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Save image doesn't remember last location saved for Firefox 7

  • 65 replies
  • 435 have this problem
  • Last reply by John99

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This only started happening with Firefox 7, all previous version worked fine. When using "Save Image", Firefox will not remember the most recent location in which images were saved. It will instead randomly choose prior locations in which images were saved. When saving images, I save them in different folders to sort them properly, but firefox never remembers the most recent one used. This is INCREDIBLY ANNOYING because if I want to saving a group of images in a common folder, it constantly forces me to navigate to that folder instead of remembering the location of that folder from the last image saved there.

All Replies (20)

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John99- There's obviously some communication issues because, being a brand new problem, most of us don't know the actual terms to describe them. I didn't even know that little window was called a File Picker. But here's my shot at explaining through my own primitive vocabulary.

The problem has nothing to do with the general download location. Firefox has not lost its ability to save to disk. It has nothing to do with the way it handles different file types. It has nothing to do with opening files in Firefox.

The problem is entirely with the File Picker; specifically the folder it is set to open to. When you open the File Picker, most commonly through "Save Image As" but also through "Save Link As," or "Save Page As," it usually goes to the last location you performed that action. That behavior is simple, easy to keep track of, and we have never had a problem with it.

In the newest version of Firefox the location the File Picker opens to unexpectedly changes. Basically it acts like it has erratic OCD: it does not go to the last location you saved a file to, but to the last folder you downloaded to from that server. Sometimes it goes to the last folder you downloaded to from that specific webpage regardless of the image server. Sometimes it suddenly switches to a random folder based on the position of your grandmother's slippers relevant to the nearest pod of dolphins. Occasionally it forgets all the ludicrous ways it has assigned locations and goes all the way back to your general download location. And that's terrible. It makes it impossible to download multiple items to the same folder.

Let's say you're near suicidal and fire up Google Images for "puppies," the last bastion of warm and fuzzy pictures not yet tainted by porn thumbnails. In between going "d'aawwww," you use "Save Image As" to preserve your favorites to a folder named, let's say, THE LAST REASON LEFT TO LIVE somewhere in your photos/Ineedhope/whydidyoutakeawaymysonGod/ directory. You save a few more, and that's when you realize... Firefox has been saving all but your first one to different folders. You shrug and choose THE LAST REASON LEFT TO LIVE through the File Picker again and place that photo of an adorable pug tilting its head at the camera where you'll need it on a dark day. But as soon as you try to save another, it goes to a different folder yet again, say, the ones for beachfront homes you were considering retiring to one day, the family photos your ex wife sent you, or the one with mugshots of Jimmy's killers. No matter how many times you re-experience the cold apathy towards your son's death, File Picker will constantly refuse to give you THE LAST REASON LEFT TO LIVE.

After lots of struggling and bargaining with File Picker, it seems to understand what you need. At least while you're on the same webpage. On this large gallery of beagles and retrievers, the url and server for the images are the same so Firefox cannot keep taking away THE LAST REASON LEFT TO LIVE from you. You can finally just save a picture without wrestling with an interface that hates you and makes you constantly relive the hoops of an ineffective bureaucracy. But you thought wrong. You weren't keep a close eye on the folder you were saving to each and every time, and somewhere along the way Firefox has pulled a fast one to switch it yet again. Twice even. You don't realize this until days later after you'd long closed that website tab and don't know how to find it again. That dark day when you needed a reminder that there's still life, innocence, and unconditional love in this twisted world. Firefox has thrown aside whatever convoluted game it was playing and simply made THE LAST REASON LEFT TO LIVE empty, its contents buried in pieces across your hard drive so you will never, ever find it. Just like Jimmy.

That's just one way it could backfire, but it's annoying is what I'm saying.

Modified by craigj

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@craigj LMAO but well said.  ;-)

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Good answer, but:

I am not even sure the correct name of that window is a file picker. The point I am trying to make is IF we can show reproducibly what is happening. AND if as it seems it has changed since firefox 3.6 (or firefox 6 or whatever) we can ask about it and possibly get the behavior changed. One of the first things the developers need to know is when the change occurred.

We need to be sure what we are seeing and talking about before trying to get developer attention. There is also a possibility the problem relates to changes in the OS, or the servers rather than a Firefox change.

The point I am trying to make, rather less eloquently than yours, is that we need to identify and document a problem before we are able to investigate it properly. The developers will need an easy to reproduce scenario where they can see this problem occur, that is what I am trying to obtain.

Modified by John99

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If that doesn't help, then I'm sorry, and you should probably just move on to someone else's problem.

I do sympathise, any unexpected unexplained change is frustrating, and am trying to help.

I will move on, but you may be running out of people willing to try to help, unless you, as reporters of problems, are also willing to co-operate with those trying to to assist.

By all means vent your frustration in the forum, but that does not get a solution.

Firefox has a userbase in 100s of millions, there are very many variables in combinations of usage and software.

Your call

  • post clear unambiguous steps to reproduce
    or your best stab at that
  • or do not expect progress on this problem
    - until the votes on these threads are in the thousands
    - or someone else reports a reproducible problem
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John99, The first line in your first post here stated: "I am not too sure exactly what problems you are all having, and have only just started to read this thread. Someone else may have a quick answer, but I do not recall a change being made in firefox that will cause this."

Then you go on to offer potential solutions without actually knowing what the problem is. How well does that usually work out?

You then state: "If someone can demonstrate there is a problem that is reproducible, I or someone else will be able to find out more info about it. "

We've done that, numerous times.

In the time you've spent replying, you could have actually read every word various people have written on the nature of the bug and duplicated the problem many times over (it will take you 5 minutes). This isn't a formal UAT or regression testing environment, and if you're unwilling or unable to work with word problems, you're in the wrong business or have the wrong hobby, whichever this is to you. The rest of us seem to be able to understand what each other has written up here regarding the steps required to duplicate the problem. I'm not sure which part of it is unclear to you.

You ask, which version. We tell you, 7+ You ask which OS. If you'd look at who's reporting the issue, you can see, Windows 7, Windows XP and a Mac. You ask for the steps to reproduce and we've pointed them out.

You misrepresented the nature of the interaction with cor-el, stating that he "did not seem to notice anything unusual had been demonstrated, so I doubt I will see anything."

As you know, he never said or implied any such thing in that thread. He asked a couple of questions, then left when I asked him a question. In a different thread on the same subject, cor-el asked the same question of another user, and when that user answered, cor-el also walked away from that thread.

Finally, my 'venting' has been exclusively about your attitude.

I will now leave this and all of the other threads on this subject. I can not at this point provide further information. On the off chance that you'll get over your arrogance/little power trip and actually attempt to help solve the issue, I will be out of your way.

BTW, I've been a developer on various systems and platforms for more than 25 years. You walk in with the assumption that people here are idiots, you treat them that way, and it shows.

(BTW, I've not marked any of your posts as 'Not Helpful' That should tell you it's not just me who's frustrated with your approach.)

Good luck to everyone.

Modified by macahi

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macahi, sorry you find me unhelpful,

I walked in at the suggestion of someone else. I tried to get information that would enable a bug to be filed, resulting in developer involvement. Sorry that you did not find that a helpful attitude,
- seems an odd response from someone with your background in development, admitting:

BTW, I've been a developer on various systems and platforms for more than 25 years.

Surely you are someone who does understand these processes and could provide such information, and even file a bug yourself without any assistance. You seem to have chosen not to follow what appears the logical course.

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Found one more factor- Whether you choose save something through right mouse clicking or through hotkeys (ctrl + s) also takes you to different locations. It's not just the url; Firefox will actually bring up completely different folders for saving the same exact image.

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Steps to reproduce:

  1. Go to ctrl+s for save, and create c:\funnydogs
  2. Go to ctrl+s for save, and create a different folder: c:\funnycats
  3. Go to ctrl+s for save, and observe the default location in the file save dialog. I expect it to be c:\funnycats, as that was my previous save-folder. Not so. Since I used c:\funnydogs on that domain earlier, FF returns to the same folder.

This is a change in behaviour. I think it came some time in version 7, and no matter how good the intentions, it is VERY annoying.

Modified by oddrune

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I thought I had already commented, but must not have posted it.

I have compared with Firefox 3.6 and now also Firefox 6 and the behaviour does indeed seem to have changed in firefox 7. I have not yet found any documents about such a change or narrowed it down any further.

update, did not find anymore info, so have asked in /forums/contributors/707742

Modified by John99

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I did get an answer, and it appears that this change was intentional, and at present there is no way to turn it off.

  • Intentional change: Bug 536503 - Last downloaded-to directory should be remembered on a site-by-site basis
    • and note also Bug 693153 - "arbitrary" selection of download directory in multiple tabs (tabs with different server name)

Someone did ask in one of the bugs about exposing a preference so that the behavior could be reversed, that was a recent informal request as a comment, and may, or may not, progress any further.

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I'm quite sure the change they intended on implementing is bugged. As I have said, I was downloading pictures of cats off of and approximately 50% of every picture I had in a new tab would save to one of two directories. Let's call them /cats7/ and /cats13/. Almost positive /cats7/ was the directory I was using when I upgraded to FF 7. During the month or so I have created new directories /cats8/, /cats9/, 10, 11, 12 and have saved numerous files to each of them. Every new directory I made, FF would seem to randomly choose either the newest directory or /cats7/. It would never choose any of the directories I've made in between the newest and /cats7/. FF seems to think that, because /cats7/ was the directory being used when the feature began, then that's the directory to default to every time it doesn't recognize a new.. a new what? A new "web page"? Because it surely does not save pictures according to domain name.

If I only use my computer to save pictures of cats, then I want to use whatever directory I had used last. It doesn't matter what web site or what domain I'm on, I am always looking at cats! Now if I was a person who wanted to see both dogs and cats, then perhaps this feature, if implemented properly, would be useful. To me, this is one of the worst frustrations I have come across in FF. I would file a bug report, but I feel like I would have to first search for an existing report with the same problem. The search criteria displays around 200 results. I have clicked on some with a summary describing this exact problem, marked with "new" status, but they were originally posted 8 years ago! Does a developer actively monitor the bugs? If so, then how is it possible 8 year old bugs are listed as new and not deleted entirely? This is a ridiculous bug reporting system that I neither have the time nor the patience for. Should I just create a new bug report or will that be sitting there in 2020 still listed as new?

Modified by Dysmorphophobic

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I imagine the developers openly discus changes and new requests, somewhere, presumably on one of the newsgroups but I am not sure which.

If something is an issue where something does not work as intended, then anyone may file a bug about that. Bugs are prioritised and the most important ones fixed first, some will never get fixed, unless you happen to be a developer yourself and do the work!

I think there are two avenues to consider

  1. file a formal bug to expose a preference,
    allowing the user the option to reverse the change made. (although if that has not already been done after existing comments maybe you do not have much chance of success)
  2. study the current situation,
    if you can show something is not working as intended, file a bug for it to be fixed (A poster above did show a potential problem, and a clear change, as I said that turned out to be due to an intentional alteration). Until you can clearly define the problem, and provide Steps To Reproduce, I do not think you will not be in a position to even consider filing a successful bug.
    (P.S. edit ->) In addition to the bugs already mentioned there is also Bug 672817 - site-by-site last downloaded-to directory is not always remembered which is work in progress.

If I may ask have you tried

  • setting the download location manually , does that work
  • using Ctrl+S for each download and selecting the desired folder

I have no involvement in development, but I am guessing you may find out more from one of the links in

Modified by John99

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Hello, John, thanks for the response and the suggestions. Oddly enough, for the past 2 days images have been saving to the proper, last used directory! I'm not sure if they resolved the issue or if the problem will randomly crop up again. A few weeks ago and I thought I had solved this problem by deleting a reference to the old directory out of FF config, but the problem reoccurred several days later (I mentioned the specifics in an earlier post). I will report back here if things start acting up again and see if I can't reproduce the problem to submit a bug report. It just seems like it's random as I can't figure out a pattern. I should also mention that I am running the latest Firefox 8.0 beta.

I have never used Ctrl+S to save anything before, but that seems to want to save the web page (to the last saved to directory). I always right click, save image as. As for manually setting the download directory--that doesn't seem to work as it just tries to save to whatever directory was saved to last as if I had never enabled the option (restarted FF to make sure). Am I not understanding how "Save files to <directory>" works or is that bugged? EDIT: Oh, it only saves certain file types, like exe, to that directory. I suppose that works, but useless for jpg, as far as I can tell.

Bug report 672817 sounds like the reported "bug" is the desirable behavior that I'm wanting--to always use the last directory.

Modified by Dysmorphophobic

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Sorry I'm unable to comment in a techie fashion, but as a simple user I must say this is the single most annoying, ill-conceived, and idiotic modification, intentional or not, I have encountered in the many years of using FF. The ability to consistently save a file in a specified directory is paramount for my use of FF - it should not be a movable feast.

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I completely agree with buggaz. This constantly shifting save image as folder is retarded. If I'm doing a google search for one type of car, the image results are going to come from all over creation. It's absurd to think that all images from one server should be placed in one given folder, as if all images from Flickr are of the same subject matter. The previous behavior of remembering the last selected folder was perfectly acceptable. The current behavior is infuriating. I want my old Firefox back!

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Whilst I sympathise, and do not see why Mozilla Firefox made such a change, without at least allowing a preference to reverse it there is nothing that can be done here on this forum.

Developers are unlikely to see any comments made here.

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Here's the workaround I found. It will not (unfortunately) revert to the previous behaviour of FF but will help you to reset the site-folder dictionary of FF anytime, for example before an image saving session.

  • Select Tools | Option and choose Privacy tab
  • Click on "clear your recent history"
  • Time range to clear : choose Everything (last option in the listbox)
  • Click on Details if necessary
  • **Uncheck** all options **except** Site Preferences (thus only Site Preferences is checked at the end).
  • And apply with Clear Now !

The folder proposed by Save Image As should now be the session's last downloaded-to folder (no longer the site's).

Now where does the magic come from ? Starting indeed with FF 7, someone has decided that "Last downloaded-to directory should be remembered on a site-by-site basis" (as noted here by John99. It's in bug#536503 ).

And this has been implemented :-((.

And documented in Using_content_preferences (look for the table entitled "Build-in site-specific preferences", the preference is stamped "New in Firefox 7"). As a techie can see there, the information is stored in a file named content-prefs.sqlite (a database file stored in your profile -- a brutal workaround would be to delete or rename this file, but I discourage such manipulation while FF is running)(BTW if you delete it when FF is not running, the file is recreated when FF is launched).

The workaround I propose simply resets the content preferences, meaning that you will get rid of current site-download folder mappings (good news !) but also of upload site-folder mappings and site-zoom preferences. Which may be a problem depending on your needs...

When I have some time, I'll investigate a javascript snippet that could remove only site-download folder mappings from the content preference database.

Hope this will work for you as it worked for me.

(Another workaround I didn't test is using private browsing. While privately browsing, the download folders are stored in memory, and no longer in the content-prefs.sqlite database. The problem is : you may find that (other) useful things are not remembered while in private browsing mode such as cookies or passwords...)

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Another general idea for a workaround. (Windows System used as an example, your file paths may differ)

OK it is a rather clunky method, but at least it allows you to keep a list of quite a few locations easily found, and allows you to relatively easily set the preference. It resets only that preference and does not otherwise affect settings. I will save the best bit for last.

  • Make a notepad file. Cut and paste the relevant location addresses using the windows explorer bar, or using the existing preference itself.
    • Generate and place it in the file as:
CATS|C:\Documents and Settings\A_User\My Documents\My Pictures\Cats_Folder
DOGS|C:\Documents and Settings\A_User\My Documents\My Pictures\Dogs_Folder
    • That lists the preference as a reminder, then the different locations you wish to use, and has some useful hint placed in front of it as to the use of the location.
  • Save that file somewhere and bookmark it so it can be found, give it a name such as Location_List.txt Maybe store it in the My pictures path:
C:\Documents and Settings\A_User\My Documents\My Pictures\Location_list.txt

So that would bookmark as

  • open the file as a browser tab, (you can then copy from it.)
  • To get at and modify your preferences key in about:config in the location bar, accept the warning. ( about dragons or the warranty). May as well bookmark about config also.
    1. find the preference
      key that into the filter to find it easily, you already have the preference name listed in the text file as a reminder
    2. right click the preference -> choose modifycopy and paste the relevant chosen path from the other tabs text listing into the preference string.

A much simpler workaround

  • This works on Windows XP. Remember you can easily obtain the relevant path strings, and as above if you wish open a list of them in a tab
  • right click the chosen image -> choose save as -> paste the file path into the file pickers file name input field, ahead of the file name, that is where the new file will be downloaded and saved.
e.g. C:\Documents and Settings\A_User\My Documents\My Pictures\cats.png

Modified by John99

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Good post thanks for the ideas.

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Problem Solved:

I reinstalled version 6.

There is absolutely nothing in version 7 that's worth putting up with this nasty bug.

You can download version 6 for windows, mac and linux here:

[link removed because I found the v6.0.2 ftp directory. If interested, please see my comment 2 after this one.]

Once installed, launch it, clear the first screen that comes up saying that you're almost there (prompting you to install v7), go into preferences, advanced, update, and uncheck the Firefox box so it isn't constantly bugging you to install version 7.

BTW, the installation of V6 was painless. Amazingly (and unlike going up a version) all of my settings were retained.

Modified by macahi

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