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How can I send a windows executable via Gmail?

Why doesn't Gmail allow to attach EXE files? It's very annoying.
Gmail even denies if I archive the .exe file to .zip.
Why did they decide to do that?

How do you do it when you want to attach an EXE file?

  • 1
    Since you are not comfortable with any of the solutions below(Mehper C. Palavuzlar's), I think you should ask the person in the receiving end to download necessary file from where you downloaded originally.
    – Chethan S.
    May 8, 2011 at 15:27
  • An encrypted 7-zip archive inside a normal ZIP archive works for me without any renaming. Feb 11, 2022 at 23:40

3 Answers 3


Thanks to the new GMail AntiVirus Scanner, you cannot send or receive emails with exe, dll, ocx, com or bat attachments even if they are sent in a zipped (.zip, .tar, .tgz, .taz, .z, .gz) format (The .rar format is still allowed).

Since you cannot Turn Off GMail AntiVirus Scanning, you can use these GMail hacks to send program file (exe), virus samples and other blocked formats with GMail:

  1. Use a free file hosing online service like Rapidshare, Megaupload or Yousendit to upload your file and send the link of the uploaded file in your GMail message.

  2. Rename the file: Change the file extension to fool the GMail scanner. The new attachment could contain instructions making it easier for the recepient to derive the actuall attachment type. For instance,

    Rename Adobe-Reader.exe to Adobe-Reader.exe.removeme

  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 the previous step. Remember that GMail denies zip attachments that contain exe files. Pass-Protection won't work either since GMail can examine exe filenames even in password protected zipped files as the archived filename listings are not encrypted by the Zip program.

  4. Use a different compression software like WinRAR which compresses files in .rar format. GMail is currently not scanning or blocking .rar filetypes. But there is a high probability that GMail might support rar formats in future. In that case, you can consider splitting the rar files and attaching them separately (like .r1, .r2..)

Important: I would recommend only the first technique since all others violate Google policies and Google could even terminate your GMail account.

Source: Attach and Send Any File Type with GMail Like EXE, ZIP, Videos; Trick GMail Antivirus Scanner

On 05/14/2012 (today), I attempted to upload a .rar file that contained a .vb file - one of Googles banned file types. gmail does not allow .rar files containing banned file types anymore either.

  • Thanks Mehper. IMO, tip1 has big drawback. It depends on other services. I want to save attachment file in gmail but not other service. tip2,3,4 makes people who receive mail uncomfortable. They should rename again, and have to install RAR if they don't have it. Any better idea?
    – Benjamin
    May 8, 2011 at 13:10
  • @Benjamin: Sorry but I can't think of any other solutions better than these... May 8, 2011 at 13:39
  • 2
    I don't think that you're violating anything.. (correct me if I'm wrong) It's against their policy to rename the files or use other archiving tools than Zip? They just want to protect the users by accidentally opening the file right away.. but if it is renamed is stopping being executable and it's up to the user what to do with the file! They are not going to terminate your account because of that..(I think)
    – Lipis
    May 8, 2011 at 17:04
  • ya, we change zips to .piz files at work, and it seems fine May 8, 2011 at 18:59
  • 2
    @Mehper C. Palavuzlar: the .rar and .zip are no longer allowed with or without password and/or filename encryption. I had this problem and as someone suggested, .7z is they way to go. About the terminating your account because of policy violation: you should remember that the internet should be free, just create another email account and you're done. May 28, 2015 at 9:56

Another method glossed over in @Mehper's article - zip it with a password. The .zip format supports encrypting the filenames in addition to the files, so gmail will not be able to tell the file contains an executable.

Just make sure you tell the recipient the password!

  • Pass-Protection won't work either since GMail can examine exe filenames even in password protected zipped files as the archived filename listings are not encrypted by the Zip program. May 8, 2011 at 19:30
  • 4
    @Mehper: That is not true; I use this method to transfer .exe files through gmail. You just need to have a zip-program that supports encrypting the filenames as well (I know Winrar and Winzip do) May 8, 2011 at 19:48
  • 2
    ZIP files does not support filename protection by definition, no matter what software you use. You probably compressed your files to RAR that supports this feature.
    – Isaac
    Jun 1, 2011 at 16:03
  • 2
    @Isaac: Nope, it's definitely zip. Jun 1, 2011 at 16:46
  • @BlueRaja-DannyPflughoeft Open one of your password protected files in WinRAR - You'll be able to see the filenames before entering a password. It's part of the Zip file spec. It's possible that Google just sees the password and gives up, but the filenames are definitely not encrypted
    – Basic
    Jul 4, 2016 at 16:15

apart from the two answers already given...

i highly recommend simply looking for a better email provider, which respect our freedom, and do your own backups anyway! (you can read more about it on my profile)

but in case you still insist with gmail, your only option is to use encryption, such as compressing the file with a password as suggested in the main answer, or a file sharing which allows for such things (google drive doesn't).

neither can really get you in legal trouble. both can lead to account suspension. big corps don't care to terminate anyone's account.

ps: i heavily edited this answer to update my opinion.

pps: i've tested all this using a procedural generated art exe, which is considered a malware by google https://www.pouet.net/prod.php?which=59106

  • 5
    +1 for Hopefully this will get integrated with gmail someday.
    – Benjamin
    May 12, 2011 at 3:54
  • 1
    -1 This is not what the author asked. He wants a regular e-mail with a normal attachment that is part of the message, rather than a dependency on a third-party resource or another service from the same party that requires a browser, in addition to an e-mail client. Feb 11, 2022 at 23:38
  • @ant_222 you're both so right and so wrong at the same time... yes, everything you said is true. but nowadays i only care for anything google do as much as i care for keeping away from them! and if i want a "regular email with a normal attachment", i would never look for any big corps. what's more, we're collectively creating better alternative to emails already. ever heard of the fediverse? it's only missing, basically, broader adoption! but, also technically, it's not as easy to find a good #offlinefirst client for it. yet. thanks for your feedback, and cheers!
    – cregox
    Feb 14, 2022 at 6:34
  • Does fediverse support a one-to-one plain-text asynchronous communication? If not, then it cannot replace e-mail yet. Feb 14, 2022 at 10:05
  • yes, it does. it may never replace email. it never intended to.
    – cregox
    Feb 15, 2022 at 18:51

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