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How to fix ‘Potentially unwanted app found’ message on Windows 10

Windows Defender will block malicious apps even if you allow them to run from the UAC prompt. For some apps though, those that it isn’t entirely sure about or that are generally safe but can be used maliciously, it flags as Potentially unwanted apps. It issues a warning. The Windows Defender icon in the system tray shows a yellow exclamation mark, and you will likely see the prompt each time you run the app.

Fix ‘Potentially unwanted app found’

There are two simple ways to fix the Potentially unwanted app found error; you can get rid of the app that is being flagged, or you can allow the app to run on your system. If you decide to allow the app to run, make sure it is safe.

Windows Defender will often flag torrent clients as PUAs (Potentially unwanted apps) not because they’re dangerous but because they can be used to download files that may be dangerous.

Allow Potentially unwanted app to run

You can allow a PUA to run by whitelisting it in Windows Defender.

  1. Open Windows Defender.
  2. Go to App & browser control.
  3. Click ‘Review’ under Reputation based protection.
  4. Open the dropdown that says ‘Low’.
  5. You will need to confirm you have admin access to the system to get beyond this point.
  6. Review the details of the threat and decide if you want to keep the app.
  7. Scroll to the bottom of the details for the detected threat, and open the ‘Actions’ dropdown.
  8. Select ‘Allow on Device’.
  9. Apply the change.

Remove the app

You can remove the app that Windows Defender is flagging. To find out which app is being flagged, follow these steps.

  1. Open Windows Defender.
  2. Go to App and browser control.
  3. Click ‘Review’ under Reputation-based protection.
  4. Select the most recently listed command to view its details.
  5. The ‘Affected item’ will tell you which app was flagged.
  6. Go ahead and uninstall it.

Conclusion

If you’ve allowed a PUA app to run on your system, you may continue to see the “Potentially unwanted app found” message. It depends on the type of app that’s being flagged. You can turn off the Reputation-based protection if you want. It’s not a core Windows Defender feature and apps that you run on Windows 10 will still continue to be scanned. If you continue to see the error message after allowing or removing the app, you need to clear your protection history to make it go away.

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