Change what Firefox does when you click on or download a file

Revision Information
  • Revision id: 14349
  • Created:
  • Creator: Chris_Ilias
  • Comment: used the {note} tag for the note in "Changing download actions", and used {warning} for the note in "Adding download actions"
  • Reviewed: Yes
  • Reviewed:
  • Reviewed by: Chris_Ilias
  • Is approved? Yes
  • Is current revision? No
  • Ready for localization: No
Revision Source
Revision Content

This article will describe how Firefox handles downloads for different types of files and how you can change that behavior.

Download actions

When you click a link to download a file, the MIME type determines what action Firefox will take. You may already have a plugin installed that will automatically handle the download, such as Windows Media Player or QuickTime. Other times, you may see a dialog asking whether you want to save the file or open it with a specific application. When you tell Firefox to open or save the file and also check the option to "Do this automatically for files like this from now on", an entry appears for that type of file in the Firefox Applications panel, shown below.

Changing download actions

This will not affect media embedded in a web page - only links to the files themselves.

  1. Click the menu button New Fx Menu and choose Options.Preferences.
  2. Select the Applications panel.
  3. The Applications panel will display. Select the type of file for which you want to change the default action.
    Multiple entries for the same file extension? Some extensions are used by more than one MIME type.

  4. The Action column will give you a drop-down menu, with options on action to take, whenever you click that type of file.


    • Always ask: will prompt you to select what action you want Firefox to take when you click on that type of file. This can be useful if Firefox is automatically saving a file type or is always opening it with a certain program and you want to be asked what to do.
    • Save File: will always save the file to your computer using the Where to find and manage downloaded files in Firefox, whenever you click that type of file.
    • Open the file with an application or plugin of your choosing.
  5. Close the about:preferences page. Any changes you've made will automatically be saved. after making changes.

Adding download actions

  1. On the web, find a link to a file matching the type you want to add.
  2. Click on the file link to download it.
  3. Select how you want Firefox to handle the file:
    • Open with: Saves the file to a temporary folder and opens it in the default application for that file type. To select an application, click Choose...Browse....
      Do not choose Firefox to always open a certain file type, as doing so can cause a problem where Firefox keeps opening many tabs or windows.
    • Save file: Saves the file to the download folder (specified in the Firefox Main panel).
  4. In the Opening file window, check mark Do this automatically for files like this from now on.


  5. Click OK.
Is Do this automatically for files like this from now on disabled? This can happen if the website's server incorrectly specifies the MIME type of the file. It also can happen if the server assigns "Content-Disposition: attachment" to the file.