By Delia / Last update March 7, 2022

The Sun Valley 2 update, scheduled to be released in a few months, is expected to bring a number of highly anticipated improvements to the Windows 11 operating system. In addition to user interface (UI) changes, Windows 11 22H2 will also bring a new security tool called "Smart App Control" to stop malicious and untrusted applications from being installed on users' PCs.

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These potentially unwanted applications can slow down the device, display various ad pop-ups, tamper with the search engine in the browser, and even install other rogue software behind the scenes. While the term "untrusted/unwanted" is rather subjective, Microsoft claims to have developed a unique solution to automatically detect and flag suspicious applications.

How Smart App Control works

Starting with Windows 11 Version 22H2, Smart App Control will scan applications to see if they have a developer's signature, or if the signature is valid.

Most good developers and companies will gladly follow standard security practices while signing and verifying the identity of their applications through digital certificates. If the Smart App Control test shows that the signature is valid and the application is not suspected of being malicious, it will be allowed to continue running on Windows 11.

Smart App Control can also communicate with Microsoft Defender if it detects a suspicious or invalid signature. Windows Defender then performs another security scan to determine the trustworthiness of the target application. If the result is known and secure, Smart App Control's restrictions are lifted. Otherwise, Smart App Control marks it as untrusted and blocks the suspect application from running on the user's device.

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How to turn on Smart App Control

If you were lucky enough to participate in the early testing of this feature, you may want to turn it on in Settings.

Just open Windows Search > search for "Smart App Control" > open it from the search results and turn on the switch.

By default, the feature will start in Evaluation Mode, when it tries to determine if the apps installed on the user's device are trusted.

You can turn Smart App Control on or off at any time in Settings if you need to. Note, however, that Evaluation Mode can only be run once and requires a clean install of Windows.