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How do I tell Firefox to clear the list of downloaded files on exit?

  • 17 replies
  • 5 have this problem
  • 2848 views
  • Last reply by sideburns

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When I was using Firefox 3.x, I configured it to clear the list of downloaded files at exit. Now, I've "upgraded" to Firefox 7.0.1 and it's stopped doing it. Not only that, there doesn't seem to be a way to get that functionality back. Is there some setting I've missed, or have the Firefox devs decided that users don't need/want to have Firefox do this any more?

Chosen solution

You should still be able to only clear the Download history when you close Firefox.

  • Firefox/Tools > Options > Privacy > Firefox will: "Use custom settings for history" > [X] Clear history when Firefox closes > Settings
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All Replies (17)

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I want to clear my Download history at exit AND ONLY my Download history, just like I could in Firerfox 3.x. Clearing all of my history is too heavy handed. No, pointing me to the wrong answer isn't helping. me in the slightest.

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Chosen Solution

You should still be able to only clear the Download history when you close Firefox.

  • Firefox/Tools > Options > Privacy > Firefox will: "Use custom settings for history" > [X] Clear history when Firefox closes > Settings
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There isn't any "Options" under Tools in the Linux version of Firefox. Instead, I went to Edit Preferences. Once I'd selected "use custom settings for history," I unchecked Remember download history, and nothing else. Thank you.

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You're welcome.

Sorry for providing a Windows link, I had forgotten to check your Operating System.

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This worked for Firefox 7.x. Now, I'm using 10.0.1 and it's stopped working. I have Firefox set to clear my download history at exit, but it simply ignores the setting. I don't know if it's something wrong with my copy or a bug, but what good is there having a setting if the program doesn't pay any attention to it?

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Do other setting of Clear Recent History work?

You can try to delete the downloads.sqlite file in the Firefox Profile Folder in case there is a problem with the file.

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I'm sure that would work, once, but I want a permanent solution. And, I'm not sure that there's anything wrong with the file because new downloads still get listed, and I can remove one manually; I just can't get the list to clear itself on exit.

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Did you check if Clear Recent History is working for other items?
You can make a backup of the affected files and restore that data if necessary.

Can you clear the download history manually via Firefox/Tools -> History -> Clear Recent History or isn't that working as well?

If Firefox isn't closing properly then it is possible that not all files get cleared.
You may also have security software that is preventing Firefox from deleting the file.

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If I click on Tools->Downloads->Clear List, it clears.

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If there is a problem with using Clear Recent History then you need to use CRH to check out what works and what doesn't work. If you can clear that history in the download manager then that doesn't mean that CRH also works as intended.

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True. However, it proves that the only part of CRH that I want to work does.

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The situation has gotten worse: now, dowloaded files vanish from the list the moment the download ends.

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Does Firefox still remember the download history?

  • Tools > Options > Privacy > Firefox will: "Use custom settings for history" > "Remember download history"

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Of course not. I'd turned that off AT YOUR SUGGESTION trying to solve the original issue. And, stop telling me how to find things on a Winderz box when I use Linux.

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Sorry again for the Windows menu paths, on Linux use Edit > Preferences instead of Firefox/Tools > Options as I've posted before.

I never told you to disable settings in that part to the history settings, you did that yourself ([/questions/897299#answer-276610]).
I told you to check the settings in "Clear history when Firefox closes"

Did you try to delete the downloads.sqlite file in case there is a problem with the file?

Did you check the permissions for all files in the Firefox Profile Folder?


Create a new profile as a test to check if your current profile is causing the problems.

See "Basic Troubleshooting: Make a new profile":

There may be extensions and plugins installed by default in a new profile, so check that in "Tools > Add-ons > Extensions & Plugins" in case there are still problems.

If that new profile works then you can transfer some files from the old profile to that new profile, but be careful not to copy corrupted files.

See:

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I hadn't noticed that there were special settings for clearing history at exit. I'm almost certain that I set that up correctly for 7.x and it reset itself later.