Unblocking Attachments in Outlook

Microsoft Outlook is the mail client we all love to hate.  My personal favorite feature is the way it handles attachments.  If you’ve used Outlook very much, I’m sure you’ve seen this message:


Here Microsoft is protecting you from itself by blocking an Access database attachment.  The attachment is still there, you just can’t get to it.  Very frustrating.

The recommended solution is to use a program like WinZip to compress the file before you e-mail it.  You can also just change the extension since Outlook doesn’t actually check to see what kind of file it attached.  Both of these can be a hassle for the sender, so I started looking or a better solution.

Google To The Rescue

Spend a little time researching this problem and you’ll see that there is a lot of information online about how to get around this message.  I was able to solve the problem, but it involved using information from several different sites.  This is my attempt at putting all of the information together into a series of easy steps.

Check The Mode

First, you need to find out what Security Mode access is using.  To do that, click Help, About Microsoft Office Outlook on the menu.   You should see a screen like this:


This means I’m currently using the “Default” Security Mode.  The other options are “User Controlled” and “Administrator Controlled”.  If yours says “Default” or “User Controlled” you can follow my steps and unblock attachments.

If you’re in “Administrator Controlled” security mode, then you’ll need to talk to your e-mail administrator.  If anyone really wants to know, I can also tell you how to get around “Administrator Controlled” mode, but that’s a post for another day.

Now click OK to close the “About” window and exit from Outlook.

Edit The Registry

The next few steps involve editing the registry.  Be very careful when you do these steps.  It’s pretty easy to break Windows by changing the wrong settings in the registry.  If you break it, you get to keep both pieces.  I won’t be able to help you unless you’re willing to bring your computer to my house.

Click Start, then Run.  Type regedit and click OK

Drill down in the registry to this key:


Once you get there, right-click on Security and click New, String Value.

Type in Level1Remove for the name, then double-click Level1Remove to edit the value.  This value is a list of extensions you want to unblock separated by semicolons.  For this example, you can type .mdb  It should look something like this:


Click OK to save the value, then close the Registry Editor and reopen Outlook.


If you added the registry key in the right place, Outlook should now be in the “User Controlled” security mode.  Also, you should see something like this when you open an e-mail with an Access database attached:


Now you can add any other file extensions that you don’t want to block to the same key in the registry.  Just be sure to separate each one with a semicolon and include the dot before the extension.

Leave a comment below if you have any trouble and I’ll try to help you out.

How I Write

That post from last week is one of the most boring things I’ve ever written.  I used every trick I knew to make it interesting, but I couldn’t make it work.  After messing with it for about half an hour, I gave up and clicked Publish.

There was a time when I would have deleted it without a second thought, but this was a story I wanted to share and I thought it might be an interesting experiment.  One positive side effect of this was I started seriously looking at how I write.


I try to write how I speak.  Denise gave me a great compliment the other day when she left the comment “It’s so good to hear your voice again.”  That’s exactly what I’m trying to do.

As I write, I try to hear the words in my head.  If a sentence or phrase doesn’t sound natural, I go back and rewrite it immediately.  In some cases I rewrite parts of a sentence several times until I end up with something completely different.

I also sometimes write posts entirely in my head.  If there’s a topic that I just have to write about, I will have most of it written before I ever touch the keyboard.  An example of this would be my Continuous Improvement post from while back.


I am a fast typist.  At one time I could probably think as fast as I type, but I don’t think that’s true anymore.  I’m sure it’s just old age catching up with me.

I guess that’s why I tend to type a lot more words than are actually needed to express what I’m trying to say.  My first drafts are filled with adjectives and adverbs that never make it to the finished product.

This might also go back to the days in high school when papers were graded on content as well as length.  It’s almost like we were being taught that it takes a lot of words to make a point.


I make quite a few changes while I write, but once I have a complete first draft I really start editing.  I spend at least as much time deleting, cutting, and pasting as I did writing.  Most of those extra words I mentioned earlier disappear at this point.

I also look for words that don’t add anything to a sentence like “really” and “just”.  For example, a sentence like “I really want to just write.” becomes “I want to write.”

While I’m editing I also like to preview how the post will look on the page.  That way I can quickly spot paragraphs that seem too long.  At this point sentences and paragraphs get moved around.  Sometimes entire paragraphs disappear.


Once a post sounds like me, doesn’t contain too many extra words, and flows well on the page I click publish and see what everyone else thinks about it.

So, What Do You Do?

One of my favorite scenes from Office Space is when Peter is explaining to the consultants what he does in a typical day.  My day isn’t quite as funny, but I thought some people might find it interesting.  So, here is a day in the life of a security analyst.

I arrived at work around 7:00 AM this morning and looked over the e-mail in our project mailbox to see if there was anything urgent.  There was not much going on, so I finished my coffee while looking over headlines in Google Reader.  Moments of peace are pretty rare.

A little before 8:00 AM, one of the developers stopped by to talk about a scheduled task that was set to run on one of the servers.  This task failed after the last upgrade and he was confirming that it was fixed.  We also spent some time looking at the differences between the test server and production server.

Around 9:30 AM, I had a meeting with two auditors.  They are working on an audit of user accounts on a few servers.  We went over a few spreadsheets that I had provided them earlier and discussed all of the accounts.   Thankfully, this only took about 45 minutes.

Next, I helped troubleshoot a problem on one of the servers that was running slow.  One of the volumes was filling up so three hard drives were added to the RAID array last weekend.  Unfortunately, someone added Ultra3 SCSI drives instead of Ultra-320 SCSI drives.  Ultra3 drives run half as fast as Ultra-320.

I also completed an access request and replied to a question about remote access before lunch.  I usually go for a walk during my lunch hour, at least around the building.   Today I just walked down to the cafeteria and grabbed a Snapple to go with my microwave meal before getting back to work.

Last week we received the results from a penetration test that was performed on our network.  I’ve been working in my spare time to come up with a solution to an SQL Injection vulnerability that was discovered in one of our old web applications.

This isn’t really part of my job, but I volunteered to take a look at it since the application isn’t being actively maintained right now.  I finished up my solution, tested it, and e-mailed a developer to see about getting it implemented around 12:30 PM.

From 1:30 PM until 2:30 PM I attended a staff meeting downstairs.  There are 10 people in my group and we get together once a week to talk about what we’re working on.  The meetings are always informal.  Today’s meeting was a little dry since we talked about the budget, but it wasn’t bad.

As the day winds down, I look over my Inbox to make sure I’m not falling behind on any projects.  There are only 4 messages in my box right now, so this doesn’t take long.  Two of these are about training that I need to look at and the other two are concerning ongoing projects.

This was actually a really slow day for e-mail.  I only received 10 and sent 5.  Yesterday I sent 50 messages.  We all take turns covering our project mailbox one day a week.  Yesterday was my day.

Now it’s 4:00 PM, which means quitting time for me…