Proper Ways to Handle Potentially Unsafe Files

(Windows Operating Systems Only)

If you are trying to send e-mail with a potentially unsafe file attached

  1. First you should make sure that you are able to view file extensions on your computer. To check this take the following steps:
    • Double click the 'My Computer' icon on your desktop
    • Click 'Tools' on the toolbar and choose 'Folder Options' from the drop down menu
    • When the 'Folder Options' window opens click on the 'View' tab
    • Look for the 'Hide file extensions for known file types' listing and make sure that the box in front of it is not checked
    • If the box is checked click on it to remove the checkmark and then click 'OK' to close the window and then close the 'My Computer' window
  2. You must rename the file before you attach it by browsing to the file's location, right clicking the file and choosing 'Rename' from the pop-up menu. You should jot down the full name of the file before you rename it in case you cannot remember what the extension was after you've changed it.
    • The file name will now be highlighted; click once inside the highlighted box and use the backspace key to remove the file extension [see paragraph 1, the section in bold, for an explanation of what a file extension is if necessary].
    • Rename the file extension to .txt [e.g. file1.exe becomes file1.txt].
    • Click outside of the file name box in any blank area of the window and say 'Yes' to the pop-up warning. Click 'Yes' again if you are prompted with a confirm change pop-up.
    • Your file is now ready for you to send!
    • Attach the file, as you normally would, send your e-mail and then follow the steps above to change it back to the previous file extension. This seems difficult at first, but after you've done it once or twice it will become much easier.

If you are unable to open an attachment from a reliable contact

  1. Reply to the sender and explain that you are not able to receive these types of files.
  2. Include the instructions above on how they should attach these types of files in the future or include the link to this web page.
  3. After they have resent the file save it locally to your computer and change the file extension back to what it should be. The actual file name and extension appears in the original e-mail that you received from them in the yellow section.