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.

  • 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. Jul 15, 2011 at 21:09
  • @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. Jul 18, 2011 at 13:21
  • Hmm.. I wonder if this is a browser problem. Jul 18, 2011 at 13:22
  • 1
    @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, 2011 at 16:05
  • @oleschri hmm you're right, it's actually linking to http://\\shaman\test Jul 18, 2011 at 16:09

6 Answers 6


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).
  • 2
    This hurts my digital heart
    – Holene
    Oct 12, 2016 at 12:50

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.


I needed to do this myself to add some printers. Just EDIT the link and replace HTTP with UNC. It'll look like this: UNC://\server\share\file

My user was given a Windows security prompt in Windows 8, then clicked Open, and it worked great.

  • 1
    Just tried this via chrome, and the link did not show on the receiving end. Jan 25, 2017 at 4:41
  • Nor for me. I think gmail no longer supports this, if indeed it ever did.
    – BobHy
    Apr 4, 2017 at 20:30

(Just came up with another idea that seems to work …)

Create a minimal html file (e.g. Links.htm) containing the links to the UNC paths like

<a href="\\server\share\file1">\\server\share\file1</a><br/>
<a href="file://\\server\share\file2">\\server\share\file2</a><br/>

and attach it to your mail. Instruct the recipient to download and open the html file. Seems to work in Chrome and Internet Explorer.


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.


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.

  • The question already established that gmail won't let you attach .lnk files. Jul 29, 2012 at 0:36

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

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