Ask the Expert

Repercussions of blocking .PIF attachments

What problems would I cause if I stopped my Exchange 2000 server from receiving e-mails with .PIF attachments -- I have NAI antivirus software which updates DATs every day.

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PIF, or program information files, are used as "Shortcut" files. In the case of Microsoft DOS applications, they also contain configuration information. If you were to block PIF attachments, your users would not be able to receive links to resources in the form of a PIF file.

This would not block URLs or UNCs in general, but rather links to a shared folder or printer that might be attached via Outlook or other Windows applications.

Perhaps the most appropriate place to filter PIF files is at the gateway. This way you would block unsolicited PIF files but would still be able to attach them for internal e-mail. PIFs and other links do help keep down the size of e-mail items and are generally a better practice than full sized attachments.


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Related information from SearchExchange.com:

  • Tip: Exchange Admin 101: Attachment blocking
  • Reference Center: Virus protection


  • This was first published in July 2005

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