Setting File Auditing Policies using Auditpol.exe, Monitoring File Access and Logon Failures Only

While you can add auditing top level settings via the Group Policy or Local Security Policy this can create a lot of log spam if you are including everything Windows server audits out of the box. In the example below, we are modifying the audit policy to only include only file access and logon failures via auditpol.

rem Disable all subcategories
auditpol /set /category:"System" /success:disable
auditpol /set /category:"System" /failure:disable
auditpol /set /category:"Logon/Logoff" /success:disable
auditpol /set /category:"Logon/Logoff" /failure:disable
auditpol /set /category:"Object Access" /success:disable
auditpol /set /category:"Object Access" /failure:disable
auditpol /set /category:"Privilege Use" /success:disable
auditpol /set /category:"Privilege Use" /failure:disable
auditpol /set /category:"Detailed Tracking" /success:disable
auditpol /set /category:"Detailed Tracking" /failure:disable
auditpol /set /category:"Policy Change" /success:disable
auditpol /set /category:"Policy Change" /failure:disable
auditpol /set /category:"Account Management" /success:disable
auditpol /set /category:"Account Management" /failure:disable
auditpol /set /category:"DS Access" /success:disable
auditpol /set /category:"DS Access" /failure:disable
auditpol /set /category:"Account Logon" /success:disable
auditpol /set /category:"Account Logon" /failure:disable
rem Set new audit sub policy
auditpol /set /subcategory:"File System" /success:enable
auditpol /set /subcategory:"File System" /failure:enable
auditpol /set /subcategory:"Logon" /failure:enable

Use the following command to get a list of the policies either after or before you implement the changes. Below is how your policy should look.

auditpol /get category:*


System audit policy
Category/Subcategory                      Setting
  Security System Extension               No Auditing
  System Integrity                        No Auditing
  IPsec Driver                            No Auditing
  Other System Events                     No Auditing
  Security State Change                   No Auditing
  Logon                                   Failure
  Logoff                                  No Auditing
  Account Lockout                         No Auditing
IPsec Main Mode                         No Auditing
IPsec Quick Mode                        No Auditing
  IPsec Extended Mode                     No Auditing
  Special Logon                           No Auditing
  Other Logon/Logoff Events               No Auditing
  Network Policy Server                   No Auditing
  User / Device Claims                    No Auditing
  Group Membership                        No Auditing
Object Access
  File System                             Success and Failure
  Registry                                No Auditing
  Kernel Object                           No Auditing
  SAM                                     No Auditing
  Certification Services                  No Auditing
  Application Generated                   No Auditing
  Handle Manipulation                     No Auditing
  File Share                              No Auditing
  Filtering Platform Packet Drop          No Auditing
  Filtering Platform Connection           No Auditing
  Other Object Access Events              No Auditing
  Detailed File Share                     No Auditing
  Removable Storage                       No Auditing
  Central Policy Staging                  No Auditing
Privilege Use
  Non Sensitive Privilege Use             No Auditing
  Other Privilege Use Events              No Auditing
  Sensitive Privilege Use                 No Auditing
Detailed Tracking
  Process Creation                        No Auditing
  Process Termination                     No Auditing
  DPAPI Activity                          No Auditing
  RPC Events                              No Auditing
  Plug and Play Events                    No Auditing
  Token Right Adjusted Events             No Auditing
Policy Change
  Audit Policy Change                     No Auditing
  Authentication Policy Change            No Auditing
  Authorization Policy Change             No Auditing
  MPSSVC Rule-Level Policy Change         No Auditing
  Filtering Platform Policy Change        No Auditing
  Other Policy Change Events              No Auditing
Account Management
  Computer Account Management             No Auditing
  Security Group Management               No Auditing
  Distribution Group Management           No Auditing
  Application Group Management            No Auditing
  Other Account Management Events         No Auditing
  User Account Management                 No Auditing
DS Access
  Directory Service Access                No Auditing
  Directory Service Changes               No Auditing
  Directory Service Replication           No Auditing
  Detailed Directory Service Replication  No Auditing
Account Logon
  Kerberos Service Ticket Operations      No Auditing
  Other Account Logon Events              No Auditing
  Kerberos Authentication Service         No Auditing
  Credential Validation                   No Auditing