Since its release on 5th October 2021, Windows 11 has undergone various updates to introduce additional features and improve security. Recently, it has introduced a new feature called Smart App Control (SAC) with the 22H2 update. It works alongside existing security software and doesn’t act as a replacement. Hence, it does not interfere with other antivirus programs and is separate from the in-built Windows Defender.
In comparison to antivirus software, SAC mostly helps block malicious and dangerous apps from running on your system. Apart from privacy and security threats, it also helps avoid unwanted programs from using up useful resources and prevents the system from slowing down. Here, you can learn how to enable Smart App Control on Windows 11. But first, let’s briefly learn about Smart App Control.
What Is Smart App Control?
Smart App Control (SAC) is a new and exclusive security feature introduced in the 22H2 update for Windows 11. It is an intelligent cloud-based security service that runs in the background to check applications and software in the system. All apps and software that run on Windows OS must be signed with a digital certificate before they are ready-to-use.
Here, the basic objective of SAC is to check whether a software or app has a digital certificate or not. If a program is found without a digital certificate, then the application is blocked from running on the system. A digital certificate often gets removed when a third party tries to alter software or a program. As a result, it acts as an additional layer of security.
How to Use Smart App Control on Windows 11?
Available as an exclusive security service on Windows 11, Smart App Control doesn’t require human intervention and works by itself in the background. It runs on its own to search and scan programs and applications on the system. For the most part, it doesn’t use much resources to be able to affect the system.
Steps to Enable Smart App Control on Windows 11
- Press the ‘Start’ button or the Windows logo key on your keyboard.
- From the menu, click on ‘Settings’–It has a gear icon.
- Here, navigate to ‘Privacy & Security’ and go to ‘Windows Security.’
- Then, click on ‘Open Windows Security’ and choose the ‘App & Browser Control’ option.
- Finally, click on ‘Smart App Control Settings.’ Alternatively, you can access these settings by opening the Start menu and typing ‘Smart App Control Settings’ in the search bar.
Once you’ve followed the above steps, you’ll see three options:
- Off: This will permanently turn it off and cannot be undone unless you reinstall Windows.
- Evaluation Mode: This option should be selected by default.
- On: This will permanently turn it on and cannot be undone unless you reinstall Windows.
About Evaluation Mode
Smart App Control is set on Evaluation Mode by default and remains that way for a while in the beginning. It monitors the user’s activities to determine how they work with the OS on a day-to-day basis. The intelligent cloud security feature then decides whether it is required or not and turns itself on or off accordingly.
If you manually choose either on or off mode, then the option will become permanent, and you cannot backtrack from it. You will also not be able to switch back to evaluation mode unless you reinstall Windows.
Microsoft recommends its users to let the feature stay in evaluation mode, as it will automatically turn on or off based on their daily usage. You can also check how many resources SAC is consuming to determine if you would like it to stay or turn it off for good. Do not forget that any option you choose will be permanent, and you will have to reinstall Windows to change your decision.
Although SAC itself decides whether it will be useful or not, you should check if it is affecting your daily activities. It runs in the background and is not supposed to take up too many resources unless it runs into a problematic app or piece of software. On the other hand, it helps to strengthen the security of your system and prevent malicious programs from running.