Enable “Controlled Folder Access” Protection in Windows Defender

[Windows 10 Tip] Enable “Controlled Folder Access” Protection in Windows Defender

Many times we want to protect a folder with password so that no other person can open that folder and can't view/modify the files inside it. To password-protect a folder, we need 3rd party software.

But now Windows 10 comes with a similar feature called "Controlled Folder Access". This feature is a part of "Windows Defender Security Center" application. This feature doesn't allow users to password-protect a file or folder but with the help of this feature, you can restrict users from modifying a file or creating new files inside a protected folder.

You just need to add the desired folder to "Protected Folders" list and Windows 10 will start monitoring and protecting that folder. You can add multiple folders to the protected folders list. Now whenever an app or software program tries to modify a file present inside the protected folder or tries to create a new file inside the folder, Windows 10 will show you a notification alert. If you know the app and want to allow the app to access the protected folder, you can add the app to "Allowed App" list.

This feature adds an extra security layer to prevent unauthorized access and manipulation of your files and folders.

If you also want to protect some folders in Windows 10, following steps will help you:

1. Double-click on Windows Defender Security Center's shield icon present in Taskbar notification area (system tray). It'll open the main program window.

Windows_Defender_Security_Center_Icon_Taskbar.png

If you have removed the icon manually or don't have the icon in system tray, you can open the Windows Defender Security Center by going to Settings -> Update & Security -> Windows Defender -> Open Windows Defender Security Center option.

PS: You can also directly launch "Windows Defender Security Center" app using "windowsdefender:" command in RUN dialog box or you can open it from Start Menu -> Windows Defender Security Center.

2. After opening the program, click on "Virus & threat protection" section.

Windows_Defender_Security_Center_Windows_10.png

3. Now click on "Virus & threat protection settings" link.

Open_Virus_Threat_Protection_Settings_Windows_10.png

4. Scroll down and you'll find an option "Controlled folder access" which is turned off by default i.e. disabled.

To enable this feature, click on the toggle button given below the option name and set it to ON.

Enable_Controlled_Folder_Access_Windows_10_Defender.png

5. Now click on "Protected folders" link and on next page, you can add desired folders to the list by clicking on "Add a protected folder" button.

Add_Protected_Folder_Controlled_Folder_Access_Windows_10.png

PS: If you want to remove a folder from protected folders list, click on that folder name and then click on "Remove" button. Some system folders are always protected by this feature and you can't remove them from the list. These default protected folders are documents, pictures, videos, music, desktop and favorites.

6. Now its time to test the feature! Open an app or 3rd party software and then open a file present inside a protected folder, Windows will immediately show a notification in Action Center:

Virus & threat protection

Unauthorized changes blocked

Controlled folder access blocked <app name and full path> from making changes to the folder <protected folder name and path>

Unauthorized_Changes_Blocked_Controlled_Folder_Access_Windows_10.png

If you try to save a new file in the protected folder, you'll get following error message:

File not found.

Check the file name and try again.

7. If you want an app or software program to access a protected folder, you can add the app to whitelist i.e. exclude from the protection. To add the app to whitelist, either click on the notification message or click on "Allow an app through Controlled folder access" link given under the "Controlled folder access" option present in Windows Defender Security Center.

Now click on "Add an allowed app" button and selected desired app.

Add_Allowed_App_Controlled_Folder_Access_Windows_10.png

PS: If you want to remove an app from allowed apps list, click on that app name and then click on "Remove" button.

If you want to disable "Controlled Folder Access" feature in future, just set the toggle button mentioned in step 4 to OFF again.

Once you add an app to allowed apps list, you'll be able to access a protected folder using that app.

Source

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