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How to Configure Early Launch AntiMalware Boot-Start Driver Initialization Policy in Windows 8 and 10

information   Information
As antimalware (AM) software has become better and better at detecting runtime malware, attackers are also becoming better at creating rootkits that can hide from detection. Detecting malware that starts early in the boot cycle is a challenge that most AM vendors address diligently. Typically, they create system hacks that are not supported by the host operating system and can actually result in placing the computer in an unstable state. Up to this point, Windows has not provided a good way for AM to detect and resolve these early boot threats.

Windows 8 and Windows 10 include a feature called Secure Boot, which protects the Windows boot configuration and components, and loads an Early Launch Anti-malware (ELAM) driver. This driver starts before other boot-start drivers and enables the evaluation of those drivers and helps the Windows kernel decide whether they should be initialized.

For more details about Early Launch Anti-malware, see:

The Boot-Start Driver Initialization Policy setting allows you to specify which boot-start drivers are initialized based on a classification determined by an Early Launch Antimalware boot-start driver. The Early Launch Antimalware boot-start driver can return the following classifications for each boot-start driver:
  • Good -The driver has been signed and has not been tampered with.
  • Bad - The driver has been identified as malware. It is recommended that you do not allow known bad drivers to be initialized.
  • Bad, but required for boot - The driver has been identified as malware, but the computer cannot successfully boot without loading this driver.
  • Unknown - This driver has not been attested to by your malware detection application and has not been classified by the Early Launch Antimalware boot-start driver.

If you enable this policy setting you will be able to choose which boot-start drivers to initialize the next time the computer is started.

If you disable or do not configure this policy setting, the boot start drivers determined to be Good, Unknown or Bad but Boot Critical are initialized and the initialization of drivers determined to be Bad is skipped.

If your malware detection application does not include an Early Launch Antimalware boot-start driver or if your Early Launch Antimalware boot-start driver has been disabled, this setting has no effect and all boot-start drivers are initialized.


This tutorial will show you how to configure the Early Launch AntiMalware Boot-Start Driver Initialization Policy in Windows 8 and Windows 10.

You must be signed in as an administrator to be able to configure the Boot-Start Driver Initialization Policy.


CONTENTS:
  • Option One: To Configure Boot-Start Driver Initialization Policy using Group Policy
  • Option Two: To Configure Boot-Start Driver Initialization Policy using a REG file






Configure Early Launch AntiMalware Boot-Start Driver Policy OPTION ONE Configure Early Launch AntiMalware Boot-Start Driver Policy
To Configure Boot-Start Driver Initialization Policy using Group Policy

Note   Note
Local Group Policy Editor is only available in the Windows 8/10 Pro, Enterprise, and Education editions.

All editions can use Option Two below.


1. Open the Local Group Policy Editor.

2. In the left pane of Local Group Policy Editor, navigate to the location below. (see screenshot below)

Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\System\Early Launch Antimalware

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3. In the right pane of Early Launch Antimalware in Local Group Policy Editor, double click/tap on the Boot-Start Driver Initialization Policy policy to edit it. (see screenshot above)

4. Do step 5 (enable) or step 6 (disable) below for what you would like to do.


 5. To Enable and Configure Boot-Start Driver Initialization Policy

A) Select (dot) Enabled at the top. (see screenshot below)

B) Under Options, choose the boot-start drivers that can be initialized for what you want.
  • Good only
  • Good and unknown
  • Good, unknown and bad but critical
  • All

C) Click/tap on OK, and go to step 7 below.


 6. To Not Configure Boot-Start Driver Initialization Policy

A) Select (dot) Not Configured or Disabled, click/tap on OK, and go to step 7 below. (see screenshot below)

NOTE: Not Configured is the default setting.

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7. When finished, you can close the Local Group Policy Editor.

8. Restart the computer to apply.






Configure Early Launch AntiMalware Boot-Start Driver Policy OPTION TWO Configure Early Launch AntiMalware Boot-Start Driver Policy
To Configure Boot-Start Driver Initialization Policy using a REG file

Note   Note
The .reg files below will add and modify the DWORD value in the registry key below.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Policies\EarlyLaunch

DriverLoadPolicy DWORD

(delete) = Default setting
8 = Good only
1 = Good and unknown
3 = Good, unknown and bad but critical
7 = All


1. Do step 2 (Default), step 3 (Good only), step 4 (Good and unknown), step 5 (Good, unknown and bad but critical), or step 6 (All) below for what you would like to do.


 2. To Set Boot-Start Driver Initialization Policy to Not Configured

NOTE: This is the default setting.

A) Click/tap on the Download button below to download the file below, and go to step 7 below.

Default_Early_Launch_DriverLoadPolicy.reg

download


 3. To Set Boot-Start Driver Initialization Policy to "Good only"

A) Click/tap on the Download button below to download the file below, and go to step 7 below.

Good-only_Early_Launch_DriverLoadPolicy.reg

download


 4. To Set Boot-Start Driver Initialization Policy to "Good and unknown"

A) Click/tap on the Download button below to download the file below, and go to step 7 below.

Good-and_unknown_Early_Launch_DriverLoadPolicy.reg

download


 5. To Set Boot-Start Driver Initialization Policy to "Good, unknown and bad but critical"

A) Click/tap on the Download button below to download the file below, and go to step 7 below.

Good_unknown,bad,but_critical_Early_Launch_DriverLoadPolicy.reg

download


 6. To Set Boot-Start Driver Initialization Policy to "All"

A) Click/tap on the Download button below to download the file below, and go to step 7 below.

All_Early_Launch_DriverLoadPolicy.reg

download

7. Save the .reg file to your desktop.

8. Double click/tap on the downloaded .reg file to merge it.

9. If prompted, click/tap on Run, Yes (UAC), Yes, and OK to approve the merge.

10. If you like, you can now delete the downloaded .reg file.

11. Restart the computer to apply.


That's it,
Shawn