How to Disable the Open File Security Warning in Windows XP

Written by jason artman
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By default, a warning is displayed in Windows XP when a potentially dangerous file type is about to be opened through Internet Explorer. This warning is intended to help beginning users discern whether the software they are about to use could be unsafe. However, advanced users who are likely to research software before using it may find that the security warning adds an unnecessary step to the process of running or installing software. Use the Windows XP Group Policy Editor to disable the security warning that appears when software from an unknown publisher is launched from Internet Explorer.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Press the Windows logo and "R" keys simultaneously to bring up the "Run" dialogue box. Type "gpedit.msc" (without quotation marks) and press "Enter" to launch the Group Policy Editor.

  2. 2

    Use the "+" icons to the left of the folders to open the "User Configuration," "Administrative Templates" and "Windows Components" folders. If you do not see a folder called "Attachment Manager," continue to Step 3. If this folder is present, skip to Step 5.

  3. 3

    Scroll to the top of the window. Right-click on the "Administrative Templates" folder under "Computer Configuration" and click "Add/Remove Templates."

  4. 4

    Click the "Add" button, then double-click "system.adm." Click "Close." Scroll back to the "Windows Components" folder. The "Attachment Manager" folder will be present.

  5. 5

    Click the "Attachment Manager" folder.

  6. 6

    Double-click "Inclusion list for low file types."

  7. 7

    Click the "Enabled" radio button. In the "Specify low risk extensions" box, type the file extensions that you no longer wish to receive warnings for. The most common executable extensions are EXE and MSI. Note that you must type a period before each extension and separate them with a semicolon (e.g., .EXE;.MSI). Click "OK" when you are done.

Tips and warnings

  • You may have multiple "Windows Components" folders under the "Administrative Templates" folder. If this is the case, the steps in this article must be repeated for each "Attachment Manager" folder under the "Windows Components" folders.

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