When it comes to installing unknown programs and files on your computer, you need to be very careful. These programs pose real threats to your computer and you may very well be unintentionally giving a malicious program access to your computer. The good thing about computers running on the Windows operating systems is that they have an automatic process that will not only screen for a valid electronic signature, but if the signature is missing or invalid then it will not allow you to run or install them.

This built in feature for the Windows OS may serve as a shield to protect many normal users, but for the advanced users they may find this bothersome. If you are want to install files without electronic signatures then first you should understand what they are and why the signatures are there before you enable them.

What is a digital signature?

Many of you may not completely understand what an electronic signature is and how this pertains to the actual program or file that you are attempting to run. This signature is actually an electronic security mark that is added to executable files. You have never met the person that created and published the program you are trying to run, and you don’t know who has possibly tampered with the program after it was published. You don’t know what these people’s intentions are, what they are capable of doing, and what they will do if they have any access to your information or computer. Due to these uncertainties, the publishers of these programs and files should have a valid digital signature and if they are tampered with after it was published, or if no signature was ever put on in the beginning, then your computer will alert you before running it.

Unfortunately a digital signature does not guarantee that the contents of the file, or the program, are not intended to harm your computer. That is a decision you must make and it is recommended that you research any suspicious programs or files before allowing them access to your computer.

How to enable and disable the feature that blocks unsigned programs/files

There are three different methods you can try to allow your computer to disable this feature. As the user you need to be aware that you may be exposing your computer to harmful programs and files by doing so.

  • Method one – Open ‘Internet Explorer’, open ‘Internet Explorer Menu Toolbar’, select ‘Tools’, select ‘Internet Options’, go to the ‘Advanced’ tab. Scroll down and check ‘Allow software to run or install even if the signature is invalid’. To reverse this, simply repeat these steps and uncheck the option at the end.
  • Method two– Go to ‘Start’, go to ‘Run’, type in ‘regedit’ in the text box, click ‘OK’, find ‘HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Non-Driver Signing’ in the registry, right click on ‘Policy’, select ‘Modify’. Change the current value and put in a ‘0’ then click ‘OK’.
  • Method three– Press the ‘F8’ key when your computer is booting up. Select ‘Disable Driver Signature enforcement’ for that boot session, then when your computer starts up for that session you will be able to download programs without signatures. You have to do this each time you start up though.

 

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