Enable Ransomware Protection for Windows 10

Ransomware has, as of recently, become one of the most lucrative types cyberattacks to hit the World Wide Web. These past couple of years have seen the number of ransomware attacks grow in frequency and sophistication. This type of cyberattack works by infecting users’ PCs and denying them access to their device or files unless a ransom is paid.

Controlled folder access is a component of Windows Defender that restricts applications from making modifications to certain protected folders. In this guide, we will outline the steps to enable Controlled Folder Access, whitelist apps and add protected folders.

Before we begin, note that Controlled folder access was introduced in Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 16232. To ensure that this feature is available to you, verify that you are running the latest Windows Insider build. Once you have verified that you have the latest updates for Windows 10, you can follow the steps below.

Enable Controlled Folder Access
1. Go to Settings -> Update & Security -> Windows Defender

2. On the Windows Defender screen, click Open Windows Defender to open the Windows Defender Security Center

3. On the left side of the Windows Defender Security Center screen, go to Virus & threat protection (the icon that looks like a shield) and click Virus and threat protection settings.
4. Now scroll down to Controlled folder access and toggle the switch to the “On” position.

Whitelist an App
Under the Controlled folder access section simply:
1. Click on the Allow an app through Controlled folder access option followed by Add an allowed app (+).

2. Now navigate to the location of the app you would like to have whitelisted.
Using this option will allow you to specify apps that you would like to exempt from the Controlled folder access restriction.

Add a Protected Folder
Under the Controlled folder access section simply:
1. Click on the Protected folders option followed by Add a protected folder (+).

2. Now navigate to the location of the folder you wish to protect by restricting access.

Note that existing Windows library folders like Desktop, Documents, Pictures, Videos, and Music are already set by default and cannot be removed. Adding additional folders that contain important information is crucial in the defense against ransomware attacks.