Change Download Location In IE9, IE8, Firefox and Chrome

Most web browsers will automatically download files to a default location e.g. Desktop or a special Downloads folder. But you may want to change this location – perhaps to a different partition or a folder of your own choosing.

Below are guides showing how to change the download location in Firefox, Google Chrome, IE9 and IE8.

Change Download Location In Firefox – Easy

  • Click ‘Tools’ in the menu bar then ‘Options’ to open the Options window
  • Click the ‘General’ tab then select the ‘Save files to’ radio button and press the ‘Browse’ button

location1

  • Navigate to the folder where you want downloads to be saved (you can create a new folder if required) then press OK
  • Your new download location should now be shown in the General tab (e.g. D:\My Downloads)
  • Press OK to apply the change

Change Download Location In Chrome – Easy

  • Click the wrench (spanner) icon at top right of the Chrome toolbar
  • Select ‘Options’ to open the Options tab
  • Click the ‘Under the Bonnet’ tab in the left panel
  • In the ‘Downloads’ section, click the ‘Change’ button

location2

  • Navigate to the folder where you want downloads to be saved (you can create a new folder if required) then press OK
  • Your new download location should now be shown in the ‘Downloads’ section (e.g. D:\My Downloads)
  • Close the Options tab – your change is applied

Change Download Location In IE9 – Easy

[IE9 is only available to Vista and Windows 7 users, not XP]

  • Click the Gear (cog) icon at top right of the IE toolbar
  • Select ‘View downloads’ to open the View Downloads window
  • Click the ‘Options’ link at bottom left to open the Download Options window

location3

  • Press the ‘Browse’ button and navigate to the folder where you want downloads to be saved (you can create a new folder if required) then press the ‘Select Folder’ button
  • Click OK to apply the change then click Close to finish

Change Download Location In IE8 – Advanced

[XP users are stuck with IE8 – IE9 is not an option. However, the most recent versions of better alternatives such as Google Chrome and Firefox work fine on XP]

There is no menu option available in IE8 to change download location – it must be changed by editing the registry.

Warning: The registry is a very important database containing Windows configuration settings. Before editing it you should create a new System Restore point in case you need to revert back to before the changes.

  • Click ‘Start’ then click ‘Run’ then type  Regedit  and press the OK button to open the Registry Editor
  • Navigate through the left panel of the registry to HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Software\ Microsoft \ Internet Explorer

location4

  • If there is a key named ‘Download Directory’ in the right panel:

Double click this key to edit it – replace the ‘Value data’ with a valid directory (full path name e.g. D:\My Downloads) where you want downloads to be stored and press OK

  • If there is not a key named ‘Download Directory’ in the right panel:

Right click on an empty space in the right panel and select ‘New’ then ‘String Value’

Type in the name of this new value as   Download Directory  then press Enter to confirm the name

Double click this new string to edit it – type into the ‘Value data’ a valid directory (full path name e.g. D:\My Downloads) where you want downloads to be stored and press OK

  • Close the Registry Editor then shutdown and restart your computer for the change to take effect

Conclusion

For many people the current download location may be fine but it is sometimes better to change it – especially if it is set to Desktop so that the entire Desktop ends up crammed with a confusing mix of program shortcuts, folders, archives and installation files.

It is easy to change download location in Firefox, Chrome and IE9 but much harder to do in IE8 – because there is no menu option.

6 Responses to: "Change Download Location In IE9, IE8, Firefox and Chrome"

  1. Mark W. says:

    Hi Roy,

    I didn’t give my IE8 file download location much thought until I read this post – especially since I rarely use IE8 which includes downloading files. So I checked out Internet Options and couldn’t find any place to specify file download location. Then I went to the Microsoft Windows site and they describe changing the registry (with caution) as you have done here. Then I thought there must be a free utility that would easily make this change without having to edit the registry. I didn’t have to go any further than a utility I already have installed on my computer – TweakNow PowerPack 2011. I looked around and found on the Windows Secret tab (Windows Secret – Applications, Browsing sub-section to be exact) a place to specify the file download directory. Mine was already designated as being the Desktop. I must have used this feature back on the 2006 version of this utility. I think about this now and wonder what Microsoft was thinking. Competition is good. :)

    Mark

    • Roy says:

      Hi Mark, sometimes I don’t think even Microsoft know what they are thinking ;-)

      Just tested the latest TweakNow Powerpack 2012 and it still includes this option – so if anyone has it installed or wants the other tweaks offered it may be worth a go (it makes the registry change behind the scenes for you).

      However, I wouldn’t follow TweakNow’s advice “clean your registry at least once a month” – that goes against advice from Microsoft and is not necessary (or desirable) in a non-server Windows system. I’ll try and review Powerpack properly when I have time.

      • Mark W. says:

        Roy, you are amazing. I just installed TweakNow PowerPack 2011 two months ago (version 3.4.7) and wasn’t even aware of the 2012 version (version 4.0.0) until you mentioned it above. The update checker within the app claims it’s up to date so I guess that “feature” was a bug in that version.
        Thanks for all your reviews and the heads up on the latest app and security updates for a wide variety of computing stuff. You cover a lot of ground and do a very good job of writing it up.

  2. Roy says:

    Maybe the update checker only works within the same ‘main’ version number i.e. the x.x in version 3 but misses version 4 as it’s treated like a new program. Still a minor bug though – it should at least notify you even if it can’t do an in-place upgrade.

    Thanks for the comments Mark, appreciated.

  3. Pat says:

    I just installed Windows 7 and it only comes with IE8 and I’m utterly flabbergasted there is no menu option in IE8 to simply set the default download directory to c:\data\\downloads (or whatever we want). This is utterly unacceptable, and, alone, makes me want to ditch IE8 pronto, for a browser that is designed by professionals. This is crazy to have to edit the registry just to tell a browser how to do something as basic as download a file! What on earth are they thinking? (They must assume all users are morons.)

    • Roy says:

      @Pat – IE8 is years old though so less surprising that it doesn’t have modern features like this.

      As you have Windows 7 you can simply upgrade to IE10 (Windows Updates will install it for you anyway) – IE10 has exactly the same simple menu option for Download location as detailed for IE9 in the article above. Or you could of course use FF/Chrome if you prefer