Troubleshooting: ‘Downloading Attachments is Disabled’ error message in Gmail

  • The error “attachment download disabled” message in Gmail is an error message.
  • This is done to prevent malicious files from accidentally being downloaded to the system.
  • However, sometimes the files are not really malicious and Google filters them anyway, preventing the user from downloading the attachment.
  • This problem sometimes occurs if you move an email from your spam folder to your inbox using the “Move To” option rather than the ‘Do Not Spam” button.

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You might already know that you cannot send EXE files or scripts through Gmail, but it’s also great at keeping spam out of your inbox.

It is very likely that you will receive an error message similar to the following if you receive such a attachment via Gmail. Gmail prevents attachments from downloading. This is obviously done to prevent your system from becoming infected. However, there are times when an attachment is not a virus and you still want to download it.

What causes the error “attachment download disabled” message in Gmail?

Message headers in Outlook inform you if an attachment has been blocked

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Usually, emails containing zip files or documents containing malicious macros are blocked to prevent them from being accidentally downloaded. It is not uncommon for Google to filter attachments even though they may not be malicious and prevent users from downloading them.

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It sometimes occurs if you use the “Move To” option instead of the “Do Not Spam” button when moving an email from your spam folder to your inbox. In this case, you’ve bypassed Gmail’s internal flag, which allows users to download attachments and mark the email as not spam.

How to repair the “attachment download disabled” error message in Gmail

Updated: February 2024

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Download the email and use your email client

  1. Open the Gmail client in your browser.
  2. You can view the original email by clicking the menu in the highlighted email.
  3. Select Save As… from the right-click menu when you click the Download Original link
  4. You can now save the file with an .eml extension instead of a .txt extension.
  5. Use any email client of your choice to open the saved file.
  6. Choose Save from the menu when you right-click the attachment.
  7. Once the archive has been saved and unzipped, you can access it.


This fixes the problem, but there’s no solution that can be applied to the Gmail client directly. If you’ve followed all these steps, then all you need to do is restart Gmail.

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Furthermore, we hope that reading this article has served as valuable information. Make sure your desktop has a built-in email client or download and install a different email client.

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Frequently Asked Questions

When you open it, you'll see the attachment that Gmail was unable to load. Right-click and choose whether you want to open it immediately or save it. If the file needs to be compressed, save it, compress it, and then open it.

If attachments aren't loading or aren't downloading, try the following steps in order: On your computer, make sure you're using a supported browser. Try disabling browser extensions one at a time. Clear your browser's cache and cookies.

  1. Open an email, click the arrow to the right of the email bar, and then click "View Original."
  2. Another window will open with "Original Message", now click on "Download Original" and save the file with a .eml extension.

  1. Open the Gmail client in your browser.
  2. Open the highlighted email, click on the menu and select "View Original".
  3. Right-click the "Download Original" link and choose "Save As..." from the menu.
  4. Change the .txt extension to .eml and save the file.
  5. Open the saved file with any other email client.
  6. Right-click the attachment and select Save.
  7. Save the archive and unzip it to the desired location.

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Mark Ginter is a tech blogger with a passion for all things gadgets and gizmos. A self-proclaimed "geek", Mark has been blogging about technology for over 15 years. His blog,, covers a wide range of topics including new product releases, industry news, and tips and tricks for getting the most out of your devices. If you're looking for someone who can keep you up-to-date with all the latest tech news and developments, then be sure to follow him over at Microsoft.