What is File Blocking?

Windows implements the ‘Blocking’ feature to help keep your computer safe. If you download a file from the Internet or save an attachment from an email it might be blocked. This keeps windows from giving the file too many rights to your computer. The thought is that is you meant to download it you can unblock it yourself. But if you did not mean to download it then it will not be able to do as much damage. In order to properly use most files you will need to unblock it.


Why Do You Care?

People download files all the time on the Internet for business use. With docMgt, we send Importer and Exporter configs out to users, users download documents in the viewer and more. Every time that happens you may be experiencing blocks. For PDF files or Word documents it is not that bad. But for the Importer and Exporter configs it may be a problem – especially if there is a custom Add-In included.

Add-Ins are DLL files that, when blocked, will not function. When Importer goes to load the DLL it will not be allowed to and the Add-In will not function. If you are relying on that Add-In for special formatting or sharing information with other systems, that may be a very bad thing. You will want to be sure to unblock the Add-In DLLs when you get them.


How to Unblock Files

Unblocking is really an easy thing. Right-click on the file and select Properties. There you will see an Unblock button if the file is blocked. Click that button and the file is unblocked and ready for use. This quick blog post from Microsoft shows the process with a screen shot as well.

However, if you have several DLL files you have to do each one individually which can be annoying. That is unless you are a programmer or scripting person. In that case you can write a PowerShell script to unblock several at one time.

Another thing to keep in mind is that if you download a ZIP file you should unblock that file before extracting it. If you do that then all the files contained within will be unblocked. But, if you extract it before unblocking it then all the files extracted will have to unblocked one at a time.



The take away here is that when you download files that you know are safe you should remember to unblock them to ensure they work properly. If the file is a ZIP file, unblock it before extracting it to save yourself some time.