I am developing a Free and Open-Source software (C++). When I download my own application from a web link, Microsoft Smart Screen and Google Chrome are getting in the way since it comes from and "Unknown Publisher".

What are my options to spare my future users from this warning?

1 Answer 1


You have to buy a "Code Signing Certificate". Vendors include Comodo or Godaddy, it costs about $150 to $200. You can make installation packages with it for 1 year. The installation package itself has no expiration date (also look up timestamp option).

Some famous freeware products don't have certificates, but they are allowed through because lots of people download them so they are trusted. With your product, you have to convince lots of people to download them until smart screen eventually leaves it alone.

Alternatively, you can put your product in a zip package, but Windows still gives it a hard time.

  • Thank you. I am aware of those solutions however I was wondering if there was something else I could do. Also, WinRAR works better for obfuscating content.
    – Xenhat
    Feb 23, 2015 at 6:16
  • There isn't any other way. In your case you have a free open-source application, you can just release it in *.rar format. Also as you may know, Windows freaks out if you install to "c:\Program Files" directory, or any other protected directory, therefore get your installation package to target non-protected directories and registry keys, this way the installer will not require elevated access. Personally I hate granting elevated access to any program unless it is signed by a reputable company. But I don't mind downloading zip or rar packages. Mar 1, 2015 at 3:20
  • How should the maintainer of a free application for Windows recover the "$150 to $200"? Dec 23, 2016 at 18:08

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.