Gmail isn’t just great at preventing spam from making it into your inbox, it’s also pretty good at keeping you safe from harmful attachments. You probably know that you cannot send EXE files or scripts over Gmail. If you receive any such file over Gmail, you will see the error message ‘Downloading the attachment is disabled’. This is of course to prevent your system from being infected however, sometimes that attachment is safe and you do need to download it. Here’s how you can do just that.
Desktop Email Client
In order to download an email attachment that has been blocked by Gmail, you need to have a desktop email client installed on your system. This isn’t going to be a problem since all major operating systems have a default email client. Windows 10 has Mail, macOS has Mail, and most Linux distributions have Thunderbird. Your desktop email client must be configured i.e., you must have an email account duly added to it.
Download Disabled Email Attachment
Open Gmail in your browser and open the message with the blocked attachment. Click the more options button next to the reply button and from the menu, select Show Original.
This will open the email in a new tab/window. Click the Download Original button, and make sure you change the file extension that the message is saved in from TXT to EML.
Once the message has been saved, double click to open it. It should open with your desktop email client. If it doesn’t, drag and drop the message onto the email client, or look for the Open file option in your client.
Right-click the attachment and select either the Open, or Save option. You ought to be able to download the file, and extract it if you need to.
If you often receive files that Gmail blocks, consider using a different method for sharing them. You can always use cloud storage services that allow these types of files. There is no way to turn the blocking feature off in Gmail so you either need to come up with a different method for sharing the files, or you need to stop using the Gmail web interface and move to a desktop client that you can connect your Gmail account to.
We must caution you of course to never download an attachment that Gmail has blocked unless you are absolutely sure it is safe. Even after downloading it, it’s a good idea to let your anti-virus take a look at it before you access it.