With Windows 10 version 17101, Microsoft has introduced new granular controls that allow users to decide which Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps can access the full file system on their PC. Under the plan, users can either disable access globally or for each app individually in a few simple steps. So today we are going to show you how to restrict, enable or disable (allow or deny) file system access for Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps on your Windows 10 computer.

Enable or Disable (Restrict) File System Access for Applications in Windows 10

Here we will show you how to easily block apps from accessing files on Windows PCs using global privacy settings. We’ll also show you how to prevent Windows 10 apps from accessing certain types of files while allowing access to other types. For example, you can block an app from accessing video files on your device while allowing it to access documents, etc. So, without further ado, let’s see how you can restrict, enable or disable (allow or deny) file system access for Universal Applications Windows Platform (UWP) on Windows 10 computers.

Step 1: Enable or Disable Global Access

  • To disable file system access for apps in Windows 10, go to Settings (Windows key + I) > Privacy.
  • Now scroll down in the left pane and click/tap file system [1]. Then hit the Change button [2] below “This device’s file system is enabled”.
  • To finish, to extinguish the toggle in the popup. This will disable file system access for all apps for all users on that device.

To note: If you want each user of this device to independently decide whether or not to allow apps to access the file system on their behalf, keep the above toggle enabled and follow the next step..

  • Scroll down and turn off the toggle under “Allow applications to access your file system”. This will disable file system access for all apps for the current user on that device.

To note: If you want to allow file system access to select apps, leave this toggle enabled and continue to the next step.

  • Whitelist/blacklist each app individually under “Choose which apps can access your file system”.

Step 2: Enable or disable access to images, videos and documents separately

In addition to the global settings, you can also separately choose which apps can access which file types on your PC. For example, you can allow MS Word to access document and image files, but restrict access to videos. Here’s how:

  • Go to Settings > Privacy as previously described. Now scroll down to the “App Permissions” section in the left pane and click on Documents [1]. If document library access is enabled, click the button Change button [2] in the right pane and disable it [3].

To note: The above actions will disable document access for all apps. However, if you want to allow certain apps to access documents, keep the above toggle enabled and follow the next step.

  • Scroll down and to extinguish each toggle for applications [1] that you do not wish to access your documents. Repeat the whole process to Pictures and videos by selecting these options [2] in the left pane.

That’s it! You have now successfully disabled file system access to Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps on your Windows 10 computer. If you change your mind at any time, you can go to Settings > Privacy > File System and discard your changes. Also, don’t forget to undo any changes you may have made under App Permissions, as described in Step 2.

Enable or Disable File System Access for UWP Apps in Windows 10

Disabling file system access for Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps improves your privacy by preventing apps from unnecessarily accessing your personal files. However, some applications need access to the file system for obvious reasons. So, if you are using apps like these, it would be better if you turned off the per-app access.

Anyway, you can also do other things to improve your privacy on Windows 10, like disabling camera and microphone permissions. Along with this, you should also disable location tracking on your Windows 10 device to ensure complete peace of mind. Finally, also check out our guide explaining the best Windows 10 tips and tricks to use your PC like a pro.

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