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Windows 7: Another cure for "Open File - Security Warning" Prompt Blues : ICACLS

12 Feb 2013   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
Another cure for "Open File - Security Warning" Prompt Blues : ICACLS

I've been plagued with shortcuts that seem hellbent on making me want to turn off security settings in Windows 7 that are better left on.

Does this sound woefully familiar?

Well - here is THE CORRECT WAY (especially if the elusive "Unlock" option never presents itself - I certainly have never seen it on any property pages!)

Open an elevated command prompt window.

cd to your shortcut folder.

run the command:

C:\Users\YourName\Desktop\AFolder> icacls MyLink.lnk /L /SetIntegrityLevel med

You can use wildcards, but take care WHERE you do this. Also REMEMBER THE /L OPTION, because that ensures you are processing the shortcut, not the "addressed" program or file pointed to by the shortcut.

Note that the trick is in the (slightly counter-intutive) MEDIUM setting (med) rather than setting it LOW (which is what it often defaults to, thus causing the problem).

Personally, I like to create folders full of "themed" shortcuts on my desktop. Unfortunately, the default behaviour is that any shortcut moved to or created in such subfolders of the desktop(on my system at least) default to low integrity. You have to RAISE the integrity of the shortcuts to stop the endless tedious prompting.

If you cd to a folder full of shortcuts and further subfolders to that folder are also full of shortcuts, then using an asterisk (whilst potentially dangerous anywhere else) will update the ACLS for ALL the shortcuts - and apparently those in subfolders too (because such things are inherited via the folders by default). If that doesn't work for you, then cd down to the subfolder concerned and use the asterisk again.

Happy shortcutting!

My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Apr 2013   #2

Windows 7 Professional x64


C:\>cd users
C:\Users>cd nigel
C:\Users\Nigel>cd desktop
C:\Users\Nigel\Desktop>icacls *.lnk /L /SetIntegrityLevel med
processed file: Microsoft Word 2010.lnk
processed file: Windows Live Mail.lnk
Successfully processed 2 files; Failed processing 0 files
It works!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Jul 2013   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
Finally! Thank you.

After installing Windows Server 2012 Essentials at home and joining a Windows 7 laptop to the domain with Folder Redirection and Offline Files enabled, I have spent days trying to find out why desktop shortcuts pointing to files on the server gave me the Open File warning. I could launch files from the Start Menu (which has been redirected to the server that contains the executables) but I could not launch them from the desktop (i.e., C:\Users\Public\Desktop\*.lnk pointing to a UNC). I've changed security settings on the local machine. I have changed group policies for local machine zone, intranet zone, and trusted site zone to no avail. I enabled launching unsafe executables. Nada. Ahhh, but one magic command line later...

So much frustration; such a simple fix. I suppose I need to go back and remove the Zone customizations to make sure it wasn't a combo solution rather than one magic bullet, but at least I now have an existence proof that it's possible.

I felt obliged to register at the site in order to say Thank You. So, "Thank you for posting this solution!"
My System SpecsSystem Spec

06 Jul 2013   #4
Layback Bear

Windows 10 Pro. 64/ version 1709 Windows 7 Pro/64

Thank you Papoon for joining our great Forum.
Happy you got the answer you were looking for.
Hang around and do some looking because their are bunches of great information can be gathered here.
I must warn you this Forum can be addictive.
Happy computing
Layback Bear
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Jul 2013   #5

Windows 7 Professional x64

The problem I have found with this solution is that I often use the Desktop as a workspace, clearing it away later. So any new files don't get updated in this way. What I'd really like is to turn on this "feature".
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Jul 2013   #6

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

Untested observations follow: My subsequent reading on file integrity in Windows implicates Internet Explorer running in Protected Mode. I haven't experienced the problems you describe but I tend to use Chrome instead of IE so I don't think files saved to my Desktop would get marked with low integrity. If you're not using protected mode IE to create those desktop files I have even less to suggest. Maybe you could use icacls to explicitly set file integrity on the Desktop folder(s) to medium and make that inheritable. It seems possible, but I've not thought through the security consequences of doing so.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 May 2016   #7

Win 7 Pro x64

Like Papoon, I registered just to say THANK YOU.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Jun 2016   #8

64-bit Windows 7 and 10 Ent, 8.1 Pro WMC
Another way to deal with Integrity Levels (chml)

Old thread but another thanks to BigAlUK for his post! The option to set Integrity Levels (IL) to medium
icacls FileOrFolder /L /SetIntegrityLevel med
is so much better than the many other various recommendations to disable the security prompts. Changing IL levels actually fixes the issue instead of just masking it. (well, for the most part that is ... don't know what exactly causes this bit to get set in the first place other than as Papoon stated, think it is related to Internet Explorer running in protected mode)

With that said... there is another way to get the exact same result that I haven't read about in any forum or posts relating to these security prompts. It works when dealing with folders or files that are not themselves within another folder that has an IL set to low (an explicit IL set). The icalcs option above sets an IL to low, but how about we just remove the IL all together and return the folder back to its original state! This might be considered a "cleaner" way of doing it, though I haven't found how without a 3rd party program. Good news is that there is a free, simple, small, and from a trustworthy source way to remove an IL.

Grab chml.exe from and from command prompt run:
chml PathToFolderOrFile -rl
<Side Note>It's written by the "famous" Mark Minasi (at least from my day, learned a lot from him) of the "Mastering Windows xxx" series of books.</Side Note> You do need to be an an administrator to run this command if I understand correctly. (the "rl" stands for "remove label" and chml stands for "change mandatory label" using Vista-era naming)

I've ran across several machines in the past at my school district that started displaying the warning boxes when dealing with files on the Desktop folder (including shortcuts). Sure enough,
icacls Desktop
showed the folder had a Mandatory Integrity Label of Low set. A quick
chml desktop -rl
took care of the problem, no more security prompts! It had been awhile since I had figured out this solution when I ran into it again today. I had actually forgotten how I had fixed it and had to so some digging again. So, this post is partially for my own benefit but also hoping it might be useful for someone else as well.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Jun 2016   #9

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

Thanks people for all the positive feedback - kinda makes my day, no matter how old the original post :) And thanks for the further enlightenments on the subject, too!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Jan 2019   #10

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
All work fine on the Start Menu, but not on the Taskbar

Reading this forum gives me hope that I can solve this ongoing problem, but I'm not there yet.
If I choose the programs from the Start Menu, i'm fine.
But for some of the six or seven pinned programs on the Taskbar at the bottom, I get that rotten Security Alert. But i cannot figure out where on my computer those options are stored to do the
"icacls *.lnk /L /SetIntegrityLevel med"
thing. I've tried it on a number of folders where i find shortcuts to the explorer.exe and firefox.exe,
but no improvement. And I can't find anything in searching called explorer.lnk, if that's a thing.
Extra odd: It only does it for a few of the icons there. I can open Outlook, Word and Excel on the pinned icons, no problem. But Exploring, Snipping Tool, and Firefox all give me that warning.

Advice would be so appreciated.
Win 7 64 bit here.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Another cure for "Open File - Security Warning" Prompt Blues : ICACLS

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