Windows Favorites throw File Download Security Warning popup

Martin Brinkmann
Sep 24, 2016

If you open favorites on up to date Windows PCs from the favorites folder, you may get a File Download - Security Warning popup whenever you do so.

The popup is a security warning that asks you whether you "want to open this file". It lists the name, type, and location, and displays open and cancel buttons in its interface.

The rather strange thing is that this happens only when you work with favorites in the Windows Favorites folder.

If you move the same favorite to another location, e.g. the desktop or downloads, it opens the web address just fine in the default web browser.

File Download Security Warning popup

favorites file-download security warning

Reports started to come in about the new behavior shortly after Microsoft pushed out September's security patches for supported versions of Windows.

Users managed to pin-point the issue to KB3185319, a cumulative update for Internet Explorer. If you uninstall the update, the issue goes away.

This is not really recommended though, as it is fixing security issues in Internet Explorer.

This security update resolves several reported vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer. The most severe of these vulnerabilities could allow remote code execution if a user views a specially crafted webpage in Internet Explorer.

You may process all files found in the Favorites folder to make the warning popup go away for them. The one issue however is that this won't take care of future favorites that you add to the folder.

The only solution right now is to re-run the command to cover those as well.

  1. Tap on the Windows-key, type cmd and hit the Enter-key.
  2. Run the following two commands one after the other
  3. PUSHD C:\Users\user_name\Favorites -- Make sure you replace user_name with the name of the user affected by the issue.

The first command -- Pushd -- opens the Favorites folder on the command line. You can navigate to it manually as well using CD if you prefer that.

The second command -- ICACLS -- requires more explanation. It is designed to display or modify access control lists on files.

  • /t -- performs the operation on all files in the directory including all sub directories.
  • /l -- performs the operation on a symbolic link versus its destination
  • /setintegritylevel med -- changes the integrity level of specified files -- in this case all .url files -- to medium.

Once you have run the command, you will notice that all favorites that you open from inside the Favorites folder open without theFile Download Security Warning prompt. (via Windows Report)

Now You: are you experiencing the issue on your system?

Windows Favorites throw File Download Security Warning popup
Article Name
Windows Favorites throw File Download Security Warning popup
If you open favorites on up to date Windows PCs from the favorites folder, you may get a File Download - Security Warning popup whenever you do so.
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  1. James said on October 4, 2016 at 3:39 pm

    Worked perfectly, no more Security Warnings, thanx much

  2. Anonymous said on October 2, 2016 at 11:26 pm

    Thank you — Worked perfectly!!! Nice Job

  3. Evan said on October 1, 2016 at 10:56 pm

    Thank you Martin Brinkmann! This has been annoying me since the Anniversary update and I’ve been working on it for what seems like weeks. Problem solved in minutes.

  4. jupe said on September 25, 2016 at 3:03 am

    if you use PUSHD %USERPROFILE%\Favorites you won’t have to enter your specific username

  5. Mikhoul said on September 24, 2016 at 8:51 pm

    We can see one more time (it will not be the last) the good QA Microsoft have those days…

  6. Mark Hazard said on September 24, 2016 at 4:42 pm

    Yes, it happened to me on Windows 8.1. I never use the Favorites folder, using the browser bookmark bar or menu instead.
    However, it did happen when I read this article and tried it in File Explorer. I am not sure what I should do, if anything.

  7. Rotten Scoundrel said on September 24, 2016 at 4:42 pm

    I am sorry for all the bad things I have said about msoft. NOW I trust them!!! LOL

    1. Corky said on September 24, 2016 at 7:01 pm

      You know what would be the worst thing if they ever implemented that, we’d have people applauding Microsoft and saying how great it is to have their computer tracking everything they do on it, some people seem to have no sense of history or privacy and the implications of living in a panopticon.

    2. Rotten Scoundrel said on September 24, 2016 at 4:43 pm

      and… October marks the fist month of no-option bullying-updates for 8.1 and 7.

      Yup, I love them.

  8. Corky said on September 24, 2016 at 2:19 pm

    Cant ICACLS be used on the folder so all new files inherit the new permissions?

  9. Anonymous said on September 24, 2016 at 9:40 am

    BTW Microsoft is right, recent statistics shows one in two people divorce because of these internet files.

  10. Anonymous said on September 24, 2016 at 9:26 am

    Well, if internet files are dangerous like this, why the first thing Microsoft is doing when you run Windows 10 for the first time is by default to upload them from the virtual images folder on their american clouds?

  11. fena said on September 24, 2016 at 9:01 am

    After all these years I never knew there was a favourites folder. Probably because it’s an american spelling mistake. Even so I have never & will never use. Thanks Martin i do enjoy all your writings. Cheers.

    1. The Flash said on September 24, 2016 at 1:55 pm

      It’s the british who spelled it wrong.

      1. Tom Hawack said on September 25, 2016 at 5:08 pm

        @ D.
        I’m afraid I don’t understand the slightest word of what you’re talking about! true I got to dialog here with one or several French speaking guests (maybe was it you?) but I cannot fit them in your scenario!
        You know the world of anonymity participates to a world of illusions and scenarios can quickly be built when we consciously or not assemble elements of our sessions and then extrapolate a story which aims to render the assembled elements coherent one with another. This is why I’ve always advocated facts. On another hand facts are the artist’s enemy because the artist perceives things differently. Maybe are you an artist, D.? What I can tell you is that your creation sounds nicely as a science-fiction one but corresponds to nothing, or should I say to nothing I’m aware of …

        I respect artists. To prove my admiration for talent I’m joining a link to a retouched photo of myself, a work performed 10 years ago which aimed at aging me by 20 years (hence the pic should fit to reality in 2027). A friend of mine, the artist, wanted to play on the idea of aging rather than making look younger and then we had fun at adding something that looked like a picture’s description within data… science-fiction!

        Here’s for you, hoping it’ll make you smile and recall that reality and imagination don’t always correspond ;)

        Have fun, don’t make things complicated. here on Ghacks I believe we learn, share and sometimes add a touch of exoticism … for fun!

        Last possibility, to which I’d subscribe but only silently, is that you are already having fun :)

      2. D. said on September 25, 2016 at 4:10 pm

        @ Tom Hawack, say what you will you are going to any way. I have never seen it stop you over here. My happiest moment here with you is when your fellow country men stopped the acting with you over here and brought you off stage and back into the audience. I kept feeling I was at a bad play at “The Old Vick”. He remembered you. I think from some where else. You went to talking in French if I’m correct. I don’t know what he said to you or care but it worked. I think more people are grateful than have said being polite about that.

        Some people are grateful for the knowledge on what you do know, but the other I had know idea what that was about, probably like most. The point is it stopped. That is a good thing.

        You and I both have an opinion on how things are. I have a lot more to say and I’m sure you do to but this is not the place. This is ghacks. This is ending :)

      3. Tom Hawack said on September 25, 2016 at 10:18 am

        @ D. your “we” makes me feel paranoid. How many are you? Have you taken control of the entire infrastructure, medias ans airports included? Is the area clean?
        Whoever you are you’re mighty good, I like that, talent, strength, brains, all committed to make my day :)

      4. D. said on September 25, 2016 at 2:04 am

        @Tom Hawack, it sounds like we made your How did I know you would show up. I liked the joke. Have a nice weekend Tom :)

      5. Tom Hawack said on September 24, 2016 at 10:16 pm

        Last time I encountered an English linguist was when he corrected two Americans who had dared to say “We must go” with a “In proper English you should say “We must part” … to what the Yankees answered “yeah, we have to move off” …

        More seriously the English language is trickery as it may lead anyone who manages to order a BigMac in Shakespeare’s language to believe he is fluent in the language. English, English literature as well as American includes savant rhetoric far beyond the everyday means to communicate it provides. And, as well as in all languages, speaking correctly, when not in a mannered way, is a true pleasure for all.

        Well, I’m off :)

      6. D. said on September 24, 2016 at 8:42 pm

        @ The Flash. Lord knows we would not want them to lose their way around because of names. I’m sure you could change that to the English version. How have they made it all this time. I’m sure they say the same about us. Probably with good reason…smiles. I’m joking with you and them. I’m half English and Irish and the Irish is having fun right now. Have a good day guy’s.

      7. Corky said on September 24, 2016 at 2:17 pm

        @The Flash, don’t be silly, it’s called the English language for a reason you know, besides the OED lists the word “favourite” as being used in the late 16th century (as a noun): from obsolete French favorit, from Italian favorito, past participle of favorire to favour, from Latin favor..

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