Resolved: Guests cannot access uploaded files (401 error)

Problem: Guests cannot access files in a course, and are prompted with a login box followed by 401 “forbidden” error after trying to access the files. This occurs for files that have been uploaded to a course after May 22nd 2011.

Solution: To make a file available to guests,

  1. Click on the grey chevron button next to the file name, and choose “Edit”.
  2. Click on “Select a Different File”. (see image)
  3. Click on “Browse Course”. (see image)
  4. Check the “Also assign Public permission to this file” box. (see image)
  5. Select the file from the list, and click on “Submit”.
  6. Click on “Submit” to complete the process.

To prevent this from happening with newly uploaded files,

  1. Upload a file to the “Files” area before putting it in a content area
  2. Then add the file to the content area by choosing Build -> File, not Build -> Item
  3. Be sure to select Browse Course, and check the “Also assign Public permission to this file” box when selecting the file.

This is an identified bug that is fixed in the next version of Blackboard. There is no patch available for the current version.