Fixing “Current security settings do not allow this file to be downloaded” error

July 17, 2018 |

greater than 23 minutes

Security is usually a top priority for most people, and there is a good reason for this. After all, serious consequences arising from terrible problems may come into play if you leave your PC without protection. But what do you do when your security setup appears to be working against you?

We have seen several reports from users stating that they were unable to download a file or item because their PC overruled them and decided against it. The vast majority of the affected people saw a message stating that their current security settings did not allow the file to be downloaded.

Things to note:

If you came here to seek help, we expect you to know what you are doing in absolute terms. By this, we mean that you have correctly identified what file you want to download, you understand the risks involved when you are trying to fetch something from the internet, and so on. And finally, regardless of everything, you still intend to go on to download the file because you need it.

If you are trying to get an item from a dubious source, then it would be wise for you to reconsider your action. Nevertheless, we know that that there are scenarios where the error message or notification in view appeared and stopped users when they attempted a download of files from reputable and trustworthy websites or even the highest quality sources.

We are glad to inform you that you have arrived at the right place. In this guide, having explored its effects already, we will take a more profound look at the problem and proffer excellent solutions to help you get rid it of it.

Causes of the problem

In most scenarios, we believe that the problem is a result of incorrect internet configuration or settings. Software conflicts also make a fair share of the events leading to the issue especially those that have something to do with security programs. There are also less popular reasons due to which the problem might occur, but you need not worry about them because we have taken everything into account.

How to fix current security settings do not allow this file to be downloaded in Windows 10 and older versions (Windows 8.1 and Windows 7)

We will begin our attempt to resolve the issue with direct fixes that should prove useful mostly for users who are struggling with the standard strain of the problem. Generally, we will try to link the progression of the solutions on the list to their relative complexity to carry out and the chances that they might prove helpful to anyone.

From the explanation we gave above, it is easy to see why it would be wise for you to start with the first fix and move down when necessary.

Alter your internet options:

Certain parameters in your internet options (settings) might be the reason Windows is unable to download the file you want. To be fair, there are so many of them. Unfortunately, not every user is capable of digging deep into the configuration for apps to use the appropriate settings. Then again, a good number of those able to do so might lack the will to carry out any action until something forces their hand.

Follow these instructions to alter the necessary settings to get rid of the problem:

  • Press the Windows button on your keyboard or click on the Windows Start icon always present on your desktop screen. Here, you are going to perform a search. Input the following keywords into the text box present: Internet options

Select Internet Options (Control Panel) from the list of results that appear

  • After Windows opens the program window, you must navigate to the Security tab. There, you have to click on Internet or its icon. Once you have highlighted this item, you must click on the Custom Level button close to the bottom of the window
  • On the small new window that appears, you should see a list of settings. You have to scroll down to the section for Downloads and tick the radio button (Enable) for File Download and Font Download
  • You have done the main work required of you, but you must go a step further to work on some other important things to be sure. Go the section for Miscellaneous and enable the Prompt option for Launching application and unsafe files. Perform the same action for Launching programs and files in an IFRAME
  • Click on the OK button to save the changes you have just made. Exit all program windows you have running. Now you must attempt to download the file you could not get earlier and see if the operation goes smoothly this time. If you fail this time, restart your system and try again once your PC comes on and Windows settles down.

Reset the settings for your Internet Explorer:

Of course, we know that you came across the problem while you were trying to use your browser to fetch a file. It is only natural that the app involved comes into this discussion if we want to solve the problem.

Some Internet Explorer settings sometimes interfere with file download operations and this interference results in the appearance of this message to notify you of what happened: Your current security settings do not allow this file to be downloaded.

We do not have access to your PC, so it is incredibly difficult or borderline impossible for us to find out which exact part of your settings is to blame. We have no interest in knowing anyway. To be fair, if we could do that, it is still pointless—you would have known already which exact setting you must change to fix the problem without having to come to this page.

Now, let us forget all the things that could have been

You do not need to know what setting exact is causing the problem to fix it. A reset of all settings (to their default values) is all you need. Follow these instructions:

  • Open the Internet Options menu in the program you used not long ago. In case you have forgotten, we have to state that we provided instructions on doing this in the first step of the previous fix

Regardless, you are free to use this alternative method to open the needed program window which we would state for the last time. Press (and hold) the Windows button on your keyboard, then tap the letter R key to launch the Run app. Input the following code into the text box present and hit the Enter key to execute it at once: inetcpl.cpl

  • This time, after the program window launches, you must navigate to the Advanced tab. There, you will have to find the section for Reset Internet Explorer settings. After you locate it, you must click on the Reset button under the Reset Internet Explorer settings menu or its description
  • A small dialog box requesting confirmation for your action should appear on your screen. Tick the checkbox for Delete personal settings to get rid of the items in the description (browsing history, cookies, password, web form information, and so on)
  • Click on the Reset at the button to continue and confirm the process. Windows should now reset your browser settings. Close your browser app if it is still running. Ensure that none of its components are active. You might have to open the Task Manager program and see things for yourself to be sure.

Reopen your browser and confirm that the problem has disappeared.

Disable Windows defender:

By default, Microsoft bundles its operating system with Windows Defender for apparent reasons. The app does a reasonably decent job especially when we consider the fact that it belongs to the class of freeware the operating system maker built into the Windows environment.

Regardless of its existence, most users still go on to use third-party antivirus programs because they are more comprehensive in terms of their application or work in keeping out threats. If you are one of the people we are referring to, then this fix probably still applies to you because there is a good chance that you forgot to disable Windows Defender after your new security program came on board.

Moreover, there is not much risk to come from this action in your case since a different security program is already up and running. On the other hand, if you are a user who is entirely reliant on Windows Defender because no third-party security is running on your system, then we advise that you download and install a good antivirus if the operation proves successful in resolving your problem.

Follow these instructions to disable Windows Defender:

  • Open the Registry Editor app by pressing (and holding) the Windows button on your keyboard to launch the Run app, then inputting the following code into the text box present to execute it:regedit
  • After the program window shows up, you must navigate through the following items: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Policies \ Microsoft \ Windows Defender
  • In your current location, on the right pane, you should see this entry: DisableAntiSpyware. Continue with the instructions on the next step if you found this item

If you did not see the stated entry in your final location, then you have to create it yourself. A simple operation is required. Right-click on an empty area or space void of icons in the right pane of the Registry Editor program window and select New > DWORD (32-bit). Input DisableAntiSpyware as the name of the value in the required text field. Continue with the instructions below

  • Double-click on it to perform an editing operation. A small window should come up
  • Delete whatever is in its Value Data field and input 1 as a replacement. Click on OK to save the changes you just made.
  • Exit all the program windows you launched and restart your PC. After your computer boots up from a fresh startup, the new changes should have taken effect. Open your browser (usually Internet Explorer) and check if the problem is gone.

Work on your antivirus program:

Viruses, spyware and similar malicious items usually top the group of threats that we are exposed to in our everyday life. Antiviruses do a noble job fighting against them, but sometimes they go too far in terms of what they do to protect their hosts. They interfere with the operations of other problems and sometimes engage in activities that result in serious software conflicts and similar events.

We can hardly blame them though. The security job is rarely an easy one. It is only logical for developers to equip security programs with extensive or far-reaching abilities and it is natural in the same way that users tend to grant supreme powers to these apps because they want them to work well.

However, if your antivirus is genuinely the reason you are unable to download the file you need, then it is fair to say its actions have become counterproductive. In such a scenario, you have to restrict it, reduce its powers and abilities or take them away altogether. You might even have to uninstall the program entirely if nothing sticks no matter what you do, but we hope it never comes to that.

We propose that you carry out the operations necessary in a progressive manner. First, we recommend that you disable the Real-time protection option on your antivirus (if it is available for manipulation) or alter the setting that brings the same effect.

If nothing changed concerning your problem after you carried out the first move against your antivirus, then you must move on to disable it entirely or stop its operations altogether. As usual, you must check and see what effect this action has had on your problem to know if you need to continue.

Finally, if you find yourself still struggling with the problem even after you have restricted your antivirus in the most effective ways possible, then maybe the app and its core components are more impervious than we thought they were. If you strongly believe that it has something to do with your struggles, then you must go a step further to uninstall the program.

If you are running Windows 10, go through these steps to get rid of the app quickly:

  • Press the Windows button on your keyboard or click on the Windows Start icon always present on your desktop screen. From the programs and options that appear, you must select the Settings app by clicking on it to open it
  • After Windows launches the program window, click on System and Settings from the available menu. On the left pane, you should see a list of items of which you must click on Apps and Features
  • Now Windows should show you the list of programs currently installed on your computer. Go through the list and locate the app you want to uninstall (your antivirus). Click on it to highlight it
  • Windows should now show you an Uninstall button, which you must click on now. A small dialog box requesting confirmation for the operation should appear. Click on the Uninstall button there to confirm. Your system should now get rid of the app now
  • After the completion of the operation, you must restart your PC because significant changes have occurred and only a reboot will guarantee that they have taken effect. After your computer boots up and Windows settles down, you have to try and download the file again and see if your problem is gone for good this time.

If your problem really did go away, then your doubts on your antivirus being responsible for your issues would probably go away too. Now you have to solve the security problem once again. Recall how we went on about the fact that no PC should be left without protection earlier? Well, nothing has changed.

You should try another antivirus brand (from a different firm) and see how things go with the new software. Antiviruses do a similar job, but a good number of them go about their operations in ways that differ from the methods of the other. There is a good chance that you could find an antivirus that will not cause the same headaches or the ones similar to that which you suffered recently.

You could also download and run Auslogics Anti-malware instead. The recommended app is an excellent antimalware program that will do a superb job to keep you safe from threats without the need for you to compromise on the smooth running of other apps—it simply does not interfere with the operations of other programs or cause software conflicts.

You could even run it alongside an antivirus (designed to the same or similar) job and experience little or no problems at because the app is that good at working in tandem with others—it lets others play too. You are unlikely to go wrong with it.

Alter the settings in your mail:

The fix here is for a specific case of the problem. If your struggles involve you being unable to download XPS files on your computer, then the instructions here are what you need. You need to alter a single setting or variable. Follow these instructions:

  • Open your Mail app. Go into it Settings menu or select Tools. Click on Options from the list of items available
  • Untick the checkbox for Do not allow attachments to be saved or opened that could potentially be a virus. Save the changes you have just made
  • Try to download the attachment or file Windows refused to fetch earlier once more and see how the process goes this time

We find it a bit strange that Microsoft lets Windows detect XPS files as potentially dangerous items. After all, this format of data is supposed to be Microsoft’s answer to PDF (developed by Adobe Systems), but it never gained much traction since its introduction in Windows Vista. Events like these surely do not help its course.

Anyway, even though we expect that your problem should now be resolved, you must ensure that your security setup is first-rate and is in an excellent working state. After all, you just allowed altered a setting to let an item go through, but what if Windows was right and that thing is genuinely malicious? Well, your antivirus or antimalware program has got its work cut out for it.

Unblock the file manually:

We have seen reports from users in which they stated that they could not get specific items to run because Windows blocked their data or components directly. This issue is yet again another strain of the same problem, which prevents users from opening the accessing and opening the stuff they intend to use.

To be fair, we could say that such a setup is necessary because users tend to download numerous malicious items (unintentionally sometimes) and try to open them on their computer. We do not need to tell you what happens in such scenarios.

We know that a good number of viruses (and similar malicious files) cannot begin their destruction on your PC (their host) if you do not open or run them. Thus, if Windows frequently blocks such items from running even after you download them, we cannot begrudge it for trying to keep you safe.

Nevertheless, if you got to this point, then we expect you to be sure that what you downloaded is the real deal (free of viruses or malicious items). You can move on to fix the problem by following the instructions below:

  • Go to the folder housing the affected element (locate it in a File Explorer window). For example, if you are using Google Chrome, go to the list of downloads and click on the Show in folder link under the file you downloaded to end up in a File Explorer window where Windows has already highlighted the item you downloaded.
  • Once you have located the file, you have to right-click on it and select Properties from the list of options that appear. After the Properties window comes on, check for the Unblock option. You must click on it
  • Close the windows you opened. Now it is time you tried to open the affected file once more. We believe that Windows should let it through this time without complications.

Alter content settings (for PDF files and similar items):

The fix here is for users dealing with a unique case of the problem. If you saw the Your current settings do not allow this file to be downloaded error message or notification when you tried to view or download a PDF file (or item in a document format, and so on), then you are in luck.

Your problem (due to its form) is relatively easy to fix when compared to other strains of the same issue users struggle with on their PC. Follow these instructions:

  • Open Internet Options. You can find the instructions on doing this in the first fix, so there is nothing to see here. After the program window appears, you must navigate to the Advanced tab
  • Scroll to the section for Security (usually with a padlock icon). Tick the checkbox for Allow active content to run in files on My Computer
  • Click on the Apply button to continue. Click on the OK button to save the changes you carried out now
  • Close any program window that is running currently. Ensure that your browser app and none of its tabs, windows or components are open
  • Reopen your browser. It is now time you reattempted the file download or viewing operation you struggled with earlier and confirm that your problem is no more.

Revert to the standard security level:

If you recently altered the security settings that guide your Internet activities, then there is a good chance that you saw the problematic notification ( your current security settings do not allow this file to be downloaded message) because of it.

If you know what security level your system was on before you made the changes, then it is time you went back to it. If you have no knowledge of what was there before or you do not care about it, then you can reset your security level to its default values to get rid of the problem in the same way. Here are the instructions you need on carrying out the stated action:

  • Open Internet Options. You performed this step in the first and second fixes so you should be a bit familiar with it at least. You could always scroll up to see the full details
  • After the required program window appears, you must navigate to the Security tab. Click on Internet or Internet zone (depending on which one of them you see) to highlight them
  • Click on the Default level button on the lower part of the window to bring back the standard values. If the button is grayed out (which means you cannot use it), then you must click on the Reset all zones to default level button below. In fact, this might be the most effective button you could use here. Some users made similar claims to be fair
  • Click on the Apply button to continue. Click on the OK button to save the changes you just made
  • Now it is time you restarted your browser to let the changes take effect as usual. Exit any open window it has running. You could also terminate its app or its operation through the Task Manager program
  • Reopen your browser. Repeat the operation you failed to complete due to the problem and see what happens this time. If nothing changed, restart your system. When your PC comes on and after Windows boots up, open your browser as usual and find out if the problem still bothers you.

Disable User Account Control:

If you are yet to figure what it is from the description of its name, then we have to tell you that User Account Control is the setup controls or guide operations, which require the highest level of permissions. In other words, this feature works to prevent unauthorized users (or programs) from using the commands (or carrying out actions) that require administrative powers (or rights) for execution.

User Account Control plays a vital role in the fight against threats to be fair, so it is understandable that you might be a bit surprised if we ask you to disable it. The feature is what stops viruses and other malicious items from making damaging changes to your PC. Well, until you allow them yourself.

Since we have expanded on why it is useful, it is time we moved on to explain why you have to do away with it. The feature, for all the good it does, sometimes interferes with work it has no business dealing with to cause problems like which manifests before the appearance of this message: Your current security settings do not allow this file to be downloaded.

If you got to this point, then you definitely have tried a good number of fixes, but they failed to resolve your problem. We are not desperate but it is obvious we are running out of solutions, and we cannot keep turning our back on procedures, which may prove effective in getting rid of the problem in view because of the risks involved. Well, at least, until the risk becomes inconsequential.

You can follow these instructions to disable to User Account Control and see if this action has a significant effect on your problem:

  • Press the Windows button on your keyboard or click on the Windows Start icon always visible on your desktop screen. Input the following keywords into the text box present to perform a quick search: user account

From the list of results that appear, you must select User Accounts (Control Panel)

  • After the program window launches, click on the Change User Account Control Settings link under the Make changes to your account menu. On the next screen, you will see the Always notify and Never notify between a vertical slider
  • Take the slider down to its lowest point (Never notify). Click on the OK button to save the changes you just carried out. Exit the program windows you opened
  • As usual, you must reattempt the task you struggled with earlier due to the problem and confirm that everything is in order now.

If you are still unable to download, run or use the file, then we can deduce that User Account Control was not the cause of your problem. You must reverse the action you took (you have to re-enable it). There is no point in letting a change compromise your security if you gain nothing from it.

On the other hand, if you were able to complete or execute the operation you struggled with earlier after you disabled User Account Control, then you might have to continue using your PC without the stated functionality. The lack it, if we are honest, poses a security risk. However, you can reduce the chances of your computer falling into harm’s way if you follow some guidelines.

You must act extra careful at all times and keep in mind security recommendations like these:

  • Avoid opening files of when you are not sure of their origin or who sent them. In fact, avoid downloading suspicious items altogether.
  • Keep your antivirus up and running at all times. Ensure that Windows updates its threat definition or database regularly, and so on.

Add the affected site to the Trusted sites zone:

If you are struggling with downloads from a specific (or single) site, then you might be able to get rid of your problems by making exceptions for the affected website. In the Internet Properties menu, users can find a good number of zones to choose from and here we will be making use of the Trusted sites zone to fix things.

To stop seeing the message indicating that you cannot get a file because of your current settings, you will add the site you are trying to get the item from into the Trusted sites zone. Here are the instructions you need to follow:

  • Open Internet Options. No instructions are necessary here for obvious reasons. After the program window shows up, navigate to the Security tab. Click on Trusted sites (or its icon) to highlight it
  • Click on the Sites button on the left side of the Trusted sites option and its description. The Trusted sites program or menu window should appear now. In the text box under Add this website to the zone, you must input the URL for the affected site (where you are trying to fetch the file)
  • Click on the Add button to place the site into the Trusted sites zone list. You can go a step further to ensure further security by ticking the checkbox for Require server verification (https:) for all sites in this zone. Use this option only if the site in view supports secure communication over HTTP
  • Click on the Close button once you are done with the necessary operations. Click on the Apply button to continue. Click on the OK button to save the changes you just finished working on
  • Exit programs windows you opened and other apps you have running now (especially your browser). Reopen your browser and try to get the file the usual way. A significant number of users claimed to have solved their problem this way so we can only hope that it did something for you too.

Perform certain operations in Command Prompt:

Another group of users reported that they got rid of the problem confirmed by the Your current settings do not allow this file to be downloaded message by running some codes in an elevated Command Prompt. Note that we are relying on anecdotes here and we have limited information regards the effectiveness of the stated operation or the risks associated with it.

Well, if you are still struggling with the issue that prevents from downloading a file that might be very important to you, then you might as well throw a bit of caution to the wind and try a fix that could very well work. Go through these instructions:

  • First, you must open an elevated Command Prompt program (one with administrative powers or privileges). There are several ways of doing this. We believe this is the fastest method of the lot: right-click on the Windows Start icon always present on your desktop screen and select Command Prompt (Admin) from the list of programs and options you see

This method is the universal way (this procedure works on almost any Windows version or iteration): Press the Windows button on your keyboard or click on its icon that is always available on your desktop screen to perform a search. Input the following keyword into the text box present (start typing even if you cannot find one): cmd

From the results list, you must right-click on Command Prompt and select Run as administrator from the short menu that comes up

  • After you successfully launch the program window needed, you have to input the following code and tap the Enter button on your keyboard to run it at once: regsvr32 urlmon.dll
  • Windows should execute the command swiftly as requested. After it completes the process, close the Command Prompt window you opened and other apps running. Open your browser and attempt a re-download of the item you could not get earlier.

Export some registry keys from a working computer:

Here, we are going to describe the operations involved in another effective fix we gathered from the accounts of users who suffered from the display of the message and problem in view.

Unlike other fixes from users which we provided earlier, we consider this particular one to be risk-free since we understand the intricacies of all procedures you have to carry out. All you have to do is export the registry keys present on a problem-free system or the ones you obtain on the affected computer after you log in a new user account (void of issues) there.

If you lack access to another PC, then you are left with the second option only. You will have to create a new user account if you do not have one already. Moreover, if you have many old profiles, you must know that there is a good chance that this problem is active on all your existing user accounts. In that case, you will still need a fresh one. In fact, just go with a new profile to be sure.

Once you have everything you need ready, follow these instructions:

  • Access the problem-free PC if you decided to go with the new computer option (or log into the new user account if you are still using your problematic system). Press (and hold) the Windows button on your keyboard, then tap the letter R key to open the Run app
  • After the small program window appears, you must type in the following code into the text box present and hit the Enter key (or click on the OK button) once you are done to execute it: regedit
  • You should see the Registry Editor program window now. From the left pane, you must navigate through the following items: HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Software \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Internet Settings \ Zones
  • Right-click on Zones (a key) and select Export from the short menu list that appears. Choose the location or directory where you want Windows to store the needed item
  • You must also input a name for the registry file to save it. Use a name that you can recall or remember easily. We recommend good_zones.reg. Click on the Save button once you are done
  • Now you are free to exit the Registry Editor program you opened on the other device (or on your problematic computer through a new user account). You must return to the PC affected by the problem (or log back into the user account where the issue exists)
  • Open Registry Editor as usual (we provided instructions on doing in the first step of this fix). After the program window opens, you have to navigate through the following items this time: HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Software \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Internet Settings \ Zones
  • You must export the key here too. Follow the instructions we provided earlier in the third and fourth step of this fix to carry the necessary action. The key you are exporting here will serve as a backup. Place it in a safe location. We recommend that you save it on an external drive or flash drive

If things go wrong, you could quickly restore your system to normalcy (or a similar state since you cannot achieve normalcy with the problem still active)

  • Return to the Registry Editor program window. Now it is time you renamed your current Zones key to something like Zones_error. You could even delete at once it if you want nothing to do with it. Close the Registry Editor app after you finish your work on it
  • Now you have to locate the registry key you got from the problem free PC (or the one you obtained when you logged in a new user account in the affected computer). Run that key. Windows should add the exported item into the directory where it is needed automatically.

As usual, at the end of every fix, you have to check if your problem is still active. Attempt to download the file that got away and see if things go as they should. If you noticed that nothing changed, restart your PC and try again after your system comes on and Windows settles down.

We have arrived at the end of this guide. At this point, it is almost a certainty that you have fixed or solved the problem described by a message or error notification stating that your current security settings do not allow this file downloaded on Windows 10, Windows 8.1 or Windows 7.

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