How to Turn on Ransomware Protection in Windows 10 & 11
Windows Defender can protect critical folders from ransomware. Learn how to turn on ransomware protection in Windows 10 and 11.
Ransomware can spread and infect many systems. Ransomware is dangerous because it can encrypt all your files and hold them hostage until you pay the ransom demanded. No matter who you are or how secure you think your computer is, it is essential that you take extra steps to protect your files and folders from ransomware.
To accomplish this and protect your data, Windows Security or Windows Defender has a clever feature called “Ransomware Protection”. As the name implies, any folder you choose from the ransomware threat. Since most computers contain sensitive information such as personal photos and documents, you should consider enabling Windows ransomware protection. That way, your data will be safe.
To enable ransomware protection on Windows 10 and 11 operating systems, follow these steps.
- What is controlled folder access
- Turning on ransomware protection
The following steps are performed in the same way in Windows 10 and 11
What is Controlled Folder Access
Controlled Folder Access is a new feature added to Windows Defender. As the name implies, it protects system and user-added folders from ransomware.
Of course, there are cases where Windows Defender blocks legitimate applications from accessing protected folders.
In such cases, you can instruct Windows Defender to allow the application by adding it to the list of allowed applications.
Since no program can access the protected folders without going through Windows Defender, the data in these folders will be protected from ransomware, viruses, malware, and other malicious threats.
Related: How to enable Windows Defender Sandbox
Enabling ransomware protection
You can enable ransomware protection using the Windows Security app. Simply switch one option and you are ready to go. Here is how to do it.
- Open the Start menu.
- Locate and open “Windows Security.”
- Click on “Virus and Threat Protection.”
- Click on the “Manage Ransomware Protection” link.
- Turn on the “Controlled Folder Access” option.
- The ransomware protection is now enabled.
First open “Windows Protection”. You can find it from the Start menu.
Next, select “Virus and Threat Protection” in the left pane. In the right pane, click the “Manage Ransomware Protection” link under the “Ransomware Protection” tab.
Toggle the “Controlled Folder Access” switch to the “On” position. This will turn on the ransomware protection.
Toggle the switch to enable ransomware protection in Windows 10 and 11.
Protect folders from ransomware
By default, Windows automatically protects user folders such as documents, photos, etc. To protect user folders from ransomware, you must manually add them to “Managed Folder Access”. This is fairly simple.
To do so, open “Windows Protection”, go to “Manage Virus and Threat Protection and Protection from Ransomware” and click on the “Protected Folders” link.
Click the “Add protected folder” button to add a folder.
Navigate to where the folder is located, select it, and click the “Select Folder” button.
This completes the setup. The folder is now added to the Extortion Protection list.
You can add as many folders as you like to the Extortion Protection list by following the same procedure.
From this point on, the application will not be able to access the protected folders until Windows Defender deems it safe or you manually enable it. Each time an application is denied access to a protected folder, Windows will notify you with a notification.
If necessary, you can remove a folder from protected access by selecting the folder and clicking the Delete button.
Allow applications access to restricted folders
As said, once folders are added to access control, Windows Defender will block applications from accessing those protected folders.
However, it will not allow applications to access those protected folders.
However, it is possible to manually add programs to the allow list. This will allow the program to access the protected folders on your system. For example, I have my working folders protected with Controlled Folder Access. However, programs such as Snagit, Calmly Writer, and OneDrive need access to this folder. Therefore, I have added these applications to my allow list. Here is how to do it.
1. Go back to the Ransomware Protection screen and click on the “Allow applications with controlled folder access” link.
2. Click the “Add Allowed Applications” button
3. Two options will appear. If the application you are trying to add has just been blocked, select the “Recently blocked applications” option.
4. Click the “+” button next to the app.
5. It will be added to the list of allowed apps.
7. If the app is not in the list of recent apps, you can browse to it and add it manually. To do this, click the “Add Allowed Apps” button and the “Browse All Apps” button.
8. Browse to the app’s exe file, select it and click the “Open” button.
9. The application in question will be immediately added to the list of allowed applications.
Once added, the application can access the protected folder without restriction. Do not give an application access to a protected folder if you do not need it. Also, remember that applications in the allowed applications list can access all protected folders in the controlled folder access list.
This completes our work. It is as easy as enabling and configuring ransomware protection in Windows 10 and 11.
We hope this simple and easy guide to working with Windows has been helpful.
If you get stuck or need help, send us an email and we will do our best to help.
Image credit: Christiaan Colen – Cryptolocker Ransomware