Chrome. If you need to block downloads in Chrome, regardless if they’re safe or not, you can.

Windows 10 Pro

In order to block downloads in Chrome on Windows 10 Pro, you need to configure the Group Policy. Use Windows search to look for and open the Group Policy editor. Navigate to Policies>Administrative Templates>Google>Google Chrome.

Enable the ‘Allow Download Restrictions’ policy and select ‘Block all downloads’. Restart Chrome. This will block downloads in Chrome for all profiles that are configured.

Windows 10 Home

Windows 10 Home doesn’t have a Group Policy which means you have to block downloads in Chrome via the Windows registry. You will need admin rights in order to edit the registry.

Open the Windows registry editor and go to the following location;

Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Google\Chrome

It’s possible that the Google and Chrome keys don’t exist under the Policies key. If that’s the case, you should create them. Right-click the Policies key and select New>Key. Name it Google. Next, right-click the Google key you just created and select New>Key and name it Chrome.

Under the Chrome key, right-click the empty panel on the right and select New>DWORD(32-bit) Value. Name it DownloadRestrictions.

Double-click it and enter the value 3. This will disable all downloads in Chrome. Restart Chrome and you will not be able to download so much as an image in the browser.

Other Restrictions

Chrome has options for limiting downloads and restricting them completely isn’t the only option. If you’re on Windows 10 Pro, you can use the Group Policy to remove all download restrictions, to block dangerous downloads, to block suspicious downloads, and to block all downloads.

Likewise, the same restrictions can be used if you’re on Windows 10 Home. The download limitations all map to a value that you enter in the registry key you created.

Entering 3 will block all downloads. 0 will allow all downloads, 1 will only block dangerous downloads, and 2 will block suspicious looking downloads.

The change is easy to reverse though you need admin rights to do so. If you’re doing this to prevent a user from downloading files, it will work and the user will not be able to reverse the change unless they have admin access on the system.

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