Add File types to the Microsoft Outlook Attachment Manager

Martin Brinkmann
Apr 12, 2008
Updated • Mar 27, 2014
Email, Microsoft Outlook

Microsoft Outlook categorizes mail attachments into three risk types which are high, medium and low. Outlook uses the default Microsoft configuration to determine if a file poses a high, medium or low risk when the user tries to open the attachment.

The file extension .exe for instance poses a high risk while .txt does not and is seen as a low risk file extension. If a file type has not been specified by Microsoft it is seen as a medium risk. Microsoft Outlook can block or display warning messages whenever the user tries to open a file type that is seen as a high or medium risk.

This is probably not a problem for most users but if you do get lots of files of a certain type - at work for instance - then you might want to change the default configuration and lower the risk setting of that specific file type, provided that you know what you are doing and can determine whether a file is dangerous or not on your own.

The following tip provides you with the information you need to add new file types and risks which can be useful as well if you receive many files with unassigned risks and want them to be rated with a different rating than normal.

Edit file type risks in Windows

high risk files registry

You need to open the Windows Registry because the custom settings have to be added to the Registry.

  • Press Windows R, type regedit and tap on enter.
  • Now navigate to the Registry key HKEY_CURRENT_USER \Software \Microsoft \Windows \CurrentVersion \Policies.
  • Right-click the Policies key and select New -> Key and name that key Associations.

Three String values define additions to the risk settings of the Outlook Attachment Manager. They are:

  • HighRiskFileTypes
  • ModRiskFileTypes
  • LowRiskFileTypes

If you wanted to add some file types as low risks you would create a new String and name it LowRiskFileTypes. The value of the key can be changed by double-clicking it. Now add file types to it and separate them with a ";". To add .exe and .avi as a value you would add the following string in that field: ".exe;.avi".

Group Policy Editor

attachment manager file types

If you have access to the Group Policy Editor -- most professional Windows versions support it -- you can make those modifications to the risk assessment of files right in its interface as well.

  1. Press Windows-R to bring up the run box.
  2. Type gpedit.msc and hit the enter key on the keyboard.
  3. When the Group Policy Editor opens, navigate to the following path:  Local Computer Policy > User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Attachment Manager
  4. Here you find policies for the three risk types low, moderate and high.

They are not enabled by default. To edit one or several of them, double-click on a policy and switch it to enabled. Once you do, you can add file extensions to the inclusion list.

When you make modifications here, they are automatically added to the Registry so that you can in theory edit the entries there as well.


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  1. JMGG said on January 19, 2012 at 8:25 am

    You said that Outlook isn’t your main email client, so which is your main one?

    1. BalaC said on January 19, 2012 at 9:42 am

      I think its thunderbird

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on January 19, 2012 at 10:15 am

      It is Mozilla Thunderbird.

  2. Salaam said on September 24, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    Awesome! This actually solved my problem… what a stupid bug.

  3. Claud said on December 19, 2012 at 2:08 am

    If this is the same bug that I’ve encountered, there may be another fix: (1) hover over open Outlook item in Taskbar, cursor up to hover over Outlook window item, and right-click; (2) this should give you Restore / Move / Size / Minimize / Maximize — choose Move or Size; (3) use your cursor keys, going arbitrarily N/S/E/W, to try to move or size the Outlook window back into view. Basically, the app behaves as though it were open in a 0x0 window, or at a location that’s offscreen, and this will frequently work to resize and/or move the window. Don’t forget to close while resized/moved, so that Outlook remembers the size/position for next time.

    1. Lynda said on February 12, 2013 at 3:37 pm

      THANK YOU Claude!!! I could get the main window to launch but could not get any other message window to show on the desktop. You are my hero!!!!

    2. Chad said on November 20, 2018 at 4:24 pm

      Solved my issue! 6 years later and this is still problem…

    3. Ivan X said on January 21, 2021 at 4:50 pm

      Fantastic. Thank you. Size did the trick.

  4. Andrew said on October 26, 2013 at 7:06 am

    This solved my Outlook problem, too. Thank you. :)

  5. Charles said on December 7, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    Thank you so much, this started happening to me today and was causing big problems. You are a life saver, I hope I can help you in some way some day.

  6. garth said on November 7, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    You are a god – thank you!

  7. Faisal said on February 9, 2015 at 10:09 am

    thanks a lot…. work like charm.. :-)

  8. Simon said on March 24, 2015 at 11:36 pm

    Yah…thanks Claude. I’ve been having the same problem and tried all the suggestions…your solution was the answer. It had resized itself to a 0/0 box. Cheers

  9. Olu said on April 14, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    Excellent post. This had me baffled even trying to accurately describe the problem. This fixed it for me.
    Thank you

  10. Coenig said on July 23, 2015 at 7:36 am

    Thanks a lot for the article. Don’t know why it happenend, don’t know how it got fixed, but it was really annoying and now it works :-)

  11. Fali said on January 20, 2016 at 4:19 pm

    Thanks a lot. I was facing this issue from past 3 week. I tried everything but no resolution. The issue was happening intermittently and mainly when I was changing the display of screen ( as i use 2 monitors). The only option i had was to do system restore. But thanks to you.

    1. MIki said on January 10, 2019 at 11:54 am

      I’ve been tried to sole this problem for 12hours. Your comment about changing the display of screen helped me a lot!! Thanks!!

  12. Christina said on January 20, 2016 at 6:14 pm

    Thank you…don’t know why this happened but your instructions helped me fix it. Running Windows 10 and office pro 2007

  13. Oz said on July 22, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    Great tip! Thanks!

  14. Tracy said on September 1, 2016 at 4:48 pm

    Worked for me, too – thank you!!!

  15. shawn said on September 9, 2016 at 10:25 am

    It’s Worked for me, too
    thank you very much!

  16. Jari said on October 31, 2016 at 11:53 am

    I had a similar issue with Outlook 2013 on Windows 10 and this helped me to fix it. Thank you very much!

  17. Michel H said on November 30, 2016 at 11:08 pm

    Thank you so much. Solved!
    Considering you published this in 2012, incredible not been debugged by Microsoft.
    Thank you again. M

  18. Ziad Bitar said on January 9, 2017 at 2:00 am

    This problem was faced by only one user logging to TS 2008 r2 using outlook 2010.The issue was resolved.


  19. Anonymous said on February 15, 2017 at 5:24 pm

    Great tip. Thank you!!!! If it helps, I had to use the Control Key and the arrow keys at the same time to bring my window back into view. Worked like a charm.

  20. Rochelle said on March 6, 2017 at 11:59 am

    Thank you, this worked !!!!

  21. anom1234 said on May 20, 2018 at 11:20 pm

    Man, you are a fucking god. Thanks a lot, what an annoying bug!!

  22. JC said on October 12, 2020 at 2:14 pm

    Awesome, this post solved the issue. Many thanks!

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