Trick Gmail Antivirus Scanner: Send Any File Type with Gmail. (.exe, .dll, .com, .bat)

gmaillogo2Are you a Gmail user? Have you ever tried to send a .zip file or .exe as an attachment and had it rejected? If so you better read up on how JVF fixes this frustrating occurrence with an easy work around.

We all know that Google has some the best spam filtering and phishing detection capabilities on the planet, but the new Gmail virus scanning is a bit disappointing. When you send and receive attachments with Gmail, they are auto scanned for viruses. If Gmail thinks your mail has a virus attached, it will attempt to clean the file or remove it. If it detects a virus and can’t remove it, then you won’t be able to download it. Sometimes it randomly thinks your attachment is SPAM, deletes it, and then never notifies either party of what happened. Gmail, where did my email go?

All of that is fine and dandy, but what is with the restriction on some of the most basic file extensions? Thanks to the new Gmail antivirus scanner, we are no longer allowed to send or receive emails with .exe, .dll, .ocx, .com or .bat attachments. Even if the same files are sent in a zipped format (.zip, .tar, .tgz, .taz, .z, .gz) they will be rejected! To the best of our knowledge the only format is still allowed is .rar, which is good news for WinRAR users.

I first noticed this when I tried to send a small installer application as an attachment to a friend. When I uploaded the .exe file to Gmail it gave me the alert:

“This is an executable file. For security reasons, Gmail does not allow you to send this type of file.”

Wow, are you serious!?! The file I uploaded was not scanned at all, it was just blocked immediately since it was an exe file. Why would Google call this an antivirus scanner when it is merely just blocking attachments with certain file extensions? Yahoo’s webmail also has an anti-virus scanner, but it actually works! They accept .exe files,  and they even scan and clean the files if they were found to be infected.

Why would Gmail even allow me to upload the entire exe file to its server for scanning, but not scan it since it was an exe.? The Gmail file uploader should be smart enough to disallow users from uploading files with extensions like exe, com, ocx, etc. This would save time for everyone, especially all users who are still using a dial up connection.

Google has no plans to stop blocking executables as attachments in Gmail, and they also haven’t leaked any information as to who is providing the antivirus technology. Yahoo! Mail uses Symantec software to scan for viruses. Hotmail licenses its technology from Trend Micro. Why isn’t Google saying which vendor is providing their antivirus technology?

Since you cannot turn off the Gmail antivirus scanning utility, you can use one of the following methods to send an executable program file (exe), and other blocked file formats in Gmail.

1. Rename the file. Change the file extension to fool the Gmail scanner. Example: rename to update.zib

Or rename the attachment to contain instructions for the recipient to property use it. For example: rename update.exe to update.exe.removeme

2. Use a free file hosting service like MediaFire, Dropbox, or Box to upload your file. Then email the link to the location of your uploaded file in the body of your Gmail message.

3. If you have lot of .exe files to send, put them in a zip file and change the extension of the zip file as mentioned in step one. Remember, Gmail denies zip attachments that contain exe files. Password protection won’t work either since Gmail is able to examine .exe filenames even in password protected zipped file. s as the archived filename listings are not encrypted by the Zip program.

4. Use different compression software like WinRAR. It compresses files in .rar format which is not currently blocked by Google. There is a high probability that Gmail will not support .rar formats in future. So if you do send one be sure the recipient actually received it.

Important: I recommend using only the first technique since all others violate Google’s terms and policies. If they do find out they could terminate your Gmail account completely.

Sending virus infected files with Gmail  is against Google’s terms of service policy. In some rare cases, If you need to mail an infected file for reporting purposes to an antivirus vendor, like the Symantec Security Response center, you can use any of the above techniques to bypass the virus scanner and attach infected files in your emails.

If you know of a tip or trick for sending attachments through Gmail that we did not list, please post your story in our comments section! Our avid readers will only benefit from your positive comments!


  • ganta sattibabu

    For security reasons, Gmail does not allow you to use this type of file as it violates Google policy for executables and archives.

  • josh

    It looks like .7z extension is now readable by the virus scanner. I typically use 7zip because it is free, integrates into Windows menus, and is extremely fast. Thankfully 7zip also provides a .wim file extension that will let you bypass the virus scanner. All of this work because I was trying to send a custom shortcut.

  • Oyuka

    I cannot download some of the attachments. I sometimes send myself emails with some backup files attached. They are in *.rar format. I exactly know the content of the files I attached but Gmail says “virus found”. how to solve it. Unfortunately i deleted this files from my pc

  • Phil Cooper

    If you’re using an email client such as Thunderbird on your computer, instead of using Google’s SMTP server to send a message with an attached zip file, temporarily reconfigure your client to use a different SMPT server that doesn’t scan or block message content. Once the zip file has been sent, reconfigure your client to use the Gmail SMTP server again. Clients such as Thunderbird remember SMTP outgoing servers and it just takes a few mouse clicks and keystrokes to switch between them once they’ve been configured and saved. There are a few mailing services that rent SMTP capacity for mass-mailers, but some also allow one to have a free account for testing or for low-volume personal purposes, although these have become rare due to the concerns of open relays being abused for spamming.

  • George

    I have had this same problem, the best way that I have found is by uploading the file to google drive and then changing its rights to “anyone with the link” and sending the link with the email.

  • Nice post, it is working dude. I never knew solution could be so simple.

  • Deepak Dhyani

    Hi, I am trying to send .rar file by gmail id but coming error domain failed by recipient & if i am sending from my another gmail account so that is working properly so, please suggest me & why not going .rar file from my first gmail account even my both gmail setting are same.

  • I just got an email from a client stating he could not download an Excel file because it had a “virus.” I went back to the file I sent him, scanned, it with Kaspersky, and there was no virus…I tried to email him the Excel file through Gmail, and it blocked its upload stating it was infected with a virus…
    Interestingly enough, xlxs files are not treated that way, but xls files are…hope your work around fixes this problem too…
    This is too bad…I really like Gmail and hate that I may have to find something else…

  • I usually change the extension of the file to send through gmail, which is effective for me.

  • Fred

    If a restricted file is in a zip file (in this example named rename it to file.jar(it will not create manifest) and then change back after sending (it works because gmail accepts jar files without searching them and jar files are the same as zip files except (usually) jars have a manifest file (this one wont)

  • Mikant

    to quickly send a *exe || *.dll file to gmail user I usually do so:
    right-click on a file: “add to archive and send by e-mail” (I have WinRAR installed), on ‘additional’ tab – ‘set password’. type for ex. 123 and click ‘encrypt file names’. enter) and type recepient gmail address in my Windows Live Mail app). it takes about 10 seconds.

  • Elen

    The fact that Gmail does not accept files EXE me very much is always disappointing. It’s always complicates the work. What was written in the article really works. For what thanks to its creators. I’m sure it will help many people as I do.

  • I don’t even trust Gmail with scanning files, just to to and scan it with many scanners at once there, works wonders if you have suspicious files.

  • lol

    I used the trick of renaming the extension (which in my book everyone should have learned when they were 11, max) and then i searched (whilst uploading “lol.png, a rough 50 mB’s in size) for any other known tricks regarding google’s mail service.

    but i guess the trick everybody knows still works and has no substitute.

    very funny these noobs that always make accounts everywhere with they’re questions about the obvious.

  • Mark

    yes first method is best and safe and less time consuming,thanks

  • Wow, this trick helps me a lot. I want to send some files to my friend. now I use this trick. Thanks

  • Excellent tips for gmail users. Thanks for informing all those important facilities of gmail service and made my usage effective.

  • Philly

    Awesome tricks! I wondered if there were ways around this. Glad you helped with my problem!

  • Jay

    WinRAR is a great program and a .rar extension will, as you point out, let you get .exe archives past the Gmail scanners. When it comes to this type of file though, I usually just use my server space to store and/or transfer something like an .exe instead of emailing it as an attachment.