Search Support

Avoid support scams. We will never ask you to call or text a phone number or share personal information. Please report suspicious activity using the “Report Abuse” option.

Learn More

Cuireadh an snáithe seo sa chartlann. Cuir ceist nua má tá cabhair uait.

Downloads

more options

When I download a file before I even have a chance to save or open the file Firefox downloads the file and puts it on my desktop. I have to look at lots of .pdf files and this a bit annoying as I have to keep deleting all the files I dont want. The dialog box opens and I always choose open rather than save but Firefox has already saved a copy to my desktop. How can I stop this autosave please ? Cheers.

When I download a file before I even have a chance to save or open the file Firefox downloads the file and puts it on my desktop. I have to look at lots of .pdf files and this a bit annoying as I have to keep deleting all the files I dont want. The dialog box opens and I always choose open rather than save but Firefox has already saved a copy to my desktop. How can I stop this autosave please ? Cheers.

All Replies (20)

more options

Try this fix to see if it helps.


FF99.xx and Some tips to make it work. https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/questions/1375403

more options
more options

Done all as suggested. Just get a desktop file everytime I download. I have chosen the dialogue box to appeare everytime....but I get an auto download and desktop icon !!

more options

Before Firefox 98, Firefox would start the background download in the Windows system Temp folder. Firefox 98 stopped using that folder, so now it is using your default download folder -- the one listed next to "Save files to" on the Settings page. Assuming yours is working that way, it seems your default download folder is the Desktop. That's definitely not the best choice with Firefox 98+.

As an example of how to get those out of your way, this is I'm doing for now for the download folder setting:

(1) Change the default download folder to a "temp" folder I created (2) Set Firefox to always ask where I want to save a file so I can choose a real folder when I want to keep the file

On the Settings page, it looks like this:

Does something like that works on yours?

more options

Thanks for the reply. Sorry it does not work. Still the same instant unrequested download. I only want to open the .pdf files and save the useful ones.

more options

So did you look at my tip or not?

more options

donthavecow said

So did you look at my tip or not?

What tip as you linked to this thread.

more options

muttleythedawg said

Thanks for the reply. Sorry it does not work. Still the same instant unrequested download. I only want to open the .pdf files and save the useful ones.

You want to open the PDF file in Acrobat first, or open the PDF file in a tab in Firefox first?

If you want to open the PDF file in Acrobat first, it will be saved in the "Save files to:" location.

If you want to open the PDF in Firefox first, select "Open in Firefox" for "Portable Document Format (PDF)" on the Settings page. The files will be saved in the web content cache.

This all assumes the server is identifying the content-type as "application/pdf". If the server is saying they are some other kind of file, Firefox will normally just save the file.

more options

No it it is really strange. Got everything set for ask for....and get the box. Just before that I can see a download go to files. I get to choose but already a file has been saved. Cheers.

more options

muttleythedawg said

No it it is really strange. Got everything set for ask for....and get the box. Just before that I can see a download go to files. I get to choose but already a file has been saved. Cheers.

Yes, this is how it always worked. The download started in the background. When it was in the system Temp folder, no one noticed -- unless their security software leapt into action and quarantined the file.

more options

I never had autosave before and always had the option to save or open. Now I get autosave and the option to save which is too much. There is no point in having the option to save or open box as the file has autosaved anyway.

more options

muttleythedawg said

I never had autosave before and always had the option to save or open. Now I get autosave and the option to save which is too much. There is no point in having the option to save or open box as the file has autosaved anyway.

Firefox can't pass a file path to an application without saving the file, so the file always needs to be saved somewhere. What has changed is where it saves the file. I understand that it creates unwanted cleanup problems for many people.

more options

Note that you can use Delete in the right-click context menu of a downloaded item in the Downloads folder in the Library to cleanup downloaded files you no longer need.

Athraithe ag cor-el ar

more options

Firefox is not giving me the option to "open or save" only "open and save." Also it started off by placing the file on the desktop. I can not see the point of the always ask where to save files option as Firefox saves it for me anyway and there is no way to stop it. Never happened before.

more options

muttleythedawg said

Firefox is not giving me the option to "open or save" only "open and save." Also it started off by placing the file on the desktop.

Do you have "Desktop" next to "Save files to" on the Settings page?

I can not see the point of the always ask where to save files option as Firefox saves it for me anyway and there is no way to stop it. Never happened before.

Obviously it wasn't saved on the desktop before. It was saved in the system Temp folder before. The point of using Always Ask is to save the extra step of going to the Downloads list and choosing to open the file from there.

more options

No I do not have desktop next to save files. I had to change it as it was really annoying. I made a folder for Firefox to autosave extra copies to. Also I have ticked the always ask option to no avail. Firefox just automatically downloads and saves a file when I open it.

Firefox does actually place the files in whatever path is in the box however. So I suppose I could always make a path to the recyle bin. But I can not see the point in haveing an option to "always ask" option when there is no choice as you get a saved copy whether you like it or not.

more options

I still don't see a solution to this extremely annoying "feature" other than... the user has more work to do to clear the machine of dead space. This is NOT acceptable! Firefox IS a pdf view, it should just show me the files I want to view and NOT download them. IF it has to download them to view them BRING BACK THE TEMP FOLDER and when I'm done with firefox, delete the files.

This was not an issue, seems firefox has made it an issue and created more work for its users when it didn't need to.

I've done what others have done above. Both "Always ask you where to save files" AND "Ask whether to open or save files" are checked but I don't get the option to save, everything I click is auto-saved, they don't disappear when I close firefox and when I want to save I don't get the option to select the folder I want to save the file. EVERYTHING goes to downloads. I then have to clear all the files I don't want and find the one file I do want to keep... the rename and move it to where it belongs. There was ZERO issue with 'view' vs 'save' until this update and now the entire process is completely busted. This problem was created by firefox and can only be fixed by firefox. Absolutely disgusted!

more options

You can set browser.download.start_downloads_in_tmp_dir = true to revert to the old behavior to use the OS temp folder.

You can open the about:config page via the location/address bar. If you get the warning page, you can click the "Accept the Risk and Continue" button.

Athraithe ag cor-el ar

more options

cor-el ... that didn't do anything

more options

darthno2 said

Firefox IS a pdf view, it should just show me the files I want to view and NOT download them. IF it has to download them to view them BRING BACK THE TEMP FOLDER and when I'm done with firefox, delete the files. ... There was ZERO issue with 'view' vs 'save' until this update and now the entire process is completely busted.

Okay, that was a long post. Let me try to clarify and update, to hopefully solve your problem.

I understand you prefer to set your PDF handling to "Open in Firefox" on the Settings page (View PDF files in Firefox or choose another viewer). Why does this sometimes open a PDF without saving to your Downloads or Temp folder, but sometimes it does save there? Here's why:

When a server sends a PDF, it can optionally send a Content-Disposition header (MDN). This header can indicate either "inline" or "attachment".

  • "inline" refers to displaying in the browser
  • "attachment" refers to downloading

This is invisible to you but explains why some PDFs open normally with their web address (inline) and some save to disk and open in a new tab with a file:/// address (attachment).

GOOD NEWS: Firefox 103 now has a new feature to override Content-Disposition: attachment for PDFs, making Firefox treat them all as web content (inline). If you prefer to use Firefox as your PDF viewer, then this should be helpful:

(A) In a new tab, type or paste about:config in the address bar and press Enter/Return. Click the button accepting the risk.

More info on about:config: Configuration Editor for Firefox. The moderators would like us to remind you that changes made through this back door aren't fully supported and aren't guaranteed to continue working in the future. I'm using this so I feel comfortable mentioning it.

(B) In the search box in the page, type or paste browser.download.open_pdf_attachments_inline and pause while the list is filtered

(C) Double-click the preference to switch the value from false to true

Success?


Here is a more detailed background:

Scenario 1: Content-Disposition omitted to set to inline:

Firefox opens the PDF as web content, and stores the file in the web content cache. Unless the site directed the PDF to a new tab, it opens in the same tab. This is unchanged from the pre-Firefox 98 days.

Scenario 2: Content-Disposition set to attachment [and in Firefox 103, browser.download.open_pdf_attachments_inline set to its default value of false]:

Sites typically do this to force a download and bypass in-browser viewing, or it might be unintentional. Firefox's behavior has evolved:

  • Before Firefox 98: Firefox always showed the download dialog where you could choose Open with Firefox, Open with [relevant application], Save file, or Cancel. Regardless of how many times you checked the box to always follow your choice in the future, it didn't work.
  • Starting in Firefox 98: Firefox automatically follows the behavior of the old Open with Firefox choice in the download dialog. (Initially there was a bug where it replaced the current page; this was fixed in Firefox 101 by forcing the PDF to a new tab.)

In all of these cases, the file is saved outside of the web content cache. With Save file, you can control where it was saved by selecting the item before "Save Files to" to show the Save As dialog. If you use an Open with... option, Firefox saved automatically. The save location changed:

  • Before Firefox 98: Firefox saved the file in the Windows Temp or Linux /tmp folder (not sure about Mac)
  • Starting in Firefox 98: Firefox saves the file in the "Save files to" folder set on the Settings page. (Firefox 102 added the browser.download.start_downloads_in_tmp_dir preference allowing Windows and Linux users to revert this if desired, but the default was not changed.)

Scenario 3: Content-Disposition set to attachment AND in Firefox 103, browser.download.open_pdf_attachments_inline set to true:

This new preference in Firefox 103 converts Scenario 2 to Scenario 1.

  1. 1
  2. 2