How to unlock a file locked by Windows 10

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Catherine Le Nevez
@catherinelenevez
SOURCES CONSULTED:

support.microsoft.com

Author and references

16 December 2015 For Management

On Windows, Attachment Manager's job is to protect you from downloads that may not be safe for your system. The administrator performs this task by identifying the file type and related security settings. Based on the security information provided by the zone information, Windows uses Attachment Manager to warn you before opening the file or often to block access to these potentially harmful files. While this is a really good security measure provided by Microsoft, the problem is that Windows sometimes classifies a trusted source as malicious, if the file is from an email attachment, if you downloaded it from the Internet; These files are major suspects of being blocked by Windows for your protection.



Light: Solution: This program was blocked in Windows 10

When Windows blocks access to a file, you will get a message like this when you try to open it: “Windows has discovered this file is potentially harmful. To protect your computer, Windows has blocked access to this file. “Only one option is provided under this notice:” OK “and once selected, you are shown an empty folder. But of course, you really need that locked file, is there any way to access it?

Of course, there is a simple solution to this problem, but before you go ahead and unlock the file for access, make sure it is a safe file and that it has no chance of infecting your computer with a virus or malware. If you're still unsure, you can scan the file (you won't have to open the file for that). If you wish to continue without scanning, do so at your own risk.

Here's how to unlock a file using Properties:

  • Right click on the locked file.
  • Select Properties from the displayed options.



  • Click the General tab in the Properties window.
  • Click the Unblock option next to the security detail that says “This file is from another computer and may be locked to protect this computer”.

  • Windows may display an Access Denied message box here, don't panic. All you have to do is provide admin credentials if this box appears, if the file is on a C: Users destination it will not appear at all.
  • You should now be able to access the locked file.

Now if you find that even after selecting the Unblock option, it appears again in the Properties window, don't worry. All you need to do is follow a few steps:

What to do if Windows SmartScreen blocks an application or file

Unlocking a locked file or application from Windows SmartScreen is quite simple. Follow these steps:

  • Run the locked file or application. Windows SmartScreen will appear.
  • Under the heading "Windows has protected your PC", the text that will be displayed will be "Windows SmartScreen has prevented the launch of an unrecognized application". Running this application could put your PC at risk. “Below is simply a More Information option and the” OK “option.
  • This may seem like a dead end, SmartScreen has locked the app / file, all you can do is click OK, right? But keep in mind that this is important. All you need to do is click on the Learn More option.

  • Two new options will appear at the bottom of the SmartScreen window: Run Anyway and Don't Run.
  • Select the Run anyway option. You will now be able to access your file / application.



Note: Always create a restore point first

How to permanently unlock the file with the help of CMD - Advanced Users

You will first need to create a restore point for the system. Basically this will save all your data, files and information so that you can restore your system to that particular state you saved it to.

  • Now that the restore point has been created, download Streams (latest version 1.56) from Windows Sysinternals (technet.microsoft.com)
  • 1. Extract the sequences from the zip to a folder like the desktop.
  • 2. Right click and choose properties.
  • 3. Click unlock.
  • 4. Go to: windows.
  • Open the Start menu and type "cmd" in the search bar.
  • Right-click the command prompt icon and choose Run as administrator.


  • In the command prompt window, type: streams -d filename
  • Replace the file name with the actual name of the locked file. Press the Enter key. You can now access the locked file.

In case Windows does not block a file but considers it potentially harmful, it will display security warnings every time the file is opened. It will say “Could not verify publisher. Are you sure you want to run this software? “Getting this warning is better than having to unlock a file, but it can be quite irritating to face the warning and click Run every time you want to access the file.

  • All you need to do to make sure the warning never appears again is to simply uncheck the checkbox that says “Always ask before opening this file”. Windows will never show the warning for this file again.
  • However, it may display warnings for other files and you will need to uncheck the “Always ask before opening this file” box individually for each one.

Here's how to create a system restore point:


  • Click the Start button and right-click Computer.
  • Choose Properties from the options displayed.
  • Click on System Protection on the left side (on the Control Panel home page)
  • By default, the System Protection tab will open. You will see an option called “Immediately create a restore point for drives with system protection turned on”.
  • Click the Create option next to it. You will need to write a description of the restore point to easily find it later. Click Create.

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