How to prevent or allow applications to access the file system under Windows 10

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When you install applications on your Windows 10 PC, they need access to your file system, i.e. hard disk space, to store files regularly. However, it is a problem to give them full access to memory. Windows 10 v1803 or later, you can prevent installed applications from accessing the file system. This ensures that applications are not able to access files of your documents, images, OneDrive, etc. without asking you.

This is part of the privacy enhancements that Microsoft provides for Windows 10 so that you can control each individual privilege set. Let’s see how you can control it.

Lock file system access on this device

First lets Settings > Privacy > File System open. There are two ways to do this.

If you leave this option enabled, users of this device can choose on their configuration page whether their applications have access to all their files, including their local OneDrive documents, images, videos and files. However, denial of authorization prevents applications from accessing a person’s file

This is useful if you do not have very intelligent users on your PC and you can manage it for them. The default option is Allowed. If you want to turn it off, click the Edit button and then turn it off.

Remember that disabling affects the entire operating system and each user.

Disable file system access under Windows 10

Assuming you have enabled file system access for all, anyone can disable file system access under Windows 10, i.e. documents, images, OneDrive, etc. individually as follows :

  • Go to Settings > Privacy > File System.
  • Disable option Allows applications to access your file system.

If you enable it, you can control access to the file system individually for specific applications. That’s what I would recommend you do with applications you don’t trust. Each listed application has its own switch, and you can enable or disable it according to your choice.

You may not see the applications listed, but it is a good idea to keep a tab on this section in a file only once to protect your files from applications that misuse them.

Disable access to images, videos and documents separately

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You can also view other settings for images, documents and videos under Privacy. You get a list of applications they can access and you can turn them off. It’s exactly the same as the file system, but more granular. You can choose to disable globally or for each application.

Always make smart decisions when disabling access to the file system or individual applications. They protect privacy, but sometimes they need access to it to provide the best possible experience.

Let us know how you find this feature!

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