Gmail EXE Block Workaround

closeThis post was published 12 years 10 months 29 days ago. A number of changes have been made to the site since then, so please contact me if anything is broken or seems wrong.

What I’m going to do, as a little short, is teach you to send EXE file attachments in Gmail. I’ve sent this workaround to many people (friends, family), but apparently have never published it in this blog. It’s probably useful for programmers emailing samples of their small apps to friends and family, or for sending system-saving programs to a non-techie whose computer is dead.

The way Gmail filters attachments appears to be, at least now, by extension. This means the filter is tricked very easily. There are only a few steps to this workaround, and it’s reasonably straightforward. The only potential requirement is a user on the other end savvy enough to change file extensions, just like you.

  1. Locate the file in Windows Explorer (or whatever non-crappy explorer you use)
  2. Hit F2 to rename
  3. Change EXE to EX_
  4. Browse for the file and upload it to Gmail
  5. Include a brief note in the message detailing how to make the file work on the other end (for the receiving non-geek who’ll ask, “How’d you evade the filter?”)
  6. Send the message

You can do the same thing with ZIP files containing EXEs: just use ZI_ instead of EX_, and include appropriate instructions. You probably already know that a lowercase ex_ will work as well as uppercase.

Like all workarounds, this one may not work if Google ever catches on; however, in the present, it works (I tested before publishing).


I am an avid technology and software user, in addition to being reasonably well-versed in CSS, JavaScript, HTML, PHP, Python, and (though it still scares me) Perl. Aside from my technological tendencies, I am also a theatre technician, sound designer, violinist, singer, and actor.

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