Our friend Ed from Microsoft Office recently stopped by to fill us in on how to reduce the risks associated with opening potentially unsafe files.

Here's what Ed has to say:

With hackers working overtime to create sophisticated tricks, computer viruses, worms, and other huge hassles that cost us all time and money, the folks at Microsoft Office took action. They created the new Protected View feature in Office 2010.

This feature gives you fair warning that there might be trouble with the file you're opening--namely it may have been created by someone up to no good, or it's a corrupt file, or one that won't work with your system.

When you see the Protected View Message Bar, decide how you want to proceed:

  • If you know the file is from a reliable source, click Enable Editing or Edit Anyway and get right to work.
  • If you're not sure, Protected View lets you look over the file while turning off functions (such as print) that can trigger a virus to run. This allows you to read the file without potentially damaging your computer or network.

See What is Protected View? to read more about using Protected Viewor see how it works in the video Turning off Protected View