You turned on Controlled Folder thinking that you can add an extra layer to your PCs ( and it does) but then it annoys the user by showing the notification with the message Unauthorised changes blocked (Controlled folder access blocked) and also stop the said app or software or program from executing its action properly and adds it in the blocklist.
This happens not only for malicious programs but also for non-harmful programs like NotePad ++ and Paint. It also interferes with the Windows installer program which tries to host any file in the folder which are protected by Controlled Folder and displays the message, “Controlled Folder Access blocked C:\Program FI…\svschost.exe from making changes to the folder %userprofile%\Documents”.
After this message, the installation process stops or if you have previously installed that app which you were installing then it will get added to the blacklist.
If you are also the one who is facing this issue and you are not able to run your apps and programs properly then you are at the right place, in this fixing guide, I will show you all the fixes using which you can fix this issue.
What is a Controlled Folder in Windows?
A controlled Folder is a feature that is available with Microsoft Windows Defender Antivirus Software Program. It is an intrusion-prevention feature that is designed to stop ransomware from encrypting certain folders and taking your data hostage. When turned on it includes the following folder by default:
c:\Users\<username>\Documents c:\Users\Public\Documents c:\Users\<username>\Pictures c:\Users\Public\Pictures c:\Users\Public\Videos c:\Users\<username>\Videos c:\Users\<username>\Music c:\Users\Public\Music c:\Users\<username>\Favorites
You can also add other folders to this list if you feel that you do not want to store your data in these folders.
Along with the primary function of protecting these folders from ransomware attacks, it also protects these folders from unwanted changes in them from other malicious applications.
Why is the Controlled Folder Access Blocked popping up?
Windows Defender Controlled Folder Access will block write access by an app that it considers malicious or not-trusted. If such an app tries to make changes to the files in the protected folder then the app will be blacklisted and you will get a notification about the attempt of that app.
You will see the message, “Unauthorized changes blocked” in the notification area of your desktop as shown below:
That message will display the app name and the folder in which the app was trying to make changes.
Fix Protected (Controlled) folder access blocked?
The Controlled Folder Access blocked issue can be solved by running over to the following fixes:
1. Scan for Viruses & Malware
This guide contains various solutions to fix the issue of controller folder access being blocked. But before proceeding to those fixes run a thorough scan of your PC so that any suspicious program or malicious program can be detected which may be causing this issue. We recommend the Restoro tool for this.
Restoro is a complex Windows system repair solution that scans your PC for various issues and fixes all critical system files and registry errors, as well as the damage left by viruses (not antivirus software). With a few clicks, the program frees up space on your disk and restores all compromised Windows settings to their default value.
Here is how you can perform this action:
1. Download Restoro.
2. Install and launch it.
3. Run the scan and let Restoro find any system stability issues and possible malware infections.
4. Press Start Repair.
5. Restart your PC for all the changes to take effect.
Restoro’s technology replaces severely damaged Windows system files with clean, up-to-date ones from its secure online database. You can allow it to perform this action without harming your user data.
This is the ideal all-in-one tool for fixing Windows errors, PC crashes, or registry issues. It can boost the performance of your device and make it more secure within a few minutes.
2. Grant controlled folder access to the app
There is an option in the Controlled Folder to add an exclusion folder or an app to the list for Controlled Folder Access. This is also called a Whitelist.
Just as you can complement the protected folders with an additional folder path, you can also add (Whitelist) the apps that you want to allow access to those folders. For this first, you need to verify the app if it is legitimate or not. Here is how you can do that:
1. When you receive a notification for Controlled Folder Access Blocked then it also displays the name of the program which is being blocked.
2. Open the Internet Browser and search for the app to find out if it is trustworthy or not.
3. For example in our case Controlled Folder Blocked the third-party text editor program Notepad++ from saving files to the desktop.
D:\Tools\NPP\notepad++.exe has been blocked from modifying %desktopdirectory%\ by Controlled Folder Access.
(We get to know about this from the notification itself. But there are many apps that may have been blacklisted before. Here we have also shown how to add previously blocked apps to the whitelist)
4. We also saw this in our Event log entry (Event ID: 1123) which was generated for the blocked event. You can find it here:
Applications and Services Logs > Microsoft > Windows > Windows Defender > Operational
To add this app to the whitelist do the steps shown below.
1. Open Start and earch for Virus & threat protection in the search bar of the Start menu.
2. Under the Ransomware protection section, click the Manage ransomware protection option.
3. On the next page click on Allow an app through the Controlled Folder access option.
4. After that click on Add an allowed app button then from the drop-down menu click on the Recently blocked apps option to whitelist an app you trust has been flagged as malicious or Browse all apps if you want to select an app from the app installed on your PC.
5. Select the app from the list of blocked apps.
6. I selected the Notepad++ app from the list of apps.
This way you can add all the apps which you don’t want to be blocked from the controlled access folder.
How to View the list of all the blocked apps using Command Prompt
You can also view the list of all the blocked apps using the command prompt.
1. Open the command prompt and type the following command:
wevtutil qe "Microsoft-Windows-Windows Defender/Operational" /q:"*[System[(EventID=1123)]]" /c:15 /f:text /rd:true | findstr /i "process name:"
2. After typing the above-mentioned command press Enter
3. As soon as you hit enter the command prompt will provide you the list of all the blocked apps.
You can add the apps by identifying their threat level to the whitelist.
3. Ignore the message
If you don’t want to add apps to the whitelist and the Protected folder access blocked notification does not bother you then you can just ignore it.
4. Disable control folder access
If you do not want this notification to bother you again and again and also don’t want Controlled folder access to interrupt your working then you can just disable the Controlled folder access. It’s just a cup of tea to disable Controlled Folder access. Here is how you can do that:
1. Search for Virus & threat protection in the search bar of the Start Menu and click on Open.
2. Under the Ransomware protection section, click on the Manage ransomware protection option.
3. On the Ransomware protection page Turn off the Controlled folder access toggle switch.
Once you complete the steps, Microsoft Defender Antivirus will start protecting your files and folders from unauthorized access by malicious programs like ransomware.
Some features of Windows 11 & Windows 10 are very advantageous when it comes to security but at the same time they can be very annoying too & Controlled Folder access is one of them but by taking certain measures you can use it without getting annoyed. This guide tried to do that in the easiest possible way. I hope you like that.