Sometimes, due to a lack of Windows update or Windows Defender issues, you get an error message that reads: “This setting is managed by your administrator,” even though you were logged in as one. This might prevent you from disabling the smart screen, or in some cases, launching non-Microsoft apps.
You don’t have to be an installation specialist to solve this problem;, but it involves a few minor technical edits. We will go through these fixes one by one, from the most obvious solutions to the registry editing steps.
What Is the “This Setting Is Managed by Your Administrator” Issue?
Contrary to the way it sounds, “This setting is managed by your administrator” has nothing to do with whether or not you are logged in as an administrator. It has more to do with certain unpredictable errors which affect Windows Defender.
There are different indications of this error. For example, when you launch “Windows Security” settings from the search box menu and go to “Reputation-based protection,” some of the options will be greyed out.
Here, one of the settings, “check apps and files,” has been disabled. This is a very important setting, as SmartScreen checks for unrecognized apps and files, and you can’t manage your PC without accessing this control.
Similar settings may be disabled for “Real-time Protection” or “Automatic Sample Submission.” To solve these issues, we are exploring various troubleshooting steps.
1. Check for Windows Updates
The first thing to do is to check your system for any pending Windows updates. When many of these updates accumulate, there are chances that it may affect some of the programs – including Windows Defender. Go ahead and finish these updates, which will clear the system of any legacy errors.
2. Disable Other Antivirus Software
If you have a third-party anti-virus, it may be affecting Windows Defender. You may need to disable it temporarily to remove the error. Consider that Windows Defender itself is a very reliable antivirus and compatible with existing Windows 10 systems.
3. Solve Using Registry Editor
If the first two steps do not solve the issue, then one of the best ways to solve “This setting is managed by your administrator,” is to tweak the registry for Windows Defender. We will be temporarily deleting the registry files for Windows Defender.
Launch the Registry Editor app from the Windows search box by typing “regedit.” It’s better to run it in Administrator mode.
Once the Registry Editor app is open, navigate to the path shown in the screen below.
Right-click on the Windows Defender key and click “Export.” Create a new folder in the Desktop or elsewhere where this file can be exported. Here the folder has been named “Regedit Check.”
Export the registry file for the Windows Defender key in the recently created folder. It’s in .reg format. Ensure the key name is spelled the same way it is in the Registry Editor.
Repeat the procedure for all the sub-keys under “Windows Defender.” As shown here, we are exporting the Registry file for “Policy Manager.” Make sure the subkey name is spelled exactly as in the Registry Editor.
Depending on your Windows 10 system, there may be more subkeys. Make the backup for each and every item.
Once the backup is created, you have to delete the “Windows Defender” key as shown here. Don’t worry about losing files – it’s only temporary; that’s why we made a backup.
You will get a warning message that asks, “Are you sure you want to permanently delete this key and all its subkeys?” Click “Yes” to proceed.
Issue Resolved: “This Setting is Managed by Your Administrator”
Restart your system and go back to the Reputation-based protection menu. You will see that you can now enable/disable the SmartScreen freely, as the “Check apps and files” screen has been enabled once again.
Also under “Virus & Threat Protection Settings,” Real-time and Cloud protection are re-enabled.
We had deleted the registry files of Windows Defender to achieve the results. Now it’s time to restore them. For that, go back to the backup folder and double-click on the parent Windows Defender registry file first. You’ll get a warning screen asking whether you want to add files to the registry. Click “yes” to continue, and the older registry files for Windows Defender will return.
What If Windows Defender Is Turned Off?
Sometimes, in very rare cases, Windows Defender is grayed out/disabled instead of showing a connected status. Of course, you need to update your Windows system first (Step 1), which will clear the problem automatically.
If that doesn’t work, go back to the Windows Defender key and check for a “disable anti-spyware” parameter which may not be present if your system is running properly. Right-click on this to proceed.
You will get an option to “Modify,” which will take you to the following screen where the “DWord” value is to be changed from “1” to “0.”
Once you do the above modification, you should be able to access Windows Defender once again.
There are many other kinds of Windows errors which you can resolve easily. For example, some systems display a “the parameter is incorrect” error or “could not find this item” issue. If you have any other Windows 10 issues, share with us in the comments with a screenshot link.