Safely Open Blocked Attachments in Outlook: Step-by-Step Guide

We often receive emails with attachments in MS Outlook. While most are easy to access and download, MS Outlook might block a few. This means you will not be able to download

that blocked attachment. You cannot even open or preview such attachments. Even if you open them somehow, they may infect your system. These emails might contain some important information. Therefore, one must learn how to unblock these attachments in MS Outlook. Let us explore some of the possible solutions.

Why does MS Outlook block emails?

MS Outlook has been recently updated to protect mailboxes from potential threats that may be received through emails. This security feature allows the email client to scrutinize the emails, and their attachments and accordingly block the attachments that pose a risk of virus. Whenever the users try opening the blocked file, they get a pop-up message from MS Outlook that ‘Outlook blocked access to the following potentially unsafe attachments.’
Let us know the methods to unblock the attachments in the following way:

Methods to unblock attachments in MS Outlook

Here are the methods that help to unlock the attachments in MS Outlook easily.
Use file share to access the attachment.
You can simply ask the sender of the attachment to save the attachment to a server or a cloud platform so that you can directly access the file. You can also get a link for these servers and cloud platforms to access the files. From this link, one can directly save the attachments.

Utilize Compression Utility to Change the File name Extension

If in case that you do not have any access to the server link that the senders might have shared with you for the methods mentioned above, then in such a situation, you can ask him to send a file compression utility to compress the file. It creates a new compressed archive file that will have a different filename extension depending on the utility that you are using. Once you receive the attachment, you only need to use a compression utility to extract the files, and then you can easily access the MS Outlook attachments.

Rename the File to have a different File Extension

MS Outlook directly blocks some attachments with a given extension without even scanning that for viruses. Therefore, if the sender has sent an attachment with the extensions of .bag, .reg, .exe, .msi, and .msp, then there is a high possibility that your attachments will be directly blocked. In such a situation, there is a need to change the file extension to access the file. Here are the steps that you can follow for this method:

  • Go to the attachment received in the email.
  • Right-click on the attachment and then click on Copy.
  • Come to the desktop and any other location where you want to save the attachment. Click on paste.
  • Right-click on the pasted file and then select Rename from the pop-up menu.
  • Rename the file with a new extension like .exe and .msi.

This will make it easy to access the attachments in one go.

Change the Security Behavior

This is an easy method to unblock blocked attachments. You are required to modify the registry in this method. However, one must undertake the steps for this method very carefully, as even a single mistake can damage your system. Here are the steps that you need to follow for this method.

  • Close MS Outlook.
  • Press the ‘Windows+R’ keys and enter ‘regedit’ in the text field.
  • The users can find HKEY_CURRET_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Outlook\Security in MS Outlook 2016. You can also create your key with the help of the following methods:
    • Click on the following registry key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft
    • Go to the Menu bar, click on the Edit tab and then from the drop-down menu, click on New, and then go to the key
    • Type 16.0 and then press Enter
    • On the Edit tab, click on New and then click Key
    • Type Security and press Enter
  • On the Edit tab, click on New and click on the String Value.
  • Enter ‘Level1Remove’ as the new value. Press Enter.
  • Right-click on the new value. Click on Name and then Modify.
  • Type the filename extension that you would like to open in MS Outlook.
  • Click OK and exit the editor.
  • Restart your device.
  • Open MS Outlook and check if the blocked attachments can be opened.
  • Tool for Attachment Management

    If any of the methods discussed above are not working for you, you can rely on a proficient third-party tool to extract and access these blocked attachments. Tool for Attachment Management is the best way to access blocked attachments in MS Outlook. It is an automated solution for this issue and helps overcome manual methods’ limitations. It comes with an easy interface for beginners. It minimizes the risk of data loss and protects the files from malware attacks. The advanced algorithms deployed in the tool help to recover even the damaged emails. Users can give it a try for quick and effective results.


    With all the methods that have been discussed above, there is a need to select any one method and follow that carefully. However, there is a possibility that the manual methods may not give the required results. That is why the automated tool is the best way to access the blocked attachments in MS Outlook.

    Why does MS Outlook block attachments?
    It blocks attachments because they are infected with the virus.

    Does the tool result in data loss?
    No, the tool does not result in data loss.

    About Olaf Burch

    Olaf works as a senior technology editor at Data Repair Tools. Fascinated by technology, he has more than 8 years of experience in the fields of data recovery, IoT, artificial intelligence and robotics. He enjoys the search and provision of DIY solutions to solve Windows technical problems. In spare time, he likes reading novels, and poetry. He also loves travel, rafting, trekking and so on.

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