Web Applications Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for power users of web applications. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

We use Google Apps for Education (Gmail) here for our corporate e-mail system. I have a resource available on a network share that I want to distribute to certain faculty and staff. I do not want to attach the resource to the e-mail: it's 30Mb and would fail on both file size and file type restrictions.

What I want to do is either attach shortcut file or include a hyperlink link to the resource on the network. Unfortunately, Gmail is making this difficult. Neither file:\\ links nor UNC paths (\\server\share\file) have been effective. This used to be easy to do with Outlook/Exchange. Is there any way to accomplish this? Any alternatives? I don't want to use a service that hosts the file online, as that would take a speedy in-network file transfer and force it to a much slower internet download.

I've also tried using a batch file (.bat) that will open the file, but attachments of that type do not work.

I tried creating the link via Outlook, but the Gmail web client strips it out. The link does work in Outlook, but few users have that setup.

share|improve this question
Ultimately, the correct solution here is that this is an installer file, and so I should use group policy to deploy it. But for various reasons that's not a good solution at the moment. – Joel Coehoorn Jul 15 '11 at 21:09
Can you clarify what you mean when you say UNC has been ineffective? I was able to link UNCs. i.min.us/jbSPJE.png – Sathya Jul 17 '11 at 5:50
@Sathya - it won't let me create the link. If I create the link in Outlook, it's stripped out when viewing it in the browser. – Joel Coehoorn Jul 18 '11 at 13:21
Hmm.. I wonder if this is a browser problem. – Joel Coehoorn Jul 18 '11 at 13:22
@Sathya - Does your hyperlink really point to the UNC, not to http://\\shaman\test? And if it does, did you create the link inside GMail's web interface? Because I couldn't reproduce that. ^^ – oleschri Jul 18 '11 at 16:05

I think your best option is to

  • paste the UNC path into your email as simple text
  • guide the recipient to copy/paste the UNC path to Windows Explorer's path box (Shortcut Win+e then F6) or to the Start/Run... dialog box (Shortcut Win+r).
share|improve this answer

Coming back to this today, what I would do is upload the 30MB file to Google Drive, make sure the uploaded file is shared with the appropriate people inside the organization, and then send a link to that instead.

I wanted to avoid it at the time because I wanted to avoid 100 staff and faculty all downloading the same 30MB file at the about the same time, but that would be less stressful for our network today than it once was.

I'd still like a solution that allows me to use my local network's storage for this, but this does at least work much of the time. But even then, if it became a real issue I could run the file through our local web server.

share|improve this answer

I had the same issue and thought I'd share my work-around. Since Gmail only lets you insert web or email hyperlinks into the body of an email, I put my network hyperlinks in a Word doc and sent it as an attachment, instructing the recipients to download the attachment to their desktop and open it from there to access the hyperlinks. It's a little ghetto, but it works.

share|improve this answer

You could create a shortcut on your desktop pasting in the UNC path. Then drag the shortcut file into the gmail window, it'll say drop file here to attach it. Then they could download the shortcut, "whereever.lnk" saving it on their desktop. When they click on it it will use the UNC path to get to the network resource.

share|improve this answer
The question already established that gmail won't let you attach .lnk files. – Joel Coehoorn Jul 29 '12 at 0:36

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.