I read through this: How can I send a Windows executable via Gmail? (and similar questions here and on SO), but all of the answers I came across rely on the email recipient doing something special such as

  • changing filename extensions, or
  • accessing cloud storage services.

First, linking to another cloud service is not sending via Gmail. There are reasons you may not want to use an outside service.

Second...What about sending e-mails to people who are not tech-savvy?

There are many kinds of files that Google does not want attached directly (described here https://support.google.com/mail/answer/6590?hl=en), but you should still be able to send them in some way that

  • leaves them accessible to casual computer users (who may have file extensions hidden, for example), and
  • does not require the use of other cloud services.
  • Why wouldn't you add it as an answer to the question you linked?
    – ale
    Jul 16, 2013 at 21:17
  • That's not a terrible idea, and maybe people should do that, but answers here are likely to involve some extra inconvenience to the sender as a trade-off for convenience for the receiver, so the focus of the questions is different. Answers people post here will also apply to that question, but may not be any better than the answers already there.
    – A.M.
    Jul 16, 2013 at 21:29

7 Answers 7


Create a self-extracting archive with 7-Zip, make sure it is password protected and the file names are encrypted:

enter image description here

Google will not detect the exe inside and let it through. The recipient has just to know the password (don’t send that with Gmail :)).

  • What is the extension on that? Will the file look clickable to the user? Can the user open it without having 7-Zip installed? (I'm pretty sure that last one must be true, but I just want to check.)
    – A.M.
    Jul 16, 2013 at 21:07
  • The user doesn’t have to install 7-Zip for that; the extraction routine is part of the archive. The filename extension must be changed to something the recipient’s computer can handle, unfortunately.
    – fuxia
    Jul 16, 2013 at 21:11
  • 6
    When I do this, it creates a file with an extension of .exe, which brings us back to square one, unfortunately. I had never read "SFX" as "self-extracting", though, so I am going to give your answer +1 for that random helpful fact alone (in a while, so that people don't think this completely solves the problem)!
    – A.M.
    Jul 16, 2013 at 21:17
  • 2
    This method works no longer as any archive with encrypted file names gets blocked by Gmail. But there is a workaround with google drive attachment: webapps.stackexchange.com/questions/67396/…
    – Vadzim
    Jan 3, 2018 at 21:27
  • 1
    @Vadzim confirmed, also it's "Password-protected archives with archived content" in general - official google help page - support.google.com/mail/answer/6590 and I tested it and really doesn't allow simple password protected and doesn't allow encrypted.
    – jave.web
    Jan 31, 2022 at 20:18

Gmail actually allows sending .exe files. And you don't need to do anything outside of Gmail.

Instead of clicking on the clipper icon(attachment) you click on triangle icon next to it (Google Drive icon). That's it - from there its more or less the same procedure.

Gmail does not allow .exe attachments but at the same time offers an option to add/attach Google Drive file(s) to your email.

Additional info:
After clicking on Google Drive icon you just select an already uploaded file or pick from your local files to upload. If the recipient is not Google/Gmail user it will send a private "share link". If the recipient is Google/Gmail user it will further secure the file by assigning stricter access rights.

  • This answer assumes that the sender uses Gmail, but the problem (Gmail blocks exes) also arises when the recipient uses Gmail but the sender does not. What then? Jan 27, 2021 at 10:56
  • It does not, Google Drive is not Gmail, the answer should say "Google actually allows, just Gmail doesn't"
    – jave.web
    Jan 31, 2022 at 20:19

Here is what worked for me:

  1. "Add" your .exe file to a (new) encrypted .zip file (the "inner file".)

  2. Change the file extension from .zip to .zipx. (Of course, other extensions probably work. You could even make the extension .thepasswordisHuckleberry!)

  3. "Add" the .zipx file to a (new) unencrypted .zip file (the "outer file".)

  4. E-mail the outer (.zip) file along with the password for the inner file.

That's it.

When you open the outer (.zip) file in Windows File Explorer, which is what a non-technical user is likely to use, it automatically detects the inner (.zipx) file as a valid .zip file. That means it can be opened just by double-clicking on it and entering the password when prompted.

You can change the extension if you want, but it is not required!

Here is what it looks like for the receiver after opening the .zip file and then double-clicking on the .zipx file

enter image description here

  • 1
    This no longer works. Gmail disallows any encrypted zips.
    – Timmmm
    Jun 15, 2015 at 19:45

All the answers above (July 25 '13 through July 16 '13) appear not to work. It looks as if Google has refined its filters, so that it detects .exe (and other) executable files within zip or other compressed files, even if they are renamed to some other file extension. Encrypting the file makes it immediately rejected, so that doesn't work. I even tried 7-Zip (.7z file extension) because that extension was not listed at the link mentioned in the top post on Google's Support page (https://support.google.com/mail/answer/6590?hl=en ). But it, too, was detected! (Also, double zipping the file, as suggested in the October 30 '13 post, does not work, either!)*

The following procedure worked for me: Take the exe file and zip it; rename the zip file from .zip to .txt; attach the "text" (.txt) file to an email and send it. (Of course, in the email, describe what you've done so the steps can be reversed by the recipient!) I tested this by sending an email to myself from my Yahoo! Mail account to my Gmail address, and it worked!

  • As of 2015, this appears to be the only thing that works. Encrypted zips or zips within zips do not work. I'm not sure what the point of creating a self extracting archive is since that itself is an exe and is blocked.
    – Timmmm
    Jun 15, 2015 at 19:49
  • 3
    This no longer works. Zipping an exe and renaming the zip to [anything] does not work as Gmail inspects the binary information of the file, its algo does not care for file names or extensions.
    – leoinlios
    Dec 25, 2018 at 15:25
  • @leoinlios confirmed, tried 2022 and they really check for a mime type.
    – jave.web
    Jan 31, 2022 at 20:20

TL;DR: Use Google Drive or other online filesharing

year 2022

Only sensible & working way is to upload a file elswhere and send a link.

No, double zipping doesn't work, no, password protecting zip doesn't work, no, password encrypting file list doesn't work, no, renaming zip file to .txt or something doesn't work.

If you have a Google account

If you are working within Google environment - just use Google Drive - you can even upload .exe directly (yea, you read right) onto Google Drive and then just share it with the gmail/google accounts.

If you don't have a Google account

If you as a sender don't have a usable Google/Google Drive account, you can use many of the free file hosting services - however at least protect the uploaded file with a sufficient password and read terms&conditions of that service and find out possible security issues first.

Search the internet for: "share file online" to find such services.

Quoting Google to support these claims

Source: https://support.google.com/mail/answer/6590 , I've highlighted the important.

To protect your account from potential viruses and harmful software, Gmail doesn't allow you to attach:

  • Certain types of files, including their compressed form (like .gz or .bz2 files) or when found within archives (like .zip or .tgz files)
  • Documents with malicious macros
  • Password-protected archives with archived content Tip: If you try to attach a document that is too large, your message won't send. Learn more about attachments and file size limits.

File types you can't include as attachments

To protect your account, Gmail doesn't allow you to attach certain types of files. Gmail often updates the types of files not allowed to keep up with harmful software that is constantly changing.

File types blocked by Gmail are:

.ade, .adp, .apk, .appx, .appxbundle, .bat, .cab, .chm, .cmd, .com, .cpl, .dll, .dmg, .ex, .ex_, .exe, .hta, .ins, .isp, .iso, .jar, .js, .jse, .lib, .lnk, .mde, .msc, .msi, .msix, .msixbundle, .msp, .mst, .nsh, .pif, .ps1, .scr, .sct, .shb, .sys, .vb, .vbe, .vbs, .vxd, .wsc, .wsf, .wsh

All that being said I'm not claiming it's entirely impossible, but you'd have to go to extends that could even be considered illegal in some countries or would make it a pain for the receiver, so please, just don't :-)


I've just now (November 2015) sent a zipped folder (over 8MB when zipped) via Gmail by changing its file extension to .txt. Looks like it worked because I've just opened the email from my Sent folder, dowloaded the attachment, selected "Show in folder", changed the extension back to .zip and launched WinZip, which didn't seem to object. Too easy to be true?

  • 2
    This solution was already presented in this answer. Nov 3, 2015 at 18:15
  • I realize that. I just thought it would be worth confirming that the method still works after a year has elapsed. After all, Gmail might have spotted the ruse and done something about it in that time. Nice to know they haven't. Nov 3, 2015 at 20:06
  • A comment would have sufficed, then. Answer posts are reserved for different answers/solutions to questions. (This Help Center article details what doesn't quite fit as an entire answer post.) All that being said, confirmation that an answer remains valid/current is still great information for readers to have, so that kind of comment in particular is pretty valuable all around. :) Nov 3, 2015 at 20:35
  • 2
    Got it, SightSpirit. Will adhere to protocol from now on, now I know what to do. Cheers. Nov 3, 2015 at 23:52
  • As noted in @aboutblank's answer, this no longer works (since at least the end of 2018). AFAICS, Gmail is forcing you to use 3rd party hosting services like DropBox. Attaching directly to an email, and assuming its benign, is a little old-fashioned anyway...the email gets deleted, copied, archived, lost, etc.
    – AlainD
    Apr 14, 2020 at 16:46

The trick is to just zip the already zipped file and Gmail won’t detect the .exe file. But to zip the already zipped file, just add an extra file, like a text file with it, then zip it.

  • 1
    Does not work as of now.
    – Timmmm
    Jun 15, 2015 at 19:45

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