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Open with Application... setting does not seem to be working

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Mac OS X 10.6.6, FF 4.0 (RC1), Microsoft Excel 2011 14.0.2. I needed to download several files with .xls suffix.

Firefox asked what I wanted to do with the file, I indicated Open with Excel, and retain this setting. I then tried the next download, and the "Open With..." button showed no settings. I check the Preferences>Applications area, and Excel is there as the application of choice, but it does not appear as the "Open With" application in the download dialog box. If I just go ahead and download, the file does not open. If I *do* re-select Excel, then the file downloads and opens properly, but the setting is not retained for the next download, even though the "always do this" box is checked. It's a minor issue.