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Thread: Unblock Files

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 1999
    Chippenham, Wiltshire, UK.


    I only have a desktop, and it is running Win10 Pro. I have a mix of downloaded files dating from way back in Win XP days. Some show the blocked graphic and some do not. Like Charles, I have no problems in opening any of the "blocked" files. Note that when you read the words they say that " this file may be blocked" not that it is blocked.
    Beer is not a matter of life or death, it is much more serious than that.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    New England


    NTFS, the typical modern Windows file system, has something called the "Alternate Data Stream" in a file, which is really just metadata. (Data that helps describe the main data in the file -- Or, as a tech friend of mine likes to describe it, "Data about data".) One of the things it can record is the "zone" a file came from -- the "Local Zone" or the "Internet Zone". Internet Explorer used that attribute extensively, and would tag downloaded files as coming from the "Internet Zone". Some antivirus add-ons, and antivirus programs that attach themselves closely to the browser, will add similar attributes to files that are downloaded.

    The file-block action was originally intended to stop Trojan Horse programs that were attached in the alternate data stream/metadata. Modern Windows already has built-in protection against that, but the file-block behavior is still built in. Non-executable files like text and graphics usually aren't affected unless they have macros embedded, like some Word and Excel files can. What it really interferes with is executable files -- in particular un-signed executables, which are also the ones that might trigger the generic "This file could harm your computer..." dialog that we all tend to click away every time it appears. Sometimes the "Windows Smart Screen" safe-browsing behavior in Windows 10 can also cause the file metadata to be tagged and cause the block behavior.

    Right-clicking the file to look at the Properties display will always give you the "Unblock" button to permanently turn off the block on your computer. (But if you share the file with someone else, it might be "blocked" again. It's just annoying and it's not even really obvious to many users how to handle it. Just a relic of the older days of Windows and made worse by "home" versions sometimes being more aggressive about it than "pro" versions because of how permissions work.

    First thing I do with any machine of mine that ever came with a "home" version of Windows is upgrade it to a "pro" version. It's worth whatever extra cost for fewer headaches and more consistent behavior of all the computers in the house.


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