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Configuring Exceptions policies in Endpoint Protection Manager


Article ID: 156028


Updated On:


Endpoint Protection


A file, folder, file extension or application needs to be excluded from being scanned by one or more features of the Symantec Endpoint Protection (SEP) client.

Such exclusions can be configured for managed SEP clients using Centralized Exceptions policies in the Symantec Endpoint Protection Manager (SEPM) console.


Exceptions policies contain exceptions for the following types of scans for Windows-based operating systems:

  • Auto-Protect
  • Scheduled and on-demand scans
  • Security Risks

Create exceptions for antivirus and antispyware scans

Follow the instructions below to make the type of exception required.

Note: Security Risk Exceptions are global, and apply to all Scheduled Scans as well as real-time Auto-Protect.

  1. In SEPM, click Policies.
  2. Under Policies click Exceptions.
  3. Under Tasks click Add an Exceptions policy. This will create and open a new Centralized Exceptions Policy.
  4. In the left pane, click Exceptions policy and select Edit the policy under Tasks.
  5. In the policy, select Exceptions.
  6. Click the Add button to open a drop-down menu. Move the cursor over Windows Exceptions to open a second drop-down menu.
  7. Select one of the nine options: Application, Application to Monitor, Application Control, Extensions, File, Folder, Known Risks, Trusted Web Domain, Tamper Protection Exception.

    Note: The Exceptions policy supports the wildcards asterisk (*) and question mark (?) anywhere in a file path for Windows clients with 14.3 RU5 and newer client. Rather than adding each file by name, you use wildcards to exclude groups of files and folders from scans.  Prior to 14.3 RU5 client, Wildcard variables such as * and ? are not supported for Known Risks, File, or Folder exceptions. The ? wildcard is supported for Extension exceptions. The Folder exceptions screen will accept * and ? but they will be treated as literal characters not wildcard variables.

    For File and Folder-based exclusions, the Full Path to the file must be specified, unless a "Prefix Variable" is selected. If a "Prefix Variable" is selected, the path specified should be relative to the selected "Prefix Variable"

    If you are unsure about what type of exception to make please see the chapter on "Exceptions Policy" in the Symantec Endpoint Protection Installation and Administration Guide.
  8. Enter the appropriate information for the item to be excluded. For Extensions, File, and Folder exclusions, specify the type of scans that will be excluded from the drop down menu or menus.
  9. (Optional) Repeat steps 6 through 8 to add any other Security Risk Exceptions to the policy.
  10. Click OK.
  11. Assign the policy to a group within the SEPM.

For more information please see Exceptions Policy

Technical Information
Glossary of File/Folder Prefix Variables

NAME OF PREFIX Description
PROGRAM_FILES_COMMON A folder for components that are shared across applications. A typical path is C:\Program Files\Common Files
SYSTEM The Windows System folder. A typical path is C:\Windows\System32 or C:\WINNT\System32
COMMON_PROGRAMS The file system folder that contains the folders for the common program groups that appear on the Start menu for all users. A typical path is C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Start Menu\Programs
COMMON_DOCUMENTS The file system folder that contains documents that common to all users. A typical path is C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Documents
PROGRAM_FILES The Program Files folder. A typical path is C:\Program Files
COMMON_DESKTOPDIRECTORY The file system folder that contains files and folders that appear on the desktop for all users. A typical path is C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Desktop
WINDOWS The Windows folder or SYSROOT. This corresponds to the %windir% or %SYSTEMROOT% environmental variables. A typical path is C:\Windows or C:\WINNT
COMMON_APPDATA The file system folder containing application data for all users. A typical path is C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data
COMMON_STARTUP The file system folder that contains all the programs that appear in the Startup folder for all users. A typical path is C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Start Menu\Programs\Startup
USER_PROFILE File system folders that correspond to all the users.
SYSTEM_DRIVE The SYSTEM_DRIVE variable indicates the location where the Windows operating system is installed

Note: Endpoint Protection does allow the use of wildcards with 14.3 RU5 and newer Windows clients.

Additional Information

See what's new for 14.3 RU5