How to download a file with Anti-virus warning on Gmail [updated April 2017]

Yesterday, I was searching in my Gmail for old files that I wanted to download. Once the email opened, I had a particular surprise: Anti-virus warning – 2 attachments contain a virus or blocked file. Downloading these attachments is disabled.


Why do we have this anti-virus warning?

Like I said, this error was kind of surprising since I know for sure those files don’t contain viruses. After reading the Learn more link, I realized that those files were marked as a virus because they contained another .zip file in it. According to this link again, it is also possible to have a file blocked if it figures in the list of the Gmail blocked file type (for example a .bat file). You can take a look to the banned files type list here.

I think this is good that an anti-virus has been implemented into Gmail, but it should let the user choose if they want to be able to download their files anyway. They should only put a warning and let the download happens if this is what the user want. Since this is not the case, we need to think outside of the box to be able to download those files!

How to download the blocked files anyway

UPDATE: My original solution doesn’t seems to work anymore. You can still find it at the bottom of this page, but I updated this post with a new solution.

Available solutions:
1- Save email and open it in Outlook or any other email client (new solution, working)
2- Enable Google Drive button (doesn’t work anymore?)

Method 1: Save email and open it in Outlook

1- Click on the “More” arrow at the top right of the email and click on “Show original”.


2- Click on “Download original” at the bottom left.


3- Save the file as “email.eml“. The file extension needs to be .eml.

4- Open the file with outlook, or any other email client. You will now be able to download your files.


UPDATE: I will include Sara’s comment here, since it seems to have helped many people.
I tried this and it worked ;). Just open the email on gmail app. Here you can download the files without restrictions, then just send the files from your phone to your PC using USB conection or another message app which allows to attatch documents (like whatsapp or telegram). Hope it helps! 😉


Method #2: Enable Google Drive button and save file to drive (outdated)

When I saw this error yesterday, I first made a Google search to try to find a solution. I fall into many blog posts with solutions which weren’t working for me, or was simply too much work. Since I’m lazy, I tried to find a solution that could be simpler and I found one. To download your blocked files, simply follow the following steps.

1- Hover your file, right click on the download button and select Inspect in the menu.


2- The inspector will then show up with the element selected. Below the selected element, you will have a div with the title Save to drive. Select that element.


3- Now, double click on the style attribute of the element. The style attribute should be selected. Erase it by pressing the backspace.


4- Now go back in your browser and hover your file again. The save to drive button should have appears. Click on it and the file will be saved in your Google drive!


5- Tadaaaa. Go on Google drive and you should have no problems to download your file from there now.


I hope this little trick will help you have a better day!


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79 Replies to “How to download a file with Anti-virus warning on Gmail [updated April 2017]”

      1. I got the drive button to appear, but when I click on it, it does not save the file on Google Drive.
        Could you help please?

      2. Hi Luis,

        You are right. I just tested it and it doesn’t seem to work anymore.
        I’ve updated my post with a new working solution. Hope that it will allow you to download your files.


  1. Mine is in Drafts. Is there are a workaround for that? there is no Save to Drive button hidden because it is showing it in the Compose window

    1. It’s hard to say. Usually, to find fixes, I try many things and play with my environment. Since I don’t have a current working example with this problem I can’t really help you with that 🙁 But I will let your comment here in case someone else has the same issue.

      1. I did come up with an idea based on what you do, but haven’t got it right yet. I am trying to get the URL from the download link from the Compose window (that is all it has – download as a link and remove) and overwrite the URL for some other file that has a Save to Drive button.

      2. There turns out to be an even easier answer. On Android Gmail, viewing the email in question on my phone, there is a save to drive button and it works.

  2. Thank you sooooo much.
    Its alive, its alive !!
    i wanted to download my Primavera project files from my inbox and the Gmail say’s its a virus !!!! and forcing its decision.

  3. Awesome! I thought that was pretty rude of Google to just decide what I can and can’t download.

    Many thanks to you!

  4. Dear Sir,
    Thanks a lot for your blog,it was really very helpful,thanks for saving my day….Simply great!!!!

  5. Fantastic.
    I was trying to download a zip file that I sent to myself from my own gmail account. Quite silly of google to not let me download my own zip file.
    You saved me. THANKS !

    1. Hey Aaron, it is still working for me.
      If you have some difficulties to find the button in the code, in the inspector perform a search (CTRL + F) of “Save to drive”, this is the title attribute for the button. You should find it right away.

  6. I’ve downloaded the file and saved as abcd.eml in my documents. But, I’m not sure how to open it in Outlook explorer. When I try to open, It’s displaying alert like files can’t be opened in outlook due to unsupported format. Please help me. Thanks in advance !

  7. I tried this and it worked ;). Just open the email on gmail app. Here you can download the files without restrictions, then just send the files from your phone to your PC using USB conection or another message app which allows to attatch documents (like whatsapp or telegram). Hope it helps! 😉

    1. Nevermind, Sara’s way did work, kind of. The Gmail app didn’t do the trick on my iPhone. However, Apple’s Mail app retrieved the email from Gmail, and from there I could download the attachment.

    1. Hello Nava,
      You need to try the other solution. Let me know if it works for you. If not, try Sara’s solution listed in the comments above.

  8. I tried the new updated solution as well as Sara’s solution. My email is not under gmail, even though it is hosted by google, but under my University’s mail (, I don’t know if it makes any difference.
    Could I try anything else?

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