How to Unblock File Downloads


Something that not everyone knows is that when you download something from a web browser using Windows, your download is almost always protected using a feature that can potentially "block" or protect your computer since anything downloaded from a website is technically a high-risk action. This is especially true for those of us who regularly deal with and download software. 

This only happens when downloading files using a web browser.  This doesn't happen when using other methods such as FTP.  

As developers, we must all be aware of this feature because it can cause many headaches when you try to install and/or upgrade software.  When the file is blocked, you may end up with unintended results. 

For example, an upgrade of Hotcakes Commerce or DNN CMS may fail due to this feature.  

The zip file that contains a software install/upgrade package may not run or extract all of the files until you unblock the zip file. This article walks you through that process.  


The following pre-requisites will be necessary to accomplish the goals of this article:

  • Experience downloading and working with files from the internet


There really isn't much required for you to get started.  Just be ready to download something.  


Once you have downloaded the file(s) you wish to work with, find them on your computer by using Windows Explorer to navigate to the folder where you saved the file.  In many cases, this may simply be your Downloads folder. 

Right-click on the file and choose Properties.  


If the file hasn't yet been unblocked, you'll notice on the General tab that there is either a button or checkbox at the bottom of the window to allow you to unblock the file.  Newer versions of Windows have the checkbox.  


Check the checkbox and click the OK button to save your changes.  

If the checkbox/button is not visible, then the file has already been unblocked or never was blocked to begin with.  

That's all there is to it...  You're done!  Simple, right?  

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