[Fix] Favorites File Download Security Warning

Double-clicking a .URL file in your user profile’s Favorites or Favorites\Links folder may show a “Do you want to open this file?” file download security warning, as shown below, after installing the latest quality updates.

favorites security warning windows 10

URL “File Download” Security Warning

To remove the Favorites File download security warning, do the following:

  1. Set the integrity level (IL) for Favorites and its sub-folders to Medium (from the default “Low” IL).
  2. Set the integrity level for independent *.URL files in the Links folder.

Set Favorites Integrity Level to Medium

Open an elevated Command Prompt window and type:

ICACLS "%userprofile%\favorites" /SETINTEGRITYLEVEL M

ICACLS "%userprofile%\favorites\links" /SETINTEGRITYLEVEL M

CD /d %userprofile%\Favorites


That’s it. The above commands will set the Medium integrity level for the Favorites and the Links folders and the files in those folders.

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Ramesh Srinivasan is passionate about Microsoft technologies and he has been a consecutive ten-time recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award in the Windows Shell/Desktop Experience category, from 2003 to 2012. He loves to troubleshoot and write about Windows. Ramesh founded Winhelponline.com in 2005.

31 thoughts on “[Fix] Favorites File Download Security Warning”

  1. This “fix” worked well for me, and it is appreciated. I already had the “Never Notify” in the UAC employed, but I still received those annoying little dialog boxes.
    I feel 96% certain this phenomenon was triggered by the installation of Win7 SP1, however this problem did not occur on a second machine with Win7 pro installed. Go figger!!

  2. Oh gosh, thanks. Solved it! I also did a tweak to add the xp style programs list back to the start menu. Don’t know if that’s what did it though.

  3. In case you are in a domain…here is what I observed and did.
    When i launched IE, the shortcut refers to “%HOMEDRIVE%%HOMEPATH%” Therefore, I went into my domain group policy that applied to the machine and specified in USER Configuration > Policies > Admin Templates > Windows Components > Internet Explorer > Internet Control Panel > Security Page > Site to Zone Assignment List….and then specified the address of the server where my users profiles are stored “\\servername.company.com” and assigned a number 1 for intranet site.

  4. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!

    Thank you!!!

    Worked perfectly!

    Any way to bump this link up to top of Google searches?

  5. We had the same issue with one Windows 7 workstation that was joined to our domain. Nothing I tried would get rid of the Open File Security Warning. I went back to an earlier restore point and it seemed to have fixed the issue.

  6. Unbelieveable that windows has no friggin clue what we are even talking about yet it is a common problem and a 2 step fix.. Amazing I didn’t expect it to work but it did and i thank you.. Course it took me about 3 hours of searching google to find this but in the end i did

  7. Hallo,
    you DO NOT “reset” the Mandatory Security Integrity Level you “set” (!) the new level.
    It is NOT (!) the same.


  8. Thanks for the help!!! I had the anoying pop-up message “Open file – security warning” when i trying to open a file from my desktop folder. I changed the startup folder to desktop and the problem disappeared!

  9. Ramesh, thank yo so much for this tip!!! After trying 5 other solutions regarding this issue when starting shortcuts from the desktop, this one finally worked for me.
    Maybe the other ones didn’t work because I have moved the location for my desktop from the default location to D:\Data\Desktop

    Replacing the [C:\programdata..] location in you command to mine fixed my issue.

    As this issue started (seemingly) out of the blue, I’m still curious which (ms update?) caused the issue in the first place, but the solution is here.

  10. Hello.

    It works for me but after some days I have the same problem again.

    I think that the first time it happened to me was because I tried to change the appearance of the Start Menu by tweaking the favorite folder. But know everything is as supposed and I still have the problem.

  11. Excellent! This solved my problem with links on the start bar once I set integrity on the right folder, as follows:

    ICACLS “C:\Users\Eric\Favorites\Links” /Setintegritylevel (OI)(CI)M

    (If you do this remember to set the right path!)


  12. I am unable to get this resolved with programs pinned to the taskbar on a terminal server on 2008R2 where user profiles are redirected to the file server. I’ve tried running the command against the UNC path on the TS and against the local path on the file server to no avail.

    Path to Explorer.lnk is: \\[server]\Redirected\[username]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch\User Pinned\TaskBar

    Any suggestions?


  13. I had a very similar problem. On my brand new windows 8 laptop.
    All of the sudden one day my desktop icons (.lnk)’s gave the same “open file security warning”.
    Don’t know why or what happened but what a pain in the a**.
    I FINALLY found a solution, at least for the desktop icons doing it.
    I didn’t want to fix it with changes to IE10 settings, like some suggest, cuz that just seemed risky.
    This worked for me….
    Press: “Win button +X” to open the tools menu.
    Select: Command Prompt (admin) opens the black dos window with C:\Windows\system32>
    Press: CD.. and then Enter, display now says C:\Windows>
    Press: CD.. and then Enter, display now says C:>
    Press: CD Users and then Enter, display now says C:\Users>
    Press: CD YourName and then Enter, display now says C:\Users\YourName>
    Press: CD Favorites and then Enter, display now says C:\Users\YourName\Favorites>
    Press: CD Desktop and then Enter, display now says C:\Users\YourName\Favorites\Desktop>
    Type in: text as below:
    C:\Users\YourName\Favorites\Desktop>ICACLS *.LNK /L /SETINTEGRITYLEVEL MED
    Then hit Enter.
    All the links on your desktop should come up as:
    processed file: whatever.lnk successfully processed 10 files; Failed processed 0 files.

    Just sayin..it worked for me.

  14. I have tried some of these and they don’t help me!
    I need help big time and hope someone can help me I’m about to pull my hair out as I have been trying to figure this out for a week and can’t figure it out. Every time I try and open a website in my favorites I get a Open File – Security Warning.

    How can I fix this? Please help me!!


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