Navigating the internet is fraught with danger, with numerous methods of attack. Microsoft wants its new Chromium Edge browser to be your protector when browsing. A new tool is aimed at stopping users from downloading bad applications onto their PC.

There are millions of free programs and tools available online. Many of them are useful and excellent, but many of them are also nefarious and loaded with malware. Deciding the good from the bad usually involves some research, which most users don’t do.

In a recent blog post, Microsoft announced Chromium Edge can prevent users from downloaded so-called potentially unwanted applications (PUAs). It is worth noting not all PUAs are nefarious, and some may just not be what the user expects or may be showing offers for other services.

Either way, the new Edge feature will mean users will have a better understanding of what they are downloading. We first reported this feature back in September when it debuted on the Canary development channel.

Availability

Since then it has moved through the Edge preview branches and is now arriving on the full browser. It is now on version 80.0338.0 or newer of the browser but is turned off by default. To activate the tool, head to settings and choose the button “Block potentially unwanted apps”.

When a user attempts to download an app that Microsoft deems a PUA, Edge will provide a warning notification. Users are prompted to delete the app by default but it is also possible to override the warning and continue with the download (Keep anyway).

Microsoft does not classify PUAs as classic malware or virus content, but categorizes them as the following:

  • Various types of software bundling
  • Ad injection into web browsers
  • Driver and registry optimizers that detect issues, request payment to fix the errors, but remain on the endpoint and make no changes or optimizations (also known as “rogue antivirus” programs)