Protect important folders with Controlled folder access
- Windows 10, version 1709 and later
- Windows Server 2016
- Enterprise security administrators
Manageability available with
- Windows Defender Security Center app
- Group Policy
- Configuration service providers for mobile device management
Controlled folder access helps you protect valuable data from malicious apps and threats, such as ransomware.
It is part of Windows Defender Exploit Guard.
You can also visit the Windows Defender Testground website at demo.wd.microsoft.com to confirm the feature is working and see how it works.
Controlled folder access works best with Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection - which gives you detailed reporting into Windows Defender EG events and blocks as part of the usual alert investigation scenarios.
All apps (any executable file, including .exe, .scr, .dll files and others) are assessed by Windows Defender Antivirus, which then determines if the app is malicious or safe. If the app is determined to be malicious or suspicious, then it will not be allowed to make changes to any files in any protected folder.
This is especially useful in helping to protect your documents and information from ransomware that can attempt to encrypt your files and hold them hostage.
A notification will appear on the computer where the app attempted to make changes to a protected folder. You can customize the notification with your company details and contact information. You can also enable the rules individually to customize what techniques the feature monitors.
As with other features of Windows Defender Exploit Guard, you can use audit mode to evaluate how Controlled folder access would impact your organization if it were enabled.
|Windows 10 version||Windows Defender Antivirus|
|Windows 10 version 1709 or later||Windows Defender AV real-time protection must be enabled|
Review Controlled folder access events in Windows Event Viewer
You can review the Windows event log to see events that are created when Controlled folder access blocks (or audits) an app:
Download the Exploit Guard Evaluation Package and extract the file cfa-events.xml to an easily accessible location on the machine.
Type Event viewer in the Start menu to open the Windows Event Viewer.
On the left panel, under Actions, click Import custom view...
Navigate to where you extracted cfa-events.xml and select it. Alternatively, copy the XML directly.
This will create a custom view that filters to only show the following events related to Controlled folder access:
|5007||Event when settings are changed|
|1124||Audited Controlled folder access event|
|1123||Blocked Controlled folder access event|
In this section
|Evaluate Controlled folder access||Use a dedicated demo tool to see how Controlled folder access works, and what events would typically be created.|
|Enable Controlled folder access||Use Group Policy, PowerShell, or MDM CSPs to enable and manage Controlled folder access in your network|
|Customize Controlled folder access||Add additional protected folders, and allow specified apps to access protected folders.|