Privacy and Security Enable or Disable Controlled Folder Access for Microsoft Defender Antivirus in Windows 11


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Microsoft Defender Antivirus is an antivirus software that is included in Windows 11 and can help protect your device from viruses, malware, and other threats.

Controlled folder access helps protect your valuable data from malicious apps and threats, such as ransomware. In a ransomware attack, your files can get encrypted and held hostage.

Controlled folder access protects your data by checking apps against a list of known, trusted apps. With controlled folder access in place, a notification appears on the computer where an app attempted to make changes to a file in a protected folder.

Controlled folder access works by only allowing trusted apps to access protected folders. Protected folders are specified when controlled folder access is configured. Typically, commonly used folders, such as those used for documents, pictures, downloads, and so on, are included in the list of controlled folders.

Controlled folder access works with a list of trusted apps. Apps that are included in the list of trusted software work as expected. Apps that are not included in the list are prevented from making any changes to files inside protected folders.

Apps are added to the list based upon their prevalence and reputation. Apps that are highly prevalent and that have never displayed any behavior deemed malicious are considered trustworthy. Those apps are added to the list automatically. You can also manually allow apps to give them access to the protected folders.

This tutorial will show you how to enable or disable Controlled Folder Access for Microsoft Defender Antivirus in Windows 11.


You must be signed in as an administrator to turn on/off or enable/disable Controlled Folder Access for Microsoft Defender Antivirus.

Controlled Folder Access requires turning on Real-time Protection.



Contents

  • Option One: Turn On or Off Controlled Folder Access for Microsoft Defender Antivirus in Windows Security
  • Option Two: Turn On or Off Controlled Folder Access for Microsoft Defender Antivirus using Command
  • Option Three: Enable or Disable Controlled Folder Access for Microsoft Defender Antivirus in Local Group Policy Editor
  • Option Four: Enable or Disable Controlled Folder Access for Microsoft Defender Antivirus using REG file





OPTION ONE

Turn On or Off Controlled Folder Access for Microsoft Defender Antivirus in Windows Security


1 Open Windows Security.

2 Click/tap on Virus & threat protection. (see screenshot below)

Microsoft_Defender_Controlled_Folder_Access-1.png

3 Perform one of the following actions below: (see screenshots below)
  • Click/tap on the Manage ransomware protection link under Ransomware protection.
  • Click/tap on the Manage settings link under Virus & threat protection settings, and click/tap on the Manage Controlled folder access link under Controlled folder access.

Microsoft_Defender_Controlled_Folder_Access-2.png
Microsoft_Defender_Controlled_Folder_Access-3.png

4 Turn On or Off (default) Controlled folder access for what you want. (see screenshots below)

Microsoft_Defender_Controlled_Folder_Access-4.png
Microsoft_Defender_Controlled_Folder_Access-5.png

5 If prompted by UAC, click/tap on Yes to approve.

6 You can now close Windows Security if you like.





OPTION TWO

Turn On or Off Controlled Folder Access for Microsoft Defender Antivirus using Command


1 Open Windows Terminal (Admin), and select either Windows PowerShell or Command Prompt.

2 Copy and paste the command below you want to use into Windows Terminal (Admin), and press Enter. (see screenshots below)

(Turn On Controlled Folder Access)
PowerShell Set-MpPreference -EnableControlledFolderAccess Enabled

OR​

(Default - Turn Off Controlled Folder Access)
PowerShell Set-MpPreference -EnableControlledFolderAccess Disabled

3 You can now close Windows Terminal (Admin) if you like.

Microsoft_Defender_Controlled_Folder_Access_command_ON.png

Microsoft_Defender_Controlled_Folder_Access_command_OFF.png






OPTION THREE

Enable or Disable Controlled Folder Access for Microsoft Defender Antivirus in Local Group Policy Editor


The Local Group Policy Editor is only available in the Windows 11 Pro, Enterprise, and Education editions.

All editions can use Option Four for the same policy.


1 Open the Local Group Policy Editor (gpedit.msc).

2 Navigate to the policy location below in the left pane of the Local Group Policy Editor. (see screenshot below)

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

Microsoft_Defender_Controlled_Folder_Access_gpedit-1.png

3 In the right pane of Controlled folder access in the Local Group Policy Editor, double click/tap on the Configure Controlled folder access policy to edit it. (see screenshot above)

4 Do step 5 (always enable), step 6 (disable), or step 7 (default) below for what you want.


5 Always Enable Controlled Folder Access for Microsoft Defender Antivirus

This will disable and prevent using Option One and Option Two.


A) Select (dot) Enabled. (see screenshot below)​

B) Select Block in the Configure the guard my folders feature drop menu under Options.​

C) Click/tap on OK, and go to step 8 below.​

Microsoft_Defender_Controlled_Folder_Access_gpedit-3.png

6 Disable Controlled Folder Access for Microsoft Defender Antivirus

This will disable and prevent using Option One and Option Two.


A) Select (dot) Enabled. (see screenshot below)​

B) Select Disable (Default) in the Configure the guard my folders feature drop menu under Options.​

C) Click/tap on OK, and go to step 8 below.​

Microsoft_Defender_Controlled_Folder_Access_gpedit-4.png

7 Default Controlled Folder Access for Microsoft Defender Antivirus

This is the default setting to allow using Option One and Option Two.


A) Select (dot) Not Configured. (see screenshot below)​

B) Click/tap on OK, and go to step 8 below.​

Microsoft_Defender_Controlled_Folder_Access_gpedit-2.png

8 You can now close the Local Group Policy Editor if you like.





OPTION FOUR

Enable or Disable Controlled Folder Access for Microsoft Defender Antivirus using REG file


1 Do step 2 (always enable), step 3 (disable), or step 4 (default) below for what you want.

2 Always Enable Controlled Folder Access for Microsoft Defender Antivirus

This will disable and prevent using Option One and Option Two.


A) Click/tap on the Download button below to download the file below, and go to step 5 below.​

Always_Enable_Controlled_Folder_Access.reg


(Contents of REG file for reference)
Code:
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender\Windows Defender Exploit Guard\Controlled Folder Access]
"EnableControlledFolderAccess"=dword:00000001

3 Disable Controlled Folder Access for Microsoft Defender Antivirus

This will disable and prevent using Option One and Option Two.


A) Click/tap on the Download button below to download the file below, and go to step 5 below.​

Disable_Controlled_Folder_Access.reg


(Contents of REG file for reference)
Code:
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender\Windows Defender Exploit Guard\Controlled Folder Access]
"EnableControlledFolderAccess"=dword:00000000

4 Default Controlled Folder Access for Microsoft Defender Antivirus

This is the default setting to allow using Option One and Option Two.


A) Click/tap on the Download button below to download the file below, and go to step 5 below.​

Default_Controlled_Folder_Access.reg


(Contents of REG file for reference)
Code:
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender\Windows Defender Exploit Guard\Controlled Folder Access]
"EnableControlledFolderAccess"=-

5 Save the .reg file to your desktop.

6 Double click/tap on the downloaded .reg file to merge it.

7 When prompted, click/tap on Run, Yes (UAC), Yes, and OK to approve the merge.

8 You can now delete the downloaded .reg file if you like.


That's it,
Shawn Brink


 

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