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Firefox now saves files that I only wanted to open

  • 16 replies
  • 13 have this problem
  • 21348 views
  • Last reply by Chris Ilias

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After today's update to version 98 Firefox keeps saving files to the Downloads folder when I don't want it to, I just want to open them, but not keep them, with this new behaviour the Downloads folder keeps filing up with useless clutter.

For example, before the update, when I downloaded a .zip file, a pop-up would show up asking if I wanted to save the file or open it with an application. If I chose to save it it would be saved to the Downloads folder, and if I chose to open it nothing would be saved to the Downloads folder.

After the update, when I download a .zip file, Firefox always saves the file to the Downloads folder, even if I choose to open it.

Can you please tell me if there is a way to make Firefox behave like in the previous version?

After today's update to version 98 Firefox keeps saving files to the Downloads folder when I don't want it to, I just want to open them, but not keep them, with this new behaviour the Downloads folder keeps filing up with useless clutter. For example, before the update, when I downloaded a .zip file, a pop-up would show up asking if I wanted to save the file or open it with an application. If I chose to save it it would be saved to the Downloads folder, and if I chose to open it nothing would be saved to the Downloads folder. After the update, when I download a .zip file, Firefox always saves the file to the Downloads folder, even if I choose to open it. Can you please tell me if there is a way to make Firefox behave like in the previous version?

Chosen solution

I wasn't asking why is it happening, I already know, I was asking how to fix it to make it work like before, which I found out by the way, just go to about:config and set browser.download.improvements_to_download_panel to false.

WARNING: Changing preferences through this interface not officially supported Hidden settings edited using the about:config tool are explicitly not supported, which means that Mozilla makes no guarantees they will be supported in the future, or that Mozilla will fix them if they break. Mozilla does not test these preferences, and will not in the future. That includes security and performance testing which these preferences may affect.

[Warning added by moderator]

Also, "There are two use cases for downloading and opening files and the devs have decided to choose for the case that prevents data loss for users that want to make changes to downloaded file", sure, but why not let the user choose the desired behaviour in the settings panel? Let's hope they don't remove this option from about:config in a future version.

Read this answer in context 👍 13

All Replies (16)

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There was a change to how downloads are handled in Firefox 98. See How file downloads are handled in Firefox version 98 and above.

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I noticed that you marked the above reply as unhelpful, but there is not much that we can do about decision changes made by the Firefox devs.

There are two use cases for downloading and opening files and the devs have decided to choose for the case that prevents data loss for users that want to make changes to downloaded file (files in the temp folder aren't guaranteed to stay there). This makes Firefox to download all the files to the default downloads folder including files you open in another application via the "open with..." dialog. This has the side effect that you keep all files that are downloaded (saved and opened) while you previously only kept the files you explicitly saved.

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Chosen Solution

I wasn't asking why is it happening, I already know, I was asking how to fix it to make it work like before, which I found out by the way, just go to about:config and set browser.download.improvements_to_download_panel to false.

WARNING: Changing preferences through this interface not officially supported Hidden settings edited using the about:config tool are explicitly not supported, which means that Mozilla makes no guarantees they will be supported in the future, or that Mozilla will fix them if they break. Mozilla does not test these preferences, and will not in the future. That includes security and performance testing which these preferences may affect.

[Warning added by moderator]

Also, "There are two use cases for downloading and opening files and the devs have decided to choose for the case that prevents data loss for users that want to make changes to downloaded file", sure, but why not let the user choose the desired behaviour in the settings panel? Let's hope they don't remove this option from about:config in a future version.

Modified by Chris Ilias

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Note that the browser.download.improvements_to_download_panel will only be there for a limited time (i.e. during the development of a feature) and can be removed at any time in the (near) future like happened with the print.tab_modal.enabled pref. Depending on disabling such a feature via its control pref isn't recommended to avoid getting caught when this workaround no longer works.

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Relevant preferences are listed in the link below. (Remove blank space in link.) https://searchfox. org/mozilla-central/source/browser/components/preferences/main.js#2914

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cor-el said

Note that the browser.download.improvements_to_download_panel will only be there for a limited time (i.e. during the development of a feature) and can be removed at any time in the (near) future like happened with the print.tab_modal.enabled pref. Depending on disabling such a feature via its control pref isn't recommended to avoid getting caught when this workaround no longer works.

This would be a horrible decision on the hands of the Mozilla team if they do remove it. It makes it less viable for businesses to use as their preferred browsers. Besides the issue of having to download everything you try to open in a singular folder of basic trash you have to hunt for (files generated have randomly generated file names making it very difficult to find the one you need to open), it adds extra unnecessary steps to open said files. I have to open sometimes over 100 generated spreadsheets a day from our system, and getting rid of the option to just open the file instead of downloading it and opening it from a folder with thousands of files is just not an option for me. If Mozilla ever does decide to remove this function, I can guarantee you'll see a lot of business use drop to other web browser options.

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This was a HORRIBLE decision. I have always used Firefox but I will need to switch if they don;t go back to the old option of open or save. Having to save every file before viewing it is a royal pain in the butt!

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The people who answer questions here, for the most part, are other users volunteering their time (like me), not Mozilla employees or Firefox developers. If you want to leave feedback for Firefox developers, you can go to the Firefox Help menu and select Submit Feedback... or use this link. Your feedback gets collected by a team of people who read it and gather data about the most common issues.

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By the way browser.download.improvements_to_download_panel false is not working. It's just not showing the download pop-up window. The files are still downloading in the Download folder!!

Please we need the previous version...even if they (files) store in the Temp folder!

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Do the developers have no interest in what the users want?

Depending on the files being downloaded I may want to save files (To a location which I specify) but never to the base Download folder. I may also want to process the file and discard it.

It is a pity the developers did not spend their time more usefully in fixing a long outstanding error: "Do this automatically for files like this", which many users would have found very useful.

If Firefox is no longer going to support this, it is time I moved on to a new browser which will support me in what I need rather than what some backroom developer thinks I need.

This change, introduced without any notification caused me confusion and a lot of wasted time working out what had gone wrong with my processes.

Modified by John

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I have the problem with the zip files being downloaded automatically instead give the option of what to do. I spent considerable amount of time investigating the problem and notice that the application and content type no longer list zip files as it did in past versions and there was no way to add it. After finding a solution in this problem file and applying it, it did resolved the problem. Nevertheless, I still feel that an official Firefox permanent solution should be implemented and future changes like this should be listed in the update and an how to change back to the prior operations. This is not the first time a situation like this occurred in a Firefox update and they also took a considerable amount of time to resolve.. This is the main reason why I and probably most users hesitate updating to a new release of Firefox.

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I would still insist the users to choose whether to save or not. This was the primary reason I was using Mozilla over Chrome. Developers needs to reconsider this please, upgrade should be beneficial not remove the features which are good.

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This has been so aggravating to me as well. The feature to not save every singe download and just parse the file was the sole reason I used Firefox over Chrome! Now, I guess I'll just keep FireFox around for browser testing only.

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Can't believe they changed it and forced it, I actually used this all the time, sure the average user may not want it, but was it so hard to add a checkbox and when the update hit ask the user if they want to automatically download? come on I don't want to use chrome or edge

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bayus.firestorm said

I wasn't asking why is it happening, I already know, I was asking how to fix it to make it work like before, which I found out by the way, just go to about:config and set browser.download.improvements_to_download_panel to false. WARNING: Changing preferences through this interface not officially supported Hidden settings edited using the about:config tool are explicitly not supported, which means that Mozilla makes no guarantees they will be supported in the future, or that Mozilla will fix them if they break. Mozilla does not test these preferences, and will not in the future. That includes security and performance testing which these preferences may affect. [Warning added by moderator] Also, "There are two use cases for downloading and opening files and the devs have decided to choose for the case that prevents data loss for users that want to make changes to downloaded file", sure, but why not let the user choose the desired behaviour in the settings panel? Let's hope they don't remove this option from about:config in a future version.

MAN THANK YOU! I started to hate firefox for that little change and were not able to fix it and was hoping it will go away in few days but it didn't.

Why on earth some devs decide to remove this option it makes me baffled.

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Hi everyone,
The person who asked the original question (bayus.firestorm) has marked this thread as solved, and others seem to be using this thread for there own complaints and discussion, so I'm going to lock this thread.

Be assured that we've passed on your feedback to the Firefox team. They've been asking about what users here have been saying, and we've included your comments.

When opening a file from any browser, the file would be downloaded to the Windows "TEMP" folder. Many people couldn't find files that they had opened or delete them. This change makes downloading to the Downloads folder the default behaviour. If you choose, you can make Firefox ask what to do with specific file types.

Here's how to make it ask: 1. Click on the Downloads icon in the toolbar (it should automatically open when you download a file). 2. Right-click on the file and enable Always Open Similar Files 3. Go to Settings, and scroll down to the Applications section 4. Beside the file type, click in the Action column and set it to Always ask

You'll still need to delete the file manually.