How to Allow App through Controlled folder access in Windows 11

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This post shows students and new users steps to allow apps through controlled folder access with Microsoft Defender Antivirus in Windows 11. Controlled folder access helps protect your valuable data from malicious apps and threats, such as ransomware.

Occasionally, an app that is safe to use will be identified as harmful and blocked from accessing protected folders with Microsoft Defender Antivirus. When that happens, you can add the app to the list of safe or allowed apps to prevent it from being blocked next time.

Adding apps to access protected folders can be helpful in protecting your data since only known apps can go through Microsoft Defender Antivirus controlled folder access. Ransomware apps will also be blocked by default preventing your data from being encrypted and lock by bad actors in Windows 11.

Below is how to configure apps access to your protected folders so that unauthorized or unsafe apps do not change files in those folders.

How to allow apps through controlled folder access in Windows 11

As mentioned above, Controlled folder access helps protect your valuable data from malicious apps and threats, such as ransomware.

You can add apps that are being blocked to protected folders in Windows 11. Below is how to configure apps for access.

Allow apps through controlled access folder:

In the search box on the taskbar, type Windows Security and then select Windows Security in the list of results.

open windows security app

In Windows Security, select Virus & threat protection.

open windows virus and protection

On the Virus & threat protection settings page, under Ransomware protection, select Manage ransomware settings.

windows 11 controlled folder access turn on

Change the Controlled folder access setting to On or Off.

windows 11 turn on controlled access folder

Under, Controlled folder access, click on the link that reads: Allow an app through Controlled folder access as highlighted below:

windows 11 allow app through protected folders

Click on Add a protected folder button, navigate to and select the program executable you want to add, and click on Open.

To remove a folder from the list, select it and click Remove.

windows 11 allow app through protected folder button

How to enable or disable cloud-delivered protection in Group policy

In Windows 11, open Local Group Policy Editor by clicking on the Start menu and searching for Edit group policy as highlighted below. Under Best match, select Edit group policy to launch Local Group Policy Editor.

windows 11 edit group policy

In the left pane of Local Group Policy Editor, expand the tree: 

Computer Configuration>Administrative Templates>Windows Components>Microsoft Defender Antivirus>Microsoft Defender Exploit Guard>Controlled folder access

In the Controlled Folder Access details pane on right, local and double-click Configure allowed applications.

windows 11 controlled folder access allow app gpo

Set Configure allowed applications setting option to Enabled.

In the options section you must specify one of the following Select Show, and specify each folder that you want to protect.

windows 11 allow app folder folders

Specify each folder you want to protect on each line. An example is listed below. Enter the path of the folder under Value name and the Value data should be 0.

windows 11 allow apps folder controlled access

Select OK.

Close Local Group Policy Editor.

That should do it!

Conclusion:

This post showed you how allow apps through Microsoft Defender controlled folder access in Windows 11. If you find any error above or have something to add, please use the comment form below.

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