Fix Chrome’s Safe Browsing feature blocking some downloads in the browser

Google Chrome, Chromium, and probably the majority of web browsers based on it, come with a security module that scans file downloads automatically.

The feature, called Safe Browsing by Google, displays a prompt at the bottom of the browser screen that informs you about malicious files that it has detected.

In fact, there are two different messages that may be displayed by Safe Browsing. The first reads "This file appears to be malicious. Are you sure you want to continue" while the second reads "[filename] is malicious, and Chrome has blocked it".

The first gives you options to discard the download or save it anyway, while the latter only a dismiss button with no option whatsoever to download the file anyway to your system.

When you try to download the most recent version of the popular Bittorrent application uTorrent for example from the official website, you get the second warning which blocks the file from being downloaded to your system.

Since you only have a dismiss option, you cannot command Chrome to save the file anyway on your system, at least not using this menu.

chrome is malicious

A quick test on Virustotal, a Google service that scans files with more than 50 different antivirus engines, returned exactly 0 hits. This means that all antivirus engines used by the service did not find any traces of malware in the file.

It is not clear why Chrome determined that uTorrent is malware, especially since its own virus scanning service came to a different conclusion during tests.

So what can you do about it?

chrome malicious protection

Google Chrome Privacy Preferences

You could turn off Google's Safe Browsing feature in Chrome to avoid this from happening in the future.

  1. Load chrome://settings/in the browser.
  2. Select "show advanced settings" at the bottom of the screen.
  3. Under Privacy, locate "enable phishing and malware protection" and remove the checkmark from the preference.
  4. This disables all phishing and malware checks in the browser.

If you rely on those, it is better to keep it turned on considering that this impacts other security features such as phishing protection as well.

Note also that Chrome will displays a "This type of file can harm your computer. Do you want to keep [filename] anyway?" warning even if you have disabled the protection feature under privacy.

If you happen to open the downloads page by loading chrome://downloads/# you will notice that the files are listed here including an option to "recover [the] malicious file". If you do that, the file is restored on the system so that it becomes available one it.

Article Name
Fix Chrome's Safe Browsing feature blocking some downloads in the browser
Google Chrome blocks downloads that it believes to be malicious. Find out how to download those files anyway to your system.
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Responses to Fix Chrome’s Safe Browsing feature blocking some downloads in the browser

  1. Pants July 15, 2014 at 1:21 pm #

    Meanwhile .. back in the Apple walled garden, The V*****a Monologues is still available to buy (but only with asterisks). I sure hope google doesn't also become the world's self appointed moral police.

  2. insanelyapple July 15, 2014 at 2:07 pm #

    Yet another reason to stay away from that piece of...

  3. Dwight Stegall July 15, 2014 at 2:26 pm #

    To view all internal links in Chrome use chrome://about

  4. Dwight Stegall July 15, 2014 at 2:30 pm #

    I have been a loyal Firefox fan since day one. But I have been having too many problems with it on Facebook and Twitter. Now I have been forced to use it as my secondary browser. Chrome Canary 64-bit for Windows 7 is now my primary browser. But I hope it doesn't have to stay that way. Firefox can do hundreds of things no other browser can do.

  5. ilev July 15, 2014 at 4:12 pm #

    I have Enable phishing and malware protection ON, and just downloaded uTorrent for test, with no blocking by Chrome beta.

    • Martin Brinkmann July 15, 2014 at 4:21 pm #

      It was blocked in Chrome Stable when I tried it and in Chromium.

      • ilev July 15, 2014 at 5:22 pm #


  6. erick July 15, 2014 at 4:15 pm #

    Interesting entry about power consumption on Chrome

  7. Robert Palmar July 15, 2014 at 7:18 pm #

    This is Google's definition of "safe browsing"
    as designed and approved by the MPAA.

  8. smaragdus July 15, 2014 at 8:18 pm #

    For the first time I agree with Google, I too consider uTorrent to be malicious, harmful and dangerous (after Ludvig Strigeus sold it to BitTorrent Inc.) :)

  9. Doc July 16, 2014 at 12:33 am #

    "...informs you about malicious files that it." Um, missing a word or three here?

  10. Alex December 1, 2014 at 9:16 pm #

    I encounter this problem when I try to download Apache Open Office.....

  11. Amanda January 18, 2015 at 4:37 am #

    Very quick, helpful information! Thank you so much!

  12. Francis March 9, 2015 at 10:38 am #

    Thank you for this. I was having trouble with two files and all the rest were okay. I ran my URLs through virustotal as suggested, and one site out of 62 decided my files were malicious. On both occasions it was Dr.Web. I adjusted the advanced settings within Chrome; and my problem was solved. Thanks for your help; greatly appreciated. Cheers

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