4 Ways to Get Access to Blocked Attachments in Outlook

How to get around Outlook's security feature

All versions of Outlook since Outlook 2000 Service Release 1 include a security feature that blocks attachments that might put your computer at risk for viruses or other threats. For instance, certain types of files such as .exe files that are sent as attachments are automatically blocked. Although Outlook blocks access to the attachment, the attachment still exists in the email message. 

4 Ways to Gain Access to Blocked Attachments in Outlook

If Outlook blocks an attachment, you cannot save, delete, open, print, or otherwise work with the attachment in Outlook.

However, here are four methods designed for a beginning-to-intermediate computer user to get around this problem.

Use a File Share to Access the Attachment

Ask the sender to save the attachment to a server or an FTP site and send you a link to the attachment on the server or FTP site. You can click the link to access the attachment and save it on your computer.

Use a File Compression Utility to Change the File Name Extension 

If no server or FTP site is available to you, you can ask the sender to use a file compression utility to compress the file. This creates a compressed archive file that has a different file name extension. Outlook does not recognize these file name extensions as potential threats and does not block the new attachment.

Rename the File to Have a Different File Name Extension

If third-party file compression software is not available to you, you might want to request that the sender rename the attachment to use a file name extension that Outlook does not recognize as a threat.

For example, an executable file that has the file name extension .exe could be renamed as a .doc file name extension.

To save the attachment and rename it to use the original file name extension:

  1. Locate the attachment in the email.
  2. Right-click the attachment and then Copy.
  3. Right-click the desktop and click Paste.
  1. Right-click the pasted file and click Rename.
  2. Rename the file to use the original file name extension, such as .exe.

Ask the Exchange Server Administrator to Change the Security Settings

The administrator may be able to help if you use Outlook with a Microsoft Exchange server and the administrator has configured the Outlook security settings. Ask the administrator to adjust the security settings on your mailbox to accept attachments such as the one that Outlook blocked.