Disable downloaded files from being blocked in Windows 10

User Account Control (UAC)

By default, the Windows operating system adds special metadata to all files you download from the Internet to an NTFS drive, which it considers as attachments. Later, when you try to open or execute the downloaded file, Windows 10 prevents you from opening it directly and shows you a security warning that the file originated from somewhere else and can be insecure. Let's change this behavior to get rid of this warning.

The metadata which is added to the downloaded file is called "zone information". It is an invisible file stored as an alternate data stream in the same downloaded file to indicate that the file came from a network. Every time File Explorer opens the file, it reads the attached zone info and checks if it came from "outside". In that case, Windows Smart screen warning appears:Windows 10 SmartScreen Warning

If you disabled Smart Screen, another warning message can appear with this text:

THe use have to unblock the downloaded file as mentioned here: How to unblock files downloaded from Internet in Windows 10.

If you want to completely prevent Windows from adding the zone information in the file's alternate data stream so you don't even need to unblock such files, follow these steps:

  1. Open Group Policy Editor by typing gpedit.msc into the Start Menu.
  2. Go to User Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> Attachment Manager.
  3. Double click the policy setting "Do not preserve zone information in file attachments". Enable it and click OK.

If your Windows 10 edition comes without the Group Policy app, you can apply a simple Registry tweak instead:

  1. Open Registry editor.
  2. Go to the following Registry key:

    If you don't have such a key, then just create it. Tip: See how to open the desired registry key with one click.

  3. There, create a new DWORD value named "SaveZoneInformation" and set its value to 1.

Thereafter, any files downloaded using browsers (or download managers) which respect this setting will no longer add this to executable files so you don't even need to unblock such files.

There is an alternative way to prevent Windows 10 from blocking certain file types after you download them from the Internet. It involves modifying the file extensions which Windows considers as potentially harmful attachments. Read the following article: How to disable the “Publisher couldn’t be verified” message in Windows 10.

That's it. If you have a tip, question or want to leave feedback, feel free to write it in the comments.

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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

17 thoughts on “Disable downloaded files from being blocked in Windows 10”

  1. Hi, I have a problem in installing Microsoft Office. I am using Windows 10. I earlier uninstalled Microsoft office to upgrade it to office 365. but after uninstalling it. I am unable to install neither new version of MS Office nor the old one. When I run setup It stops. Please Help me out. http://prntscr.com/8qp117 ( screenshot ).

  2. Just a note for some people – it seems that File History will not back up blocked files. This in itself is a good reason to disable blocking. If I download attachments to my Documents folder I expect them to be backed up – that’s why File History is there. I would suggest that everyone using File History should turn off blocking as above.

  3. It seems since Creators Update , something is broken. We can download .exe then run without security pop-up but we can’t directly downloaded from IE an .exe , anyone can confirm too ?

      1. effectively savezoneinformation working.
        But running .exe directly from IE with LowRiskFileType reg policies doesn’t work since Creators Update.
        I had to remove LowRiskFileType from Association (.exe, cmd …) tu run directly (without saving)

  4. I’m having this issue with files that I created, on my own machine. I enabled “Do not preserve zone information in file attachments” as you instructed, but the warning still pops up–I believe because they are not downloaded from the internet. Any suggestions on how to disable this annoying pop-up that comes up often when opening PDFs?

    It’s frustrating, as it seems that the computer knows that they are not downloaded files (hence why the zone information setting didn’t affect them) yet it’s still giving me a warning saying I might not want to trust them because they came from the internet. I tried pasting the message here but it won’t let me. It’s slightly different from the one in your post. It says:

    Windows Security
    ! These files might be harmful to you computer
    Your internet security settings suggest that one or more files may be harmful. Do you want to use it anyway?

    Which is annoying, as they’re PDFs I created myself. I don’t know why internet security has anything to do with it.

  5. The article says “SaveZoneInformation” needs to be 1.
    Doesn’t “SaveZoneInformation” need to be 0 instead of 1?

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