Windows Defender protects against ransomware

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Windows 10’s built-in protection against ransomware (ransomware) is not turned on automatically. Turn it on yourself.


Microsoft Defender, Windows 10’s antivirus, also protects against ransomware (ransomware). With ransomware, a virus infects the PC and blocks files. The files are only released again if the victim pays or manages to remove the blockage himself via a digital key. There is a solution for some variants, but not for others. Preventing contamination is therefore important!

Ransomware spreads through infected websites and emails. If you are afraid of infection, turn on Windows Defender to protect your PC against ransomware. By the way, only use Defender if there is no other antivirus program on the PC. Only one antivirus program should be running at a time. Enable ransomware protection like this:

  • Click the Start button.
  • click on Institutions.
  • click on Update and Security.
  • Click in the menu on the left Windows Security > Open Windows Security (in the middle). A new window opens.
  • click on Virus & Threat Protection.
  • Under Ransomware Protection, click Manage Ransomware Protection.
  • Set the slider under ‘Controlled folder access’ to ‘On’ by clicking on it.
  • click on Yes.
  • By default, all default folders such as ‘Documents’, ‘Pictures’ and ‘Downloads’ are now protected.
  • If you have created folders outside of those default folders, you can add them.
    • click on Protected Folders > Yes.
    • click on Add a secure folder
    • Click on a folder, for example ‘Desktop’.
    • click on Select folder.
    • If necessary, repeat this for several folders.
  • Click on the arrow at the top left to return to the overview.

Built-in ransomware protection warns you if programs want to change files on your PC. Sometimes so enthusiastic that even safe programs are blocked. This can be annoying if, for example, the image editor can no longer save images. Then add the app or program to the safe apps within Defender. Read how to do this in the tip ‘Add safe programs to Defender’.

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