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Create Your AppLocker Policies

Updated: May 23, 2012

Applies To: Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2



This overview topic for the IT professional describes the steps to create an AppLocker policy and prepare it for deployment.

Creating effective application control policies with AppLocker starts by creating the rules for each application. Rules are grouped into one of five rule collections. The rule collection can be configured to be enforced or to run in Audit only mode. An AppLocker policy includes the rules in the five rule collections and the enforcement settings for each rule collection.

You can develop an application control policy plan to guide you in making successful deployment decisions. For more information about how to do this and what you should consider, see the AppLocker Policies Design Guide. This guide is intended for security architects, security administrators, and system administrators. It contains the following topics to help you create an AppLocker policy deployment plan for your organization that will address your specific application control requirements by department, organizational unit, or business group:

  1. Understand the AppLocker Policy Deployment Process

  2. Understand AppLocker Policy Design Decisions

  3. Determine Your Application Control Objectives

  4. Create List of Applications Deployed to Each Business Group

  5. Select Types of Rules to Create

  6. Determine Group Policy Structure and Rule Enforcement

  7. Plan for AppLocker Policy Management

  8. Create Your AppLocker Planning Document

Each rule applies to one or more applications, and it imposes a specific rule condition on them. Rules can be created individually or they can be generated by the Automatically Generate Rules Wizard. For the steps to create the rules, see Create Your AppLocker Rules.

An AppLocker policy is a set of rule collections that are configured with a rule enforcement setting. The enforcement setting can be Enforce rules, Audit only, or Not configured. If an AppLocker policy has at least one rule, and it is set to Not configured, all the rules in that policy will be enforced. For information about configuring the rule enforcement setting, see Configure an AppLocker Policy for Audit Only and Configure an AppLocker Policy for Enforce Rules.

AppLocker policies can be defined locally on a computer or applied through Group Policy. To use Group Policy to apply AppLocker policies, you must create a new Group Policy Object (GPO) or you must update an existing GPO. You can create or modify AppLocker policies by using the Group Policy Management Console (GPMC), or you can import an AppLocker policy into a GPO. For the procedure to do this, see Import an AppLocker Policy into a GPO.

In a test environment or with the enforcement setting set at Audit only, verify that the results of the policy are what you intended. For information about testing a policy, see Test and Update an AppLocker Policy.

Depending on your deployment method, import the AppLocker policy to the GPO in your production environment, or if the policy is already deployed, change the enforcement setting to your production environment value—Enforce rules or Audit only.

Validate the effect of the policy by analyzing the AppLocker logs for application usage, and then modify the policy as necessary. To do this, see Monitor Application Usage with AppLocker.

Follow the steps described in the following topics to continue the deployment process:

  1. Create Your AppLocker Rules

  2. Testing and Updating an AppLocker Policy

  3. Deploy the AppLocker Policy into Production

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