What is the new Smart App Control protection feature in Windows?
The Windows operating system serves more than a billion computer users around the world. This overwhelming popularity of Windows prompts developers of system versions to introduce several successive updates on each new version of Windows to add more features and tools that help improve the user experience. The latest version of Windows 11 known as “22H2” was released in September 2022, and it included a distinct set of tools and enhanced settings such as the smart application control tool that aims to increase the degree of security and protection of the device during use. In the following lines, we explain the most important points that should be known about the smart application control tool, its advantages and disadvantages, and how to deal with it.
What is the Smart App Controller?
Smart App Control (SAC) is a new security feature included in Windows 11 version 22H2 that uses artificial intelligence and acts as a filter specifically designed to block apps and malware that are detrimental to the health of your PC. Intelligent Application Control relies on a massive signal database of more than 43 trillion signals stored in the cloud, updated daily to flag potentially unsafe programs and applications on your computers.
When trying to run any program or application on the computer, the tool performs a series of checks before allowing the program to start if it passes all the checks, or prohibiting it from running if it cannot pass the check, while showing a message to the user stating that the application is blocked. The tool, for example, tries to detect untrusted programs and applications by verifying that programs and applications are approved and obtain the necessary digital certificate. Any new program or application must first be approved by Windows and given a digital certificate before it is put to use. Changes or modifications made to the original version of this software or application will render the modified version unsupported.
The tool works in the background and all software and application checks are done so smoothly and silently that you can only notice its work when a program is not running. Then a notification will appear on the screen informing the user that the program/application has been blocked because it is not safe, the user can then search for safe alternative applications and can provide his feedback if he thinks that the application has been blocked wrongly.
The Intelligent Application Control tool is not a replacement for antivirus and malware on your computer, but it can be used as an additional security method alongside the main protection program in Windows Microsoft Defender and other reliable antivirus programs. Intelligent App Control also helps limit potentially unwanted applications (PUAs), which can affect device performance.
Verify that the Smart Controller is present in the applications
The Smart Application Control tool is still available only for computers that have the new version 22H2 version or later versions of Windows 11. As for devices that have old versions prior to this version of Windows 11, the tool cannot be activated even after updating the system files except after installing A new, fully updated version of Windows 11.
Whether or not you know the name of the version you are using from Windows 11, you can check the presence of the Smart Application Control tool in the version of Windows 11 that you are using by opening the Settings application through the Start menu, then go to the Privacy & Security section, then to Windows Security and press Open Windows Security. From the window that appears, go to the App & Browser Control section. If you find the Smart App Control settings option in the list, this means that the tool is available in the version of Windows 11 that you are using.
How to activate the Smart App Control protection feature
The feature can be activated in the new version of Windows 11 by opening the Windows Security application, either by following the steps mentioned in the previous paragraph, or by double-clicking the miniature shield icon on the taskbar (next to the clock) to open the application. After that, go to the App & browser control section and click on the Smart App Control settings option, then select the “On” option.
Smart App Control settings are configured by default on what is known as the “Evaluation Mode”, and the user must control these settings and choose between switching the evaluation mode to turn the feature on or off or keep the evaluation mode activated, but once you change To On or Off, you will no longer be able to switch to evaluation mode or undo the change until after reinstalling a new copy of Windows.
It is worth noting that the feature – during its work in evaluation mode – scans programs and applications before running them to determine whether they are able to block only dangerous applications and programs, and then the tool will run automatically, or it will prevent the user from running favorite programs that are required to accomplish his basic tasks. In this case, the tool will be disabled automatically.
Advantages and disadvantages of Smart App Control
The user may sometimes have to turn off the smart application controller if it consumes a lot of device resources from RAM, GPU, and Central Processing Unit (CPU) during software and application scans, which negatively affects the device performance.
Turning off the smart application control tool in Windows 11 is an irreversible decision, as you will not be able to restart the tool again unless you reinstall an appropriate version of Windows, so you should make sure that there is a necessary need to use the tool before proceeding to modify its default settings To deactivate the evaluation mode and turn on or off the tool, for example if the device is highly exposed to the risks of infection with viruses and malware, in this case it may be better to run the tool and it can contribute effectively to reducing these risks and protecting the device from damage.