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Unwanted automatic saving of files

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I'm trying to revert Firefox back to its classical behavior of asking whether and where to save files. Changing "browser.download.improvements_to_download_panel" to FALSE does not work. Even with "Always ask where to save files" in SETTINGS selected. I've found numerous confusing write-ups on the forum.

As many have expressed, the decision to make saving files automatically the default is a TERRIBLE one.

I require a step by step method to change Firefox back to its original behavior concerning saving of files. I've used Firefox since its inception and this is the first time I've ever asked for help. If the current behavior is made an unchangeable default I will likely switch to another browser.

I'm trying to revert Firefox back to its classical behavior of asking whether and where to save files. Changing "browser.download.improvements_to_download_panel" to FALSE does not work. Even with "Always ask where to save files" in SETTINGS selected. I've found numerous confusing write-ups on the forum. As many have expressed, the decision to make saving files automatically the default is a TERRIBLE one. I require a step by step method to change Firefox back to its original behavior concerning saving of files. I've used Firefox since its inception and this is the first time I've ever asked for help. If the current behavior is made an unchangeable default I will likely switch to another browser.

Alle svar (3)

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You can set browser.download.start_downloads_in_tmp_dir = true on the about:config page to make Firefox use the OS temp folder for downloads you open in an external application.

You can open the about:config page via the location/address bar. On the warning page, you can click "Accept the Risk and Continue" to open about:config.

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Try checking the settings on the General page under Downloads > Applications. Set the applications you want to "Always ask".

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Further Background

If you choose to Save a file in the Open/Save/Cancel dialog, or if you choose Save File as the action for a particular type of file on the Settings page, then Firefox follows your setting to ask where you want to save it.

But if you choose to Open a file in the Open/Save/Cancel dialog, or if you choose "Use [program]" as the action for a particular type of file on the Settings page, then Firefox DOES NOT ask where to save the file -- it saves the file to pass to the selected application -- and it follows either

  • the new pattern of Firefox 98+ (use your "Save files to:" folder from the Settings page) or
  • the old pattern prior to Firefox 98 (Windows Temp folder)

Which is used is controlled by the preference cor-el mentioned (browser.download.start_downloads_in_tmp_dir).

If you have a problem with PDFs and the "Open in Firefox" setting, you have an additional choice.

There is a bit more background for this one: inline vs. attachment disposition

If web servers don't specify how Firefox should handle a PDF, or if they specify "inline" handling, then then Firefox loads the PDF as web content with its original URL in the address bar. The PDFs are saved with other cached web content, not in your download folder. This is good.

But web servers can try to force a download by setting Content-Disposition: attachment if they don't want browsers to show the files in a tab. Firefox changed what it does in this case:

Before Firefox 98: Firefox always showed a download dialog, even though you had already told Firefox what you wanted to do, even when you checked the box to always do this in the future. It was kind of infuriating.

Firefox 98+: Firefox downloads the file automatically and then opens it. Because these are saved to disk the URLs start with file:///. By default, they are saved in your "Save files to" folder on the Settings page.

In response to user suggestions/complaints, Mozilla added an option to modify the above:

When your handling action is "Open in Firefox", all PDFs can now be opened as web content and saved in the cache instead of a regular folder. Here's how you set this up:

(a) In a new tab, type or paste about:config in the address bar and press Enter/Return. Click the button accepting the risk.

More info on about:config: Configuration Editor for Firefox. The moderators would like us to remind you that changes made through this back door aren't fully supported and aren't guaranteed to continue working in the future. I'm using this so I feel comfortable mentioning it.

(b) In the search box in the page, type or paste browser.download.open_pdf_attachments_inline and pause while the list is filtered -- requires Firefox 103 or later

(c) Double-click the preference to switch the value from false to true