How To Allow an App Through Controlled Folder Access

You can exclude or allow an app through Controlled Folder Access to change the protected files or folder. Here is how.

Using the Controlled Folder Access feature in Windows 11 and 10, you can block apps, programs, and any other malicious software like Ransomware from making unnecessary or harmful changes to protected files. If an app tries to access or modify the protected files, Controlled Folder Access will block that action immediately and shows a simple notification. For example, if your system is infected with Ransomware, it cannot encrypt files protected by Windows Security’s Controlled Folder Access feature. If you are wondering, here is how to protect files from Ransomware in Windows.

Though the feature is working as intended, at times, there might be genuine applications that need access to protected files. When the files are actively protected by Controlled Folder Access, said programs cannot make necessary modifications.

To deal with these kinds of situations, Microsoft created an exclusion list. Apps added to the exclusion list are allowed by Controlled Folder Access to make modifications.

The good thing is, it is pretty easy to allow an app through Controlled Folder Access. All you have to do is add the program’s exe file to the exclusion list, and you are good to go.

Without further ado, let me show you how to exclude or allow an app through Controlled Folder Access in Windows 11 and Windows 10.

Allow an app through Controlled Folder Access

To exclude an app or program in Controlled Folder Access, you must add the program’s exe file to the exclusion list. Since the option is included in the Controlled Folder Access tool, it is pretty easy to allow an app through it. Here is how to do it.

  1. Click the Start icon on the taskbar.
  2. Search for “Windows Security” and open it.
  3. Press on the “Virus & threat protection” option.
  4. Click on the “Manage ransomware protection” link.
  5. Press the “Allow an app through controlled folder access” link.
  6. Click on the “Add an allowed app” button.
  7. Press the “Browse all apps” option.
  8. Find the application’s exe file and select it.
  9. Click the “Open” button.
  10. The target application is added to the exclusion list.
  11. With that, you have excluded an app from Controlled Folder Access.

Same steps with a bit more detail and screenshots:

Open the Start menu by pressing the Start key on your keyboard. You can also press the Start icon on the taskbar. Next, search and open “Windows Security” in the Start menu. After opening it, click on the “Virus & threat protection” option.

open virus and treat protection

Scroll down and click on the “Manage ransomware protection” link on this page. This is where all the Controlled Folder Access options are located.

allow an app through controlled folder access

Since we want to exclude or allow an app, click on the “Allow an app through controlled folder access” link.

Now, click on the “Browse all apps” button. This option allows you to add the target app to the exclusion list.

Here, find the program’s exe file, select it, and click the “Open” button.

The program is added to the Controlled Folder Access exclusion list as soon as you do that.

That specific program can make modifications to the protected files from now on. If you have more programs to exclude, follow the same steps. That being said, be selective and careful while allowing programs through Controlled Folder Access. Only allow apps that you think are absolutely needed. The more programs you add to the exclusion, the more attack vectors will be.

That is all. It is that simple to allow an app through controlled folder access in Windows 11 and Windows 10.

I hope this quick and straightforward Windows how-to guide helped you.

If you are stuck or need some help, comment below, and I will try to help as much as possible.

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