How To Enable And Use Controlled Folder Access Feature On Windows 10 Creators Update?
Ransomware is a type of malware (malicious code that infiltrates computers) that prevents computer users from accessing their systems. Ransomware usually locks the system screen or files and demands payment of a ransom. It can encrypt certain files on your system and then encourage you to pay the ransom to receive a decryption key through various online payment methods. Ransomware victims are often notified about the situation and given instructions on how to regain access to their systems and files.
Ransomware can be downloaded to your system without your knowledge if you visit untrusted, malicious, or compromised websites. Some ransomware can get into your system via emails containing spam, malicious advertisements on webpages, infected apps, etc. It is nearly impossible to stop ransomware attacks, but there are some ways to increase protection against them. Backup your devices and update your antivirus software frequently. Be aware of clicking suspicious links and opening email attachments from unknown users.
If you are using Windows 10 with Creators Update, then you will be safer, since Microsoft has released a new feature called "Controlled Folder Access". This feature prevents unauthorized access to files and folders by locking them and allowing access only to authorized applications. Controlled Folder Access feature protects your files in real-time so that ransomware and other unwanted, unauthorized software cannot access them. This feature protects common folders on your primary storage by default, but you can add additional folders to be protected or exclude folders from the protected files list. Note that the Controlled Folder Access feature requires you to have Windows Defender real-time protection enabled, otherwise it will not work. Furthermore, you must not use any other third-party antivirus programs.
If you have updated Windows 10 to Creators Update, have not used this feature, and have not yet been affected by ransomware, you can start using it immediately. In this article, we show you how.
Table of Contents:
- How To Enable Controlled Folder Access In Windows Defender Security Center
- How To Add Protected Folders
- How To Allow Apps Through Controlled Folder Access
- How To Enable And Configure Controlled Folder Access Feature Using PowerShell
- Video Showing How To Enable And Use Controlled Folder Access Feature On Windows 10
How To Enable Controlled Folder Access In Windows Defender Security Center
Open Windows Defender Security Center. You can access it by typing "defender" in Search and clicking the "Windows Defender Security Center" result.
In the Security Center window, click "Virus & threat protection".
Then, click "Virus & threat protection settings".
In the Virus & threat protection settings window, scroll down to find "Controlled Folder Access", toggle the switch to turn it on. You will be asked if you want to allow this app to make changes to your device. Click "Yes".
This feature will now be turned on and will protect your files and folders from unauthorized access by ransomware and other malicious programs. As mentioned before, this feature protects common files and folders by default, but you may wish to add more files and folders to the protection list.
How To Add Protected Folders
If you want to protect more folders with this feature, click "Protected Folders" below the switch.
In the Protected folders window, you will see the list of files currently protected and an "Add a protection folder" icon. Click the icon and then navigate through your Windows system to find the folder you want to add. You can add as many folders as you wish.
If you want to remove a folder previously added, click the folder and select "Remove".
How To Allow Apps Through Controlled Folder Access
This feature usually knows which apps are trustworthy enough to access your files. There might, however, be some apps that you know are trustworthy, despite being deemed unfriendly by this feature. In this case, you to need to assign access of your files to those apps manually. To allow apps through the Controlled folder access feature, click "Allow an app through Controlled folder access" under the "On/Off" switch.
Click "Add an allowed app" and navigate through your Windows system to find the app you want to add as an 'allowed app'.
If you no longer want to allow a certain app to access your files or folders, just select the app and click "Remove".
How To Enable And Configure Controlled Folder Access Feature Using PowerShell
You can also enable and disable this feature using PowerShell commands, add or remove folders, and also allow specific apps to access your files. To open PowerShell, type "powershell" in Search and right-click on the "PowerShell" result. In drop-down menu, select "Run as administrator".
The PowerShell window will appear. To enable the Control folder access feature, type the following command: "Set-MpPreference -EnableControlledFolderAccess Enabled" and press Enter on your keyboard. You can disable it using the same command, but changing "Enabled" to "Disabled" at the end of the command.
If you want to add a file or folder to be protected, type in this command with the file or folder location at the end (in our example, "D:\folder\files\"):
Add-MpPreference -ControlledFolderAccessProtectedFolders "D:\folder\files"
If you want to remove a file or folder, type in this command and with its location at the end:
Disable-MpPreference -ControlledFolderAccessProtectedFolders "D:\folder\files"
If you want a specific app that you trust to access your files and folders, type this command and indicate its location at the end: Add-MpPreference -ControlledFolderAccessAllowedApplications "D:\folder\files\app\app.exe"
If you want to remove a specific app, type this command and indicate its location at the end: Remove-MpPreference -ControlledFolderAccessAllowedApplications "D:\folder\files\app\app.exe"
Video Showing How To Enable And Use Controlled Folder Access Feature On Windows 10: