How do I download or run a program that Windows Defender detects as potentially harmful?

When Windows Defender detects potentially harmful programs, it reports this information to Action Center and alerts you by displaying a notification. If you trust a program that Windows Defender has detected as potentially harmful, you can allow it to run on your computer.


  • If Windows Defender assigns a severe or high alert level to a program, it's a widespread or exceptionally malicious program or a program that might collect your personal information without your knowledge. These programs can negatively affect your privacy and the security of your computer; they can damage your computer. We strongly advise you don't run these programs on your computer.

  1. Download the program that you want to run.

  2. Click the notification.

    Picture of Action Center notification
    Notification from Action Center about potentially harmful software
  3. In the Windows Defender Alert dialog box, on the Action menu, click Allow.

    Picture of Windows Defender Alert dialog box
    Windows Defender Alert dialog box
  4. Click Apply actions. Administrator permission required If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.