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Cannot download apps, it shows gibberish on the page.

  • 33 replies
  • 6 have this problem
  • Last reply by JennyeK

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After the latest update I cannot download apps from some locations. Whenever I click on the download button it acts as though it will download then up pops a page of gibberish (it looks like code). I haven't changed anything and all my downloads work just fine in IE and Chrome, so I know it's a Firefox problem.

All Replies (20)

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The Reset Firefox feature can fix many issues by restoring Firefox to its factory default state while saving your essential information. Note: This will cause you to lose any Extensions, Open websites, and some Preferences.

To Reset Firefox do the following:

  1. Go to Firefox > Help > Troubleshooting Information.
  2. Click the "Reset Firefox" button.
  3. Firefox will close and reset. After Firefox is done, it will show a window with the information that is imported. Click Finish.
  4. Firefox will open with all factory defaults applied.

Further information can be found in the Refresh Firefox - reset add-ons and settings article.

Did this fix your problems? Please report back to us!

Thank you.

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NO IT DID NOT! Now all of my add ons and other information is gone and I have to start from scratch. I think I'll just go back to using IE or Chrome!

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This usually happens if the server sends this file as text/plain and Firefox will display such a file by default in a tab instead of showing the download dialog.

You will have to right-click such a link and choose "Save Link as" to download and save such a file.

Alternatively you can set the browser.altClickSave pref to true on the about:config page.
Then you can hold down the alt key and left-click the link.

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If you reset Firefox then a new profile is created and some of your data (bookmarks, history, cookies, passwords, form data) is automatically imported and your current profile will be moved to the desktop (Old Firefox Data). You will lose extensions and other customizations (toolbars, prefs) that you've made.

It is possible to recover more data from the old profile, but be cautious to avoid carrying over the problem.

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NONE OF THIS HAS WORKED! I did not have this problem two days ago BEFORE the Firefox Update!!!!! I find it strange that I can download in other browsers THROUGH THE SAME SERVER but I cannot download in Firefox. Something is wrong in the recent Firefox update. This is happening on all 5 of my computers and ONLY in Firefox!

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What kind of download is it?

Firefox 21 for the first time will try to play MPEG media natively. If you are trying to download music or video, you can turn off this feature and see whether that restores the earlier behavior. Check out this thread for the steps: How to disable the built-in media player in FFv21?

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Which content type do you see if you inspect the "Tools > Page Info > General" with such a file open in a tab?

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It was an app for CD Burner XP from .cnet. I've downloaded plenty of items from cnet and never had a problem. It was NOT music nor was it video.

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What? This makes no sense to me

 Which content type do you see if you inspect the "Tools > Page Info > General" with such a file open in a tab?
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If the download was previously handled by a plugin, you may be affected by a second change in Firefox 21.

Most plugins are found through registry entries, but some installers simply drop a DLL in a shared folder and don't add a registry entry. Those plugins have disappeared in Firefox 21 because they are in an obsolete location. You either can move them to the new folder, or modify a setting to force Firefox to check the old location.

The steps are as follows. Although you do not need to do both, you might want to anyway.

(1) Change a Firefox preference so that Firefox checks the old location.

  • In a new tab, type or paste about:config in the address bar and press Enter. Click the button promising to be careful.
  • In the filter box, type or paste plugins and pause while the list is filtered
  • Double-click plugins.load_appdir_plugins to switch its value from false to true.

This will take effect after you restart Firefox.

(2) Copy the plugins folder to the new location. (Based on Windows 7)

  • Open a Windows Explorer window to C:\Program Files (x86)\Mozilla Firefox
  • Right-click and copy the Plugins folder
  • Double-click the browser folder to open it
  • Right-click and paste
  • Right-click the new copy of Plugins and rename it to plugins

After restarting Firefox, the plugins in that folder should now be available.

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The "Tools > Page Info > General" window shows some basic information about the page in the currently selected tab and the second line (Type) shows how the server has send this file.
It is quite possible that the server has changed its configuration recently and is sending files as text/plain.
A lot of other browser do content sniffing to see if this file can be displayed and if not recognized will show a downlooad dialog.
If the server sends a content type then Firefox will always use this content type and won't sniff this file.
A content type of text/html or text/plain will be opened in a browser tab.

  • Press the F10 key or tap the Alt key to bring up the hidden "Menu Bar" temporarily and to access the Tools menu.
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Well JSCHER 2000 none of that worked. In fact NONE of any of these suggestions have worked. It still produces the page of gibberish in Firefox, even on an old computer that has had NO changes made to it, except the update that happened in the last few days to Firefox.

Guess I'll switch to Chrome! Thanks for trying.

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Did you check Tools > Page Info > General?

Can you post a link to a publicly accessible page that doesn't require authentication (signing on)?

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When I click to download from that page (CNET), the site provides an .msi installer and Firefox displays the Save/Cancel dialog. This behavior shouldn't have changed in Firefox 21. But to answer cor-el's query, the site does seem to send text/plain headers with the file. (Which makes no sense.)

Modified by jscher2000

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I checked the Tools>Page Info>General on the page in question and it shows text not html. How do I change it from text to html? If this is indeed the problem, I need to know how to change it. Thanks for hanging in there with me.

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If you set the browser.altClickSave pref to true on the about:config page then you can hold down the alt key and left-click the link/button to see if that gives you the download dialog. I'm on Linux and Alt doesn't work here, so can't test it.

Type about:config in the location (address) bar and press the "Enter" key to open the about:config page, just like you open a website by typing the URL in the location bar.

  • If you see a warning message then you can confirm that you want to access the about:config page.
  • use the Search bar at the top of the about:config page to locate preferences more easily
  • preferences that have been modified and do not have the default value show as bold (user set)
  • preferences that are user set (bold) can be reset to the default value via the right-click context menu
  • preferences can be changed via the right-click context menu: Modify (String or Integer) or Toggle (Boolean) or by double-clicking the line with the pref
  • preferences can be created via the right-click context menu: New -> String, Integer, Boolean
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Well that worked, and I greatly appreciate it. However, it's a pain to do that after I discover that the download won't open. How do I change Firefox to open html instead of plain text? I have 5 computers and this is going to be a problem. Any help would be appreciated.

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This is a server side issue and Unfortunately you can do nothing about it apart from contacting the website and ask them to look into this.
They shouldn't send files that are meant to be downloaded as text/plain.
So this is a case of server misconfiguration.

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A software installer is a binary file that should never be displayed in Firefox. (So you don't want it interpreted as HTML.)

I tested in my regular profile and in a new profile, and in both cases, Firefox somehow ignored the server's description that it's sending a plain text file and instead displays the download dialog. So it must be possible to get Firefox working the old way with CNET for you as well. If only I knew what was different...

On your 5 computers, do you use any proxy or filtering service or external downloader you could try turning off for testing purposes?

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I'm on satellite with Excede because I live in the mountains. We don't use any proxy settings. We set everything to automatically detect settings. No proxies anywhere around here. Don't know if any of this matters. I'll just live with it the way it is I guess. Perhaps another update will undo all this madness....I really don't know. It's doing it with Windows XP Pro, Windows 7 and Windows the OS is not a factor. I would give up, but I'm pissed that I can't figure this out!

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