Attachments do not open or download - what to do

Your browser is an important tool for everyday activities, from following the news to watching your favorite movies. Managing your mail is one of the most important things you can do with your browser, as opening emails with the mouse and keyboard is much easier than on the phone. Of course, sometimes your browser can get in the way of your work, and nothing is more annoying than when email attachments don't open or download.

Whether it's because your computer is trying to protect you from suspicious data or because your browser isn't working properly, it can really be annoying. Either way, there are a few ways to fix the email attachments not opening or downloading.

Attachments do not open or download - what to do

While sending and receiving emails securely is a must for anyone, email security can hinder you from sending email anonymously or downloading attachments from your messages. Let's take a look at how to fix this error.

1. Disable your anti-virus software

Sometimes your antivirus won't let you download email attachments to protect you from potentially harmful data. If you know the email is from a trusted source, you can disable browser protection.

If you are using a laptop or computer, most antivirus programs will have a web browser extension. You can click on the extension at the top right of the browser screen. Then, change the settings to disable email blocking or popup blocking.

If you can't find the browser extension, you can find the antivirus icon on the right side of the taskbar. Right click on the antivirus icon and click “Disable”.

Once the antivirus is disabled, try downloading the attachment again. If you manage to download it, your antivirus was stopping you earlier.

2. Disable Windows Firewall

Windows Firewall can also prevent e-mail attachments from being downloaded. If the firewall is on, try disabling it. To do this, you should:

  1. Click the "Start" button at the bottom left of the screen.
  2. Select "Settings" on the left side of the menu (gear icon).
  3. Select "Update & Security" from the menu.
  4. Select "Windows Security" on the left side of the window.
  5. Access the "Firewall and Network Security" menu.
  6. Select the network with the "active" status based on its name (usually "Public")
  7. Disable it by clicking on the blue switch.

Once you have disabled antivirus and firewall, you should be able to download attachments.

3. Empty the cache

If the attachments still don't open or download, the cache may be full. Your cache or temporary internet files folder stores records of every site you have visited and every file you have downloaded.

Thanks to the cache, your browser can easily access these records and load websites more easily. However, if your browser doesn't automatically clear the cache and you don't do it manually, it can fill up rather quickly.

This means that the browser cannot create a new download record and therefore does not allow you to download a new file. Each browser follows a slightly different path to clearing the cache. It is usually found in the “Settings” menu.

For example, to clear the cache in Chrome, you should:

  1. Click on the “More” icon at the top right of the screen (three vertical dots).
  2. Hover the mouse over “Other Tools” with the mouse cursor.
  3. Click on “Clear Browsing Data”.
  4. Select "Always" from the Time Interval bar.
  5. Click on “Clear Data”.

This will clear the cache and free up space for new download records.

4. Lack of hard drive capacity

This is a very rare event, but sometimes an attachment can be larger than the storage capacity. If so, your computer will not download them.

You should check if the designated download partition has enough space for your attachment. If not, you should remove some files to free up space.

Alternatively, if you have multiple partitions, you can change the default download location to another. In Chrome, for example, you should follow these steps:

  1. Select the "More" icon at the top right of the screen (three vertical dots).
  2. Click on "Settings".
  3. Find the "Download" section.
  4. Click "Change" in the "Position" row.
  5. Choose another partition and download the folder.
  6. Click on "Select Folder".

You should now have enough space to download your attachments.

5. Do you receive email alerts?

If you get a warning before your browser prevents you from downloading the attachments, there may be corrupted files.

Sometimes the browser informs you that a file allows unverified scripts or that it has an encrypted attachment. Also, it may warn you that it cannot verify the authenticity of the message.

If you think the email is suspicious, don't open it. Instead, report it as spam or phishing and remove it. On the other hand, if it's from a trusted source, you can ignore the warnings. If so, follow one of the methods above and download the attachment anyway.

Be careful when downloading email attachments

Your browser preventing you from downloading attachments can be frustrating. Most of the time it's nothing serious. However, there is sometimes a cause for concern.

Be sure to check the sender and content of the email carefully before bypassing security and downloading it anyway. While it can be a glitch at times, the tools on your device are just trying to keep you safe.

Further Reading:

  • How to prevent Windows 10 from blocking downloaded files
  • How to add iPhone email attachment
  • Apps Won't Open on iPhone, 7 Solutions
  • How to recover deleted WhatsApp messages and photos from iPhone
  • Google Chrome doesn't load pages, 7 solutions
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