Dmitri Stalnuhhin - Fotolia
Windows AppLocker is a collection of Group Policy features you can use to control which applications are allowed to run on a system.
First introduced with Windows 7, AppLocker was created as a replacement for Windows' ineffective Software Restriction Policies -- which still exist, even in Windows 10.
The Windows AppLocker settings exist within the Group Policy Object Editor at Computer Configuration > Windows Settings > Security Settings > Application Control Policies > AppLocker.
AppLocker is based on a series of rules that either allow an application to run or prevent it from running. There are four main types of AppLocker rules, and rules can be applied on a per-user or per-group basis. The rule types include Executable Rules, Windows Installer Rules, Script Rules and Packaged App Rules. These rules use application attributes as a mechanism to identify applications. For example, Executable Rules and Windows Installer Rules can identify an application based on its publisher, path or file hash.
AppLocker works, but it is far from perfect. It is a good tool for blocking specific applications. For example, if you want to phase out an application, you could create an AppLocker rule to prevent workers from using it. If on the other hand, your goal is to allow only certain applications to run, then you are probably be better off using a third-party tool. It is difficult to create a comprehensive set of rules for AppLocker, and something as simple as a software patch can render certain types of rules ineffective. As such, AppLocker is best suited for small jobs rather than comprehensive application protection.
How to whitelist applications in Windows 7
Use AppLocker to control RDS apps
Bypass AppLocker whitelists with one command
Dig Deeper on Endpoint security management tools
Related Q&A from Brien Posey
Although several newer tools are available, Microsoft roaming profiles is a simple and time-tested way to manage a user's profile across physical and... Continue Reading
SaaS application backup is increasingly prevalent, and for good reason -- it's critical for ensuring data protection. These five guidelines will help... Continue Reading
Admins may need to open the BIOS or UEFI interface to change BIOS passwords on Windows 10. This process isn't too complex, but IT pros should follow ... Continue Reading