Security is a number one topic these days. Heck, it has been for decades now. Adding any new layer of security to your computer system seems like a good idea. Enter Controlled Folder Access. Introduced in Windows 1709, you can enable this security feature to help protect your files from ransomware and any other malware that the scumbags of the earth would try to foist upon you. And there are a lot of scumbags out there. If you use a 10% rule of bad guys versus good guys ratio (I’m being generous), that means there are ~800,000,000 scumbags surrounding us. That’s quite a few. Controlled Folder Access isn’t enabled by default so this Quick Tips article will show you how to turn this feature on in Windows 10.
- Check out all Windows 10 Quick Tips articles
Getting To The Setting
First off, if you are using a third-party antivirus program, then Windows Defender should not be running. Without it running, I would say that Controlled Folder Access will not be available to you. You don’t want to have two AV programs running at the same time– they conflict with each other and can cause instability and poor responsiveness of your system. In other words, slow-downs.
- Use Windows key + I to open the Settings App
- Choose Update & Security
- In the left pane, choose Windows Security
- Choose Virus & threat protection
- In the window that opens, scroll down and choose Manage ransomware protection (it’s a link in the Ransomware protection section)
That should bring you here:
Once you enable the Controlled Folder Access feature, the effects are immediate. Windows Defender will start monitoring changes in real-time to the default protected folders and will block any disallowed programs that try to change them. This can be unpleasant for those who have never used a firewall before, and even for those of us who have.
Note: Windows chooses some software that will have access to these folders by default. If it didn’t, you would become a basket case in no time and in need of immediate psychiatric care.
Here’s what happens. A piece of software that you’ve been using for years suddenly can’t access the Pictures folder. Windows Defender will notify you that a program has tried to alter and/or access this protected folder. Your only recourse is to add it to a list of software that is allowed to access this particular folder. If you don’t, then it won’t work anymore in the way you are accustomed to. This can be a real pain in the neck in the beginning (thank you a large pile, scumbags) but it is a necessary evil if you want to add this extra protection to your system.
Thankfully, you only have to tell Windows one time and it will “remember” your choices. The notifications will become less frequent as time goes on as Windows “learns” which programs you want to allow. After a time, you will forget you ever enabled this feature and things should return to near normal. I say “near” normal because if you install new programs then, well…
Windows Defender protects some folders by default. You can see which ones by clicking the Protected folders link shown in the previous image. That will bring you here:
You can click on a folder to remove it from the list and you can Add a protected folder, too. This gives you some control over the control.
Note: I’ve read that some folders cannot be removed. So much for all that control… bliss can sometimes die quickly.
This is a great way to further protect yourself from the aforementioned slimy, despicable, waste-of-human-flesh, scumbags. At first, it can be a truly cumbersome nuisance but rest assured, in the end, you will have secured your system one bit more. And that’s a good thing.
As always, if you have any helpful suggestions, comments or questions, please share them with us,