"Your Internet security settings prevented one or more files from being opened" error when opening files

Important

The Internet Explorer 11 desktop application will be retired and go out of support on June 15, 2022 (for a list of what's in scope, see the FAQ). The same IE11 apps and sites you use today can open in Microsoft Edge with Internet Explorer mode. Learn more here.

This article provides the methods for you to solve the error message that occurs when you open files by using Internet Explorer in Windows 7.

Original product version:   Internet Explorer, Windows 7
Original KB number:   2588679

Symptoms

When you try to open a file by using Internet Explorer in Windows 7, you receive the following error message:

These files can't be opened.
Your Internet security settings prevented one or more files from being opened.

Screenshot of the error message dialog box.

Cause

This issue may occur because the following conditions are true:

  • The file type that you are trying to open is considered unsafe.
  • The Launching applications and unsafe file security setting is set to Disable for the zone that is associated with where the file originated.

Resolution 1: Reset Internet Explorer security zone settings to their default level

To reset Internet Explorer security zone settings to their default level, follow these steps:

  1. Start Internet Explorer.
  2. Click Tool, and then click Internet options.
  3. Click the Security tab.
  4. Click Reset all zones to default level, and then click OK.

Resolution 2: Reset Internet Explorer settings

Note

The steps in this article may not fully resolve the issue. For example, if the current Internet Explorer settings are being enforced by a Group Policy object (GPO), these steps may not resolve the issue. If you want further assistance in resolving the problem that is described in this article, contact Microsoft Customer Support.

More information

When files are downloaded to a local computer that is running Windows XP Service Pack 2 or a later version, a security zone identifier is stored together with the file properties. This identifier corresponds to the Internet Explorer security zone for where the file was obtained.

When a downloaded file is identified as an unsafe file type, the Launching applications and unsafe file option for the corresponding security zone is queried for one of three options: Enable, Prompt, or Disable. The dialog that is mentioned in the Symptoms section will be displayed when the Launching applications and unsafe file option is set to Disabled.

For more information about unsafe file types, see:

For more information about the process that is used to apply zone identifiers to files, see Information about the Attachment Manager in Microsoft Windows.

For more information about the Internet Explorer security zones, see Internet Explorer security zones registry entries for advanced users.