What to do if you can't download or save files

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This article describes steps to take if you are unable to download or save files using Firefox.

Note: The Reset Firefox feature can fix many issues by restoring Firefox to its factory default state while saving your essential information. Consider using it before going through a lengthy troubleshooting process.

Clear the download history

Clearing the download history can fix some problems with downloading files:

  1. Click on the Firefox button (Tools menu in Windows XP), and then click DownloadsClick on the Tools menu, and then click Downloads. The Downloads window will open.
  2. In the Downloads window, click Clear List.
  3. Close the Downloads window.

Choose a different download folder

Firefox may not be able to download files if there is a problem with the folder in which downloaded files are saved:

  1. At the top of the Firefox window, click on the Firefox button and then select OptionsAt the top of the Firefox window, click on the Tools menu and then select OptionsOn the menu bar, click on the Firefox menu and select Preferences...At the top of the Firefox window, click on the Edit menu and select Preferences

    Click the menu button New Fx Menu and choose OptionsPreferences

  2. Select General panel.
  3. In the Downloads section, select Save files to.
  4. To select a download location, click Browse.... Choose a different folder to try saving files.
  5. Click OK to close the Options windowClick Close to close the Preferences windowClose the Preferences window

Reset the download folder

If you have tried the above suggestions, you can restore the default Firefox download folder settings:

  1. In the Location bar, type about:config and press EnterReturn.

    • The about:config "This might void your warranty!" warning page may appear. Click I'll be careful, I promise! to continue to the about:config page.
  2. In the FilterSearch field, enter browser.download.
  3. If any of the following settings have a status of user set, reset their values. To reset a value, right-clickhold down the Ctrl key while you click the setting and select Reset from the context menu:
    • browser.download.dir
    • browser.download.downloadDir
    • browser.download.folderList
    • browser.download.lastDir
    • browser.download.useDownloadDir
  4. If desired, you can revert back to your preferred download folder settings by changing your Firefox settings.

Choose a valid download folder in Safari Preferences

If you receive the error <filename> could not be saved, because an unknown error occurred. , your problem might be caused by an interaction with the Safari browser and your operating system.

To fix the problem, open Safari's Preferences and change the Save downloaded files to: setting to a valid folder (such as your Desktop). Then restart Firefox.

Delete corrupt plist file

If you receive the error <filename> could not be saved, because you cannot change the contents of that folder. Change the folder properties and try again, or try saving in a different location., your problem might be caused by corrupt plist files.

To fix this problem, go to your home directory and delete this preference file:

  • ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.internetconfig.plist

Change file type settings

If downloading certain file types does not work, check to make sure Firefox is not set to handle those file types differently from others. See the Change what Firefox does when you click on or download a file for instructions on how to view and change how different file types are handled.

Reset download actions for all file types

To reset how all file types are handled by Firefox back to default:

  1. Open your profile folder:

    At the top of the Firefox window, click on the Firefox button, go over to the Help menuOn the menu bar, click on the Help menuAt the top of the Firefox window, click on the Help menu and select Troubleshooting Information. The Troubleshooting Information tab will open.Click the menu button New Fx Menu , click help Help-29 and select Troubleshooting Information. The Troubleshooting Information tab will open.

  2. Under the Application Basics section, click on Show FolderShow in FinderOpen Directory. A window with your profile filesfolder will open.
  3. Note: If you are unable to open or use Firefox, follow the instructions in Finding your profile without opening Firefox.

  4. At the top of the Firefox window, click on the Firefox button and then select ExitAt the top of the Firefox window, click on the File menu and then select ExitOn the menu bar, click on the Firefox menu and select Quit FirefoxAt the top of the Firefox window, click on the File menu and select Quit

    Click the menu button New Fx Menu and then click ExitQuit Close 29

  5. Rename the mimeTypes.rdf file to mimeTypes.rdf.old .
  6. Restart Firefox.

Remove Download Manager plugins

On Windows, third-party download manager plugins can interfere with Firefox downloads. Download Manager plugin files that get added to the Firefox plugins folder include the following, listed by the download manager program and the associated plugin filename:

  • GetRight: NPGetRt.dll
  • WinGet: NPWinGet.dll
  • Download Accelerator Plus: npdap.dll
  • FreshDownload: npfd.dll
  • Net Transport: NPNXCatcher.dll, NPNXCatcher(Audio).dll, and NPNXCatcher(Video).dll

See Troubleshoot issues with plugins like Flash or Java to fix common Firefox problems for instructions on how to disable or remove plugins.

Configure Internet security software

Internet security software, including Configure firewalls so that Firefox can access the Internet, antivirus programs, anti-spyware programs, and others can block certain file downloads. Check the settings in your security software to see if there is an setting that may be blocking downloads.

To diagnose whether Internet security software is causing problems, you can try temporarily disabling it, seeing if downloads work, and then re-enabling the software.

Disable virus scanning in Firefox preferences

Firefox launches your installed antivirus program to scan files when they finish downloading. In some cases this can cause a substantial delay or downloaded files may not be saved after the scan completes.

  1. In the Location bar, type about:config and press EnterReturn.

    • The about:config "This might void your warranty!" warning page may appear. Click I'll be careful, I promise! to continue to the about:config page.
  2. In the FilterSearch field, type browser.download.manager.scanWhenDone.
  3. Double-click on the browser.download.manager.scanWhenDone setting to change its value to false.

Enable downloads blocked by Security Zone Policy

Downloading an executable file (e.g., an .exe or .msi file) may fail, with the Find and manage downloaded files showing Canceled under the file name.

This happens because Firefox honors your Windows security settings for downloading applications and other potentially unsafe files from the Internet. To resolve this problem, use one of the solutions given below.

Bypass Windows Security Policy check

See the Disable virus scanning in Firefox preferences section above.

Reset system Internet Security settings

You can reset your system Internet security settings in Internet Explorer. See How to reset Internet Explorer settings at Microsoft Support for instructions.

Other solutions

You may be able to diagnose your download problem by following the steps given in the Troubleshoot and diagnose Firefox problems article.




Based on information from Unable to save or download files (mozillaZine KB)



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