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The usual behavior of IIS 6.0+ is to throw a 404 error when a client tries to access a file that does not have an associated MIME type in IIS settings.

Does it mean that it is safe to assume that those files are protected from unauthorized access? I would like to know if there is a way for a remote client to force start the download of files with unknown file types given that IIS settings remain untouched.

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No, this is not possible considering the design of IIS. For a file to be served to a client it needs to have a supported MIME type in IIS.

There could be a bug in IIS to allow this, but considering the maturity of the product this is unlikely at this time.

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