Windows Server 2008 “Your current security settings do not allow this file to be downloaded”

This is, by far, my most popular blog topic. Please leave some feedback if it helped you, or if I can improve it.

Occasionally I have to install a Web server or SQL Server on a fresh Windows Server 2008 R2 operating system, and by far the most annoying bit about it is just getting windows updates and the downloads you need onto the machine. Here’s a reminder (more for myself) how to quickly enable Internet Explorer 9 to act normally, even if it’s just temporarily.

There are a few options to get the job done. – The quickest and least secure method is at the end – via Server Manager.

Option 1 Add the site to your trusted sites

When you try and click a link, you’ll probably see this dialog.


You can simply add the current site to the trusted sites list by the Add… button.

This has the same effect as enabling file downloads manually (Option 2) but will also allow much more than just file downloads to take place, so only use this if you really do trust the site.

Option 2 Enable file downloads for the internet zone

  1. Open Internet Explorer.
  2. Click the  Cog icon and then click on Internet Options
  3. Click on the Security tab
  4. Select the Internet Zone.
  5. Click on the Custom Level… button
  6. Scroll to the Download section.
  7. Enable File download.
  8. Click OK and .
  9. Restart Internet Explorer.


Option 3 Use another computer to get the downloads (recommended for maximum security)

  1. Use whatever mechanism you can to transfer the files (USB, File share, FTP, DVD, ISO mount, the list goes on….)

Option 4 Install Google Chrome

  1. Yep, them pesky settings only apply to IE!

Option 5 Disable Protection (probably the worst idea and might not help at all)

Because there are many ways in which you can have a file sent to you (not just by clicking a direct link) you may find that the only way to get the download started (other than trusting the site), is to disable protection. I’ve not encountered a situation yet where this has helped, but I’ve not tried hard enough. I’ve seen this suggested on other forums so thought I’d better include it. But see the link at point 3, this option opens up a whole can of worms. If in doubt, choose option 3!

  1. Click the Cog icon, and select Internet Options
  2. Go to the Security tab
  3. Uncheck the Enable protected mode tick box. Want to know what it really does? See here.
  4. OK the Internet Options page and Restart IE

You will now be nagged about not being protected any more. Try not to catch a cold. If you love screen shots, see this guide.


Option 6 Disable IE Enhanced Security via Server Manager

You can do this quickly through the Server Manager (from the Start Menu). The same implications apply as Option 5 above (no doubt).


15 thoughts on “Windows Server 2008 “Your current security settings do not allow this file to be downloaded”

  1. Thanks Option 2 worked.
    Microsoft is the most idiotic software company. They restrict you from their own updates but cant stop Malware.

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