How to bulk unblock files in Windows 7 or Server 2008

In Windows 7 (actually any of the latest Windows releases) you will find that files copied to your local drives are not trusted until you right-click on them and in the properties click the ‘Unblock’ button. This is all very well for one or two files, but gets extremely tedious with more. It turns out to be related to NTFS’s ability to allow alternate data streams.

So here is a simple method of mass or bulk unblocking files.

  1. Download the Sysinternals Streams.exe from http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb897440.aspx
  2. I find Sysinternals so useful I create a ‘SysInternals’ folder on my C: drive and then put this into my ‘path’ environment variable so that I can run them from anywhere. However, if this is too much then the easiest is to copy the streams.exe to the root folder you wish to have files unblocked.
  3. In a command windows (with Admin privileges), use ‘cd’ to navigate to your folder.
  4. Type the command ‘streams –s –d subfoldername’ and press enter.

29 thoughts on “How to bulk unblock files in Windows 7 or Server 2008

  1. I have a message saying security settying put your computer at risk. click here to change security settings I tried but I cannot . The computer is saying my administration side is corupted. How can I fix the problem. Please can you kindly help? Thank you very much.

  2. I have a message saying security settying put your computer at risk. click here to change security settings I tried but I cannot . The computer is saying my administration side is corupted. How can I fix the problem. Please can you kindly help? Thank you very much.

  3. Sir, Yours is a very intersting concept. However, when use as you direct, nothing happens. See below

    c:inetpubwwwrootctestbin>streams -s -d *.*

    Streams v1.56 – Enumerate alternate NTFS data streams
    Copyright (C) 1999-2007 Mark Russinovich
    Sysinternals – http://www.sysinternals.com

    usage: streams [-s] [-d]
    -s Recurse subdirectories
    -d Delete streams

    c:inetpubwwwrootctestbin>cd ..

    c:inetpubwwwrootctest>cd ..

    c:inetpubwwwroot>streams -s -d ctest

    Streams v1.56 – Enumerate alternate NTFS data streams
    Copyright (C) 1999-2007 Mark Russinovich
    Sysinternals – http://www.sysinternals.com

    usage: streams [-s] [-d]
    -s Recurse subdirectories
    -d Delete streams

    c:inetpubwwwroot>streams -s -d .ctest

    Streams v1.56 – Enumerate alternate NTFS data streams
    Copyright (C) 1999-2007 Mark Russinovich
    Sysinternals – http://www.sysinternals.com

    usage: streams [-s] [-d]
    -s Recurse subdirectories
    -d Delete streams

    c:inetpubwwwroot>streams -s -d .ctest

    Streams v1.56 – Enumerate alternate NTFS data streams
    Copyright (C) 1999-2007 Mark Russinovich
    Sysinternals – http://www.sysinternals.com

    usage: streams [-s] [-d]
    -s Recurse subdirectories
    -d Delete streams

    c:inetpubwwwroot>

  4. Sir, Yours is a very intersting concept. However, when use as you direct, nothing happens. See below

    c:inetpubwwwrootctestbin>streams -s -d *.*

    Streams v1.56 – Enumerate alternate NTFS data streams
    Copyright (C) 1999-2007 Mark Russinovich
    Sysinternals – http://www.sysinternals.com

    usage: streams [-s] [-d]
    -s Recurse subdirectories
    -d Delete streams

    c:inetpubwwwrootctestbin>cd ..

    c:inetpubwwwrootctest>cd ..

    c:inetpubwwwroot>streams -s -d ctest

    Streams v1.56 – Enumerate alternate NTFS data streams
    Copyright (C) 1999-2007 Mark Russinovich
    Sysinternals – http://www.sysinternals.com

    usage: streams [-s] [-d]
    -s Recurse subdirectories
    -d Delete streams

    c:inetpubwwwroot>streams -s -d .ctest

    Streams v1.56 – Enumerate alternate NTFS data streams
    Copyright (C) 1999-2007 Mark Russinovich
    Sysinternals – http://www.sysinternals.com

    usage: streams [-s] [-d]
    -s Recurse subdirectories
    -d Delete streams

    c:inetpubwwwroot>streams -s -d .ctest

    Streams v1.56 – Enumerate alternate NTFS data streams
    Copyright (C) 1999-2007 Mark Russinovich
    Sysinternals – http://www.sysinternals.com

    usage: streams [-s] [-d]
    -s Recurse subdirectories
    -d Delete streams

    c:inetpubwwwroot>

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  7. Alas- run as administrator: it seemed to work the first time through; however, files are still blocked. Tried again, and got “no files with streams found”. Do you think it cares if I have mixed files- some that require unblocking and some that don’t?

  8. Alas- run as administrator: it seemed to work the first time through; however, files are still blocked. Tried again, and got “no files with streams found”. Do you think it cares if I have mixed files- some that require unblocking and some that don’t?

  9. If the files have Read Only property does not work out of box, but just select all of them, right click->Properties, click on Read Only check box (it must be empty), click Apply button, you will can do the process. After that you can put the Read only property back.

  10. If the files have Read Only property does not work out of box, but just select all of them, right click->Properties, click on Read Only check box (it must be empty), click Apply button, you will can do the process. After that you can put the Read only property back.

    1. I would suggest you open a command window with Admin permissions and then execute the commands. Don’t just do a run as you will not be able to read the output and it does not run with the Admin privileges.
      If you are using Windows 8.1, right-click on the start button and you should see it there.

    1. I would suggest you open a command window with Admin permissions and then execute the commands. Don’t just do a run as you will not be able to read the output and it does not run with the Admin privileges.
      If you are using Windows 8.1, right-click on the start button and you should see it there.

  11. What worked for me (WIN7) was to:
    1: put Streams.exe in the desired folder
    2: open a command prompt in Admin mode,
    3: launch with the following command. ‘streams –s –d *.*’
    The supplied syntax at the Orig. Post had no result for me. “No files found.”
    Try the *.* and see if it works for you. Saved me literally hours and hours of manual labor.

    Thanks!!!

  12. What worked for me (WIN7) was to:
    1: put Streams.exe in the desired folder
    2: open a command prompt in Admin mode,
    3: launch with the following command. ‘streams –s –d *.*’
    The supplied syntax at the Orig. Post had no result for me. “No files found.”
    Try the *.* and see if it works for you. Saved me literally hours and hours of manual labor.

    Thanks!!!

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