How to Set Windows Security Exclusions in Windows 11

If Windows 11 crashes an app, don’t worry. It’s very easy to make an exception and skip your favorite programs.

Windows Security is Windows 11‘s antivirus utility that scans files and processes in the background. However, its real-time background scanning can sometimes falsely identify legitimate programs and processes as malicious (known as false positives). Such anti-virus interference may block the launch of certain software.

You can ensure that Windows Security does not raise false positive alarms for certain programs by adding them to its exclusion list. Programs, folders, and other files included in this list are excluded from scanning by Microsoft Defender Antivirus. This is how you can set Windows security scan exclusions in Microsoft’s latest desktop operating system.


How to Add Exclusions with Windows Security Options

Windows Security’s built-in exclusion options allow you to exclude files, folders, processes, and file types from antivirus scanning. It’s usually better to set exclusions for more specific program files and processes than entire folders. Adding folders like Program Files and Downloads to the exclusion list would make your PC more vulnerable. You can add program file exclusions in the Windows Security app as follows:

  1. To open Windows Security, double-click the application shield icon in the system tray. You may need to click on a Show hidden icons arrow button to find it.
  2. Select Protection against viruses and threats about windows security House tongue.
  3. Click it Manage settings browse options.
  4. Next, scroll down to the “Exclusions” subheading. Click it Add or remove exclusions option shown directly below.
  5. press the Add an exclusion to display a menu of options.
  6. Select the Case option.
  7. Choose an EXE (application) for a program to add to the exclusion list.
  8. press the Open to add the selected program to the Windows Security exclusion list. Now Windows Security will no longer scan the program you added to its exclusion list.

Windows Security also has a Controlled Folder Access feature that prevents programs from modifying folders. This feature can prevent games from saving settings and files. If this feature is enabled, you can also add program files to a controlled folder access exclusion list like this:

  1. View the virus protection settings as shown in steps 1-3 above.
  2. Click on Manage controlled access to folders to access the ransomware options given directly below.
  3. Select the Authorize an app through Controlled Folder Access browse option to view its app exclusion settings.
  4. Press the button to Add an authorized application possibility to select Browse all apps.
  5. Choose an app to authorize, then click Open to add it.

The Windows Security exclusion list settings aren’t particularly accessible because you have to click a few navigation options to reach them. You can set exclusions faster with the Defender Exclusion Tool software. This software allows its users to add files and folders to Windows Security exclusion list by selecting options from the context menu. This is how you can set program file exclusions with this software.

  1. Open the Defender Exclusion Tool download page.
  2. Click it Direct download option.
  3. Open File Manager Explorer to view the folder containing the downloaded ExcTool.ZIP file.
  4. Right-click on ExcTool.ZIP and select Extract all to bring up a ZIP extraction tool.
  5. Select Show extracted files and click on the Extract to open an ExcTool folder.
  6. Click on the ExcTool v1.3 subfolder to open it.
  7. Double-click ExcTool.exe to open its window.
  8. You can add programs to the Windows Security List by clicking the Add files button. Select a program file in the Add File window and click Open.
  9. To add a directory, press the Add a folder to the exclusion list and select one in the browse window.

To add file and folder exclusions from the context menu, you need to enable two options in Defender Exclusion Tool. Click it Choice menu and select the Add to context menu submenu. Select the Add to file context menu and Add to folder context menu options.

So discover the new Dealing with the exclusion of the defender context menu submenu. Right-click a file or folder in Explorer to select Show more options at the bottom of the Windows 11 context menu. Move the cursor over the Dealing with the exclusion of the defender submenu to select Add an exclusion.

When you’ve added files or folders, you’ll see them all listed in the exclusion list of the Windows Security app. You can also choose to delete them from there by right-clicking files and folders to select the Remove this exclusion option. You can also select items in the Defender exclusion tool window and click the button Delete selected button there.

Stop Windows Security Blocking Programs

If you’re having problems launching games or other software, sometimes Windows Security’s virus scan may have flagged them incorrectly. Adding program files to Windows Security’s exclusion list as shown above will prevent this antivirus utility from blocking them. Thus, setting antivirus exclusions for program files is a standard troubleshooting step.

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