Downloading Files

Perhaps the most essential function of the Internet is the ability to quickly transfer data files from one location on the Internet to another location. These files can be programs, images, music, video or documents. When you click a link, it is handled according to the type of link and Firefox's settings.

Almost any link can be saved as a file to your computer for later use. To make sure you get what you want, you must watch for some cues and clues. These will be discussed further on.

The Downloads window

When you download a file from the Internet to your computer using Firefox, it opens a Downloads window which shows your downloading progress and a list of completed downloads.


To pause a download, press pause. To resume downloading, press resume.

To cancel a download, press stop.

If a download failed or if you canceled it, you can retry by pressing retry.

To remove all completed downloads from the list of files, click Clear List.

You can remove any single download from the list by right-clicking it and selecting Remove From List.

To quickly locate a downloaded file on your computer, right-click the filename in the download window and select Open Containing Folder.


Once a file has completed downloading, you can open it by double-clicking on it in the Download Manager window or in the location on your computer where it has been saved.

File download options

You set options such as file locations and visibility of the download window from the Tools > Options dialog, on the Main tab.

By default, Firefox will put downloaded files on your desktop. To have Firefox ask you where to save a downloaded file go to Tools > Options > Main and select Always ask me where to save files.


To save downloaded files in a single location of your choosing, select Save files to and browse to the new location. 

If you want the Downloads window to close as soon as the download finishes, select Close it when all downloads are finished.

Downloading Files Without Displaying Them

Even if a file will display in your browser, you may want to save it for later, rather than reading it immediately. In many cases, you can right click on a link, and select Save Link As...


 Depending on your download settings, Firefox will attempt to download the file or show you a dialog box to select file destination and file name.

Note that some links go to a confirmation page or otherwise don't point precisely to the file they advertise. You should check the file to make sure that it's what you wanted.

Downloading Really Big Files

The term "really big" is subjective, depending on the speed of your connection to the Internet and depending on how fast the owner of the file can (or is willing to) send it. Generally, a file must be transferred in one session. You can't expect to stop in mid-download, shut the computer off, and expect to resume it the next day. Also, the longer a file takes to download, the more likely an interruption or download problem becomes.

If you frequently have problems with downloads or need to do them in smaller chunks, there are "download managers" which can help.  There's probably an Add-on or Extension to help. See those chapters or see the Mozilla site to find suitable aids.