How To Protect Windows 10 PC From Ransomware

In this tutorial, you will learn how to protect your files, apps, and data on Windows 10 against ransomware. Microsoft offers built-in tools to counter dangerous threats posed by ransomware. The Windows Defender antivirus utility protects your device from ransomware through its Controlled folder feature. Here is how to enable ransomware protection, configure it to protect apps and folders against ransomware.

Windows Defender Antivirus is the default security & protection software on all genuine copies of Windows 10. It acts as a bulwark to thwart viruses, malware, spyware, and other threats, including ransomware from compromising your device’s integrity. The overall package excels at keeping you safe during online browsing sessions. To double down on security, Windows Defender Antivirus now has Controlled folder access feature to stop malicious threats like ransomware in their tracks.

ransomware threat protection windows 10

The new Controlled Access feature monitors the changes apps make to your folders and files. As soon as the app tries to engage in suspicious activity to alter your files, it gets blocked and blacklisted on the spot. You will get instant notifications about any harmful task that tries to run in the background without your knowledge.

Read more: Download Windows 10 Version 1809 Update Assistant Tool [October 2018 Update]

In the guide below, see the steps to enable Controlled folder and how to configure access in Windows Defender Antivirus to protect your Windows 10 device and data against ransomware.

Enable Ransomware Protection on PC Windows 10

  • Launch Windows Defender Security Center.
  • Click on Virus & threat protection.
  • Click the Ransomware protection link.

ransomware protection windows 10

  • Enable the Controlled folder access toggle switch.

ransomware protection settings

Once all of the above steps are completed, Windows Defender will start active monitoring of your protected folders and block any attempt by apps to make changes to them. You will be notified if a suspicious activity takes place.

Also read: How To Remove Pending Windows 10 Updates

Enable Ransomware Protection for Apps on Windows 10

This feature basically is about letting you decided which apps can make changes to your files. However, sometimes, allowed apps can get blocked by the Controlled folder access feature. In that happens, here are the steps to manually grant a particular app to access your folders.

  • Open Windows Defender Security Center.
  • Click on Virus & threat protection.
  • Click the Ransomware protection link.
  • Click the Allow an app through Controlled folder access link.
  • Click the Add an allowed app button to find and allow the app.

allow app in controlled folder access

Protect Folders Against Ransomware on Windows 10

Default settings of Controlled folder access protect the Documents, Movies, Desktop folders, and Pictures. These are essential and cannot be removed from the list. That said, you can add additional folders and locations to the list to enable protection against ransomware and other malware threats.

  • Open Windows Defender Security Center.
  • Go to Virus & threat protection and click the Ransomware protection link.
  • Now click the Protected folders link.
  • After that click the Add a protected folder button to set additional folder locations you want to protect on Windows 10.

protected folder setting

The new ransomware protection feature is available on the Windows 10 April 2018 Update (1803) and later versions.

Update: The new location to find this option in settings in the April 2018 Fall Creators Update is Windows Defender Security Center > Virus & threat protection > Virus & threat protection settings.

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