Unblocked a blocked program in Windows 7 (zipped or not)
Windows 7 includes security measure introduced in an earlier version of Windows (XP SP2), which prevents programs you have downloaded from the internet from running without a preliminary permission from you; behind the scenes, Windows has blocked this program, and will ask you permission to run it - not just the first time, but every time until you manually unblock the application in question (Mac OS X has a similar system which asks you to run - one approach is more user friendly, the other is more secure). This program blocking can also occur for applications you have copied from a thumb flash / USB drive, and extracted from a zip file. In this tutorial, we will explain which program should be left blocked, and how to unblock the rest.
Blocked software installers
When you download a program installer from the web, you can either Run it from its current location, or Save it on the desktop / download folder. When you launch an installer you saved, you will receive a blocked program confirmation message, which is fine: since you'll typically only run an installer once, there is no need to unblock it. The application it installs will itself not be blocked.
Note: for programs that come without installers, you will first need to download them to your desktop (or other folder of your choice), and then manually unblock it before you copy/move it to the "Program Files" / "Program Files (x86)" folder (depending on whether you are running a 32-bit or 64-bit edition of Windows 7, you may see both of these folders).
Manually unblock a program
To avoid getting these blocked program error messages, which sometimes can cripple the application's functionality altogether, proceed as follows:
- Right-click on the program executable file (typically ending in "
.exe", but it could be "
.hta" or another extension - how to show file extensions in Windows 7), and choose "Properties".
- At the bottom of the dialog that opened (the "General" tab should automatically be selected), you will find below the start "Attributes" section a new field labeled "Security- This file came from another computer and might be blocked to help protect this computer". It "might" not, it is blocked if you see this notice and the "Unblock" button next to it, as shown on the screenshot below:
- Click on Unblock, and both it and the notice will become disabled (grayed out). Now click on "OK" to keep the program unblocked and return to Windows 7 and your desktop.
If you now try to launch the application, it should run without a problem! That's all there is to unblocking suspicious (downloaded) apps from the internet. If you get other warnings when running that program, it could be that it tries to access system settings, modify the registry, or simply be poorly engineered and try to save its configuration in the Run-From directory (which is forbidden if it is the "Program Files" / "Program Files (x86)" system folder) - bottom line: the automatic blocking is designed to help Windows 7 protect you from yourself, so unblock wisely!up ↑