There can be many reasons why you would want to prevent other users from accessing particular apps on a computer running Windows 10. For example, knowing how to restrict access to apps can be particularly useful if you share your computer with family members or colleagues.
Whether you want to restrict app permissions or block app access altogether, there are several ways to do it. In this article, we will show you how to restrict access to apps in Windows 10. We will also walk through the process of restricting internet access to specific apps in Windows 10.
How to Restrict Access to Specific Apps in Windows 10
You don't need to download any third-party app to restrict access to a specific app in Windows 10. You can do that in system settings. Here's what you need to do:
- Go to "Start" in the lower left corner of your screen.
- Click the Settings icon in the left sidebar.
- Scroll down until you find "Privacy".
- Go to "App Permissions" in the left sidebar.
- Scroll down until you find the app you want to restrict access to. As an example, we will use the "Camera" application.
- Under "Allow access to the camera on this device", click "Edit".
- Flip the switch to “Off”.
- Under “Allow apps to access your camera,” toggle the switch.
Going further, you can choose to block desktop apps from using your camera, and you can also select Microsoft Store apps that can access your camera.
Also, keep in mind that apps that are allowed to use all system resources won't be listed in the privacy settings. Instead, you can only restrict specific permissions for listed apps. However, you will notice that the desktop apps are all present in the privacy settings.
Each application has access to different file types and you can adjust them manually. Once you're done, just turn off the Privacy window. The next time you try to launch the app you restricted access to, you'll notice that your access has been restricted.
Restrict access to applications via the Group Policy Editor
The Group Policy Editor is another way to restrict application access. However, this method is only possible if you have Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise. This is how it's done:
- Go to the magnifying glass icon in the lower left corner of the screen.
- Type "Run" to open the Run application.
- In the search box, type “gpedit.msc,” and select “OK.”
- Click "User Setup" in the left sidebar.
- Switch to the "Administrative Templates" folder.
- Go to the "System" folder.
- Locate the "Do not run specified Windows applications" file in the right pane.
- Double click on it. This will open a new window.
- On the left side of the window, check the “Enabled” circle.
- Under "Options", go to "Display".
- Type the name of the application whose access you want to restrict. Don't forget to add the “.exe” after the application name.
- Go to the "Apply" button.
- Choose “OK”.
Once you close the Group Policy Editor, access to this app should already be restricted. Otherwise, restart your computer.
If you change your mind, you can remove the limitations by repeating the same steps up to step nine. Instead of “Enabled”, click on “Not configured”.
Restrict access to apps by editing the registry
Editing the registry is another way to restrict access to your applications. When using the registry, you should always be careful not to lose data in the process. That's why it's always a good idea to back up all your files and keep a copy of them somewhere safe. The backup will also be useful if you change your mind and want to restore access to your apps.
To restrict access to an application by using Registry Editor, follow these steps:
- Search for the Run application or press the Windows key and the “R” key simultaneously.
- Type “regedit” in the search bar and click “OK”. This will open the registry editor.
- Copy this key:
- Paste it into the registry. This will take you to the "Policies" folder.
- Right-click on it and go to "New", then "Key".
- Type "Explore" for the new key.
- Right-click on the "Explorer" folder and choose "New" from the drop-down menu.
- Select "DWORD (32-bit)".
- This value should be named "DisallowRun".
- Double click on the value. This will take you to the Properties window.
- Under "Value data", enter "1".
- Select "OK".
- Return to the main Registry Editor window.
- Right click on the "Explorer" folder and choose "New".
- Select "Key".
- Type "DisallowRun" as the subkey name.
- Right-click on the DisallowRun key and select "New" from the drop-down menu.
- Choose "String Value".
- Enter “1” for this string value in the Value data box. Select “OK”.
- Double-click the string value "1".
- Under "Value data" in the Properties window, enter the name of the application to which you want to restrict access.
- After the application name, add the “.exe” and click “OK” when done.
If you want to restrict access to multiple apps, you'll need to repeat steps 17-22 for each one. For each application, right-click the DisallowRun key, choose "New", then "String Value". Name the string value for the second application "2", for the third "3", and so on.
This method may take a bit of your time, but if you do it right, it will be worth it. When you're done, you'll need to restart your device. The next time you try to access one of these applications, you will receive a restriction message informing you that your access has been denied.
Keep in mind that if you have more than one user account and want to restrict access to applications on each of them, you will need to repeat the entire registry process for each of them.
If you change your mind, there's a way to restore the apps you've blocked. You can do this by simply deleting the "Explorer" key in the "Policies" folder. However, only do this if you want to allow access to all the apps you've blocked. To do this for an individual application, you will need to change the value data from "1" to "0" in the properties dialog.
How to Restrict Internet Access to Specific Apps in Windows 10
There's an easy way to restrict Internet access to specific apps in Windows 10, and that's with Windows Defender Firewall. Knowing how to do this can be particularly useful when you don't want certain apps to update automatically, or if you don't want an app to misuse your data. However, you should only restrict Internet access to applications that do not need the Internet to function properly. Here's how it's done:
- Go to the magnifying glass icon in the lower left corner of the screen.
- Type “Windows Defender Firewall” and open it.
- Go to "Advanced Settings" in the left sidebar. This will open a new window.
- Select "Outbound Rules" from the left sidebar.
- Go to "New Rule" on the right side of the window.
- Choose “Program” in the new window, then click “Next”.
- Next to "This program path", click on the "Browse" button.
- Find the app for which you want to restrict internet access.
- Click “Next” again.
- Click on the “Block connection” circle, then on “Next”.
- Check the “Domain”, “Private” and “Public” boxes.
- Go to “Next”.
- Enter the rule name and a description.
- Select "Finish".
It is more or less that. This method is quick and easy, and it will allow you to restrict internet access from any application of your choice.
Control who has access to all your apps
Once you understand how to restrict access to apps in Windows 10, you can make sure that no one but you has access to certain apps. You also have the option to restrict Internet access for certain applications, which can be very useful.
Have you ever restricted access to an application in Windows 10? Have you tried any of the methods explained in this guide? Let us know in the comments section below.