how to download from the internet.

At some point, we'll all want or need to download something from the Internet.

The Internet provides a wealth of information & entertainment, but it also gives us the ability to share files.

To send stuff around the world.

It could be something mundane like your bank statement, utility bill, flight tickets etc. Or how about pictures of your grandchild, born thousands of miles from where you are.

Getting these files onto your computer is called Downloading, and in this guide, I'm going to show you how to download from the Internet like a pro.

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what exactly is downloading?

This is the first thing we'll need to clarify. What exactly do we mean when we're talking about downloading?

What's actually happening when you download a file from the Internet?

Downloading is the process of moving a file or files, from one computer to another across a network, normally the Internet.

In essence, you bring the files down from the Internet, and load them onto your computer.


downloading from the internet.

The Internet is considered to be UP, and your PC is DOWN.

So files you send to the Internet are UPloaded, and files coming from the Internet onto your PC are DOWNloaded.

the downloads folder & web browsers.

Downloading is such a common practice in modern computing, that your computer has a dedicated Downloads folder built-in.

And your Web Browser knows it.

So that's where it will automatically store any files that you download from the Internet.

Normally it won't ask you or tell you, it'll just drop everything into the Downloads folder.

the downloads folder.

There are 3 major problems with letting your browser use the Downloads folder automatically.

  1. You don't have the opportunity to change the file name.
  2. There's little indication that the file has actually downloaded.
  3. As the Downloads folder fills up, it's often difficult to find the file you just downloaded.
did that download, should i click it again?

there's a better way to download.

We can actually download files into any folder on our computer. It doesn't have to go into the Downloads folder.

And that's precisely what we should all be doing.

The folder of choice should be the Desktop.

When you drop files onto your Desktop, you can see instantly that something new has appeared.

We can use the Desktop like an "in-tray" in an office.

Let's say you've downloaded a booking confirmation for a holiday.

It's right there on your Desktop.

You can open it, check it, print it, and then Cut & Paste it into the folder that it needs to be stored in for safekeeping.

No more searching for files or wandering if the download worked.

use your desktop as an intray for downloaded files.

Once you get used to working like this, you'll find it a revelation.

It's just so much easier finding & then dealing with your files from your Desktop than hunting through the Downloads folder.

change your browser settings.

Whenever you download anything from the Internet, your browser will automatically store that file in your Download folder. It won't give you the option to save the file anywhere else, or even re-name it.

We're going to change that. We're going to change your browser's default behaviour. It's very easy to do, just a few clicks, and it won't break anything

The way different browsers work varies slightly. Obviously, I can't cover every browser, so I'll cover the 3 most popular, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome.

So we're going to split up here depending on which browser you're using. If you're using Edge, keep reading.

But if you're using Firefox or Chrome, click the respective buttons below to skip down the page to those sections.

We'll all join up again after making the changes to our browsers.


edge logo 1

microsoft edge download settings.

click 3 horizontal dots.

If you're using Microsoft Edge, start it up, and then click the 3 horizontal dots in the top right corner.


On the menu that opens, click SETTINGS. You may have to scroll down the menu.

click the 3 horizontal lines.

On the Settings page, click the 3 horizontal lines in the left corner.

Then on the menu, click DOWNLOADS.

turn on "Ask where to save downloads"

Click the switch button to turn this option ON.

Now Edge will ask where to save downloads, giving you the option to save to the Desktop.

From now on, whenever you download something in Edge, whether it's a picture, document, video or in this case, a program, Edge will offer you the SAVE AS button.

Using the Save As button, we can download the file to anywhere on our computer.

thumbs up

That's all we need to do for now with Microsoft Edge specifically.

So to re-join the rest of us, click the button.


mozilla firefox logo.

mozilla firefox download settings.

click the 3 horizontal lines.

If you're a Firefox user, then click the 3 horizontal lines in the top right corner.

click OPTIONS.

On the menu that opens, click OPTIONS.

On the Options page, scroll down to the DOWNLOADS section.

Select "Always ask you where to save files."

Henceforth, whenever you download anything, Firefox will open this small window.

To continue the download, you'll click the SAVE  button.

And that will open the Save As window allowing you to both name and locate the file on your PC.

click the SAVE FILE button.
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That's all we need to do that's specific to Firefox.

So click the button to re-join the crew at the Save As window.


google chrome logo

google chrome download settings.

click the 3 vertical dots.

If you're using Google Chrome, click the 3 vertical dots in the top right corner.


On the menu that opens, click SETTINGS.

scroll down, click ADVANCED.

On Chrome's Settings page, scroll down as far as you can go.

Then click the ADVANCED button.

turn on "Ask where to save eah file".

Scroll down some more until you reach the DOWNLOADS section.

Select "Ask where to save each file before downloading".

From this point on, whenever you download anything, Chrome will immediately open the Save As window, allowing you the opportunity to name and locate your file.


the save as window.


using the save as window - file downloads.

Brilliant, we're all back together again regardless of which browser you're using.

The changes we've made to the settings force our browsers to ask us where to save any file we're downloading.

The browser does that by opening the Save As window.

Once the Save As window appears, we know exactly what we're doing, right? We're on safe ground, familiar territory.

Of course we do. It's the same Save As window we've been using in Notepad to save all those dummy files. Exactly the same.

This is the pay off for all that practice we did earlier.

In the Save As window you can change the file name if you want to.

And you can choose which folder the file goes into so that you'll know where to find it once it's been downloaded.

As I said earlier, I'd always save onto the Desktop, and then deal with it from there.

an example of how to download.

We're going to have a go at downloading a program from the Internet to see how it's going to work.

We'll download a program called Avast. We're not going to install it, just download it to the Desktop and then delete it out of the way.

The main thing here is to see what happens when the download starts and how we deal with it.

Pop on over to the Avast website and click the download button.

Click here for the Avast Download page.

download avast.

You could actually download anything, it doesn't have to be Avast.

I'm using it purely as an example because it's free and easy, but anything would do, the principles are exactly the same.

After clicking the Download button, Edge will offer you two options.


Click the SAVE AS button.

Clicking the Save As button opens the Save As window, which is what we want.

If you're using Firefox, after you've clicked the Download button, you'll see this pop-up window.

Click the SAVE FILE button.

That'll open the Save As window in Firefox.

click the SAVE FILE button.

And if you're using Chrome, after clicking the Download button, the Save As window will just open.

the save as window.

When you're downloading anything the Save As window is exactly the same, regardless of which browser you're using.

And it's the same Save As window that we've been using to save all those Dummy Files from Notepad earlier in the course.


Near the bottom of the window, we've got the FILE NAME box. We can type anything we want in here.

So we can give the download a more descriptive name, something that will tell us exactly what the file is.

And in the left-hand panel, we've got all our drives and folders.

To complete the download, re-name the file to Avast Setup, so we know what it is.

Then click Desktop in the left-hand panel.

And finally, click the SAVE button.

Name and save your download.

Minimise or close your browser, and you should find the downloaded file on your Desktop.

there it is.

The only reason for downloading this file is to see how it all works. We could have downloaded anything.

So once you've found it. you can delete it out of the way.

The whole point of this little exercise is to see just what happens when we download anything.

We don't actually want the file

Left-click it once to select it, right-click it, then left-click DELETE on the menu that appears.

downloading is easy - once you know how.

So that was pretty painless.

The downloaded file turned up on the Desktop, we didn't lose it, we could find it easily, and we knew precisely what the file was.

Because you've changed the settings in your browser, from now on, all downloads will work like this. Regardless of what you're actually downloading.

So if you're downloading a picture, they'll often have meaningless file names, like IMG123.

Well, what is it? Is it your grandchild, Blackpool Tower or a lion? You simply don't know. But if you've given it a proper name, you'll know exactly what it is, even 6 months or a year from now, you'll know.

And using the left-hand panel of the Save As window, you can save the file in whichever folder or drive you want.

So you can download it directly into your Documents folder, Pictures folder, Music folder of wherever.

Although as a general rule, I'd advise to always save your files onto the Desktop.

That's because it's so easy to find it. And if it's a file that you need to do something with, well it's there, staring at you every time you come onto your computer. Reminding you to look at it.

Once you've done whatever needs to be done, then you can delete it out of the way, or Cut & Paste it into whichever folder it needs to go into.


tick blue

practice is the key.

Practising downloading is the key. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.

As you start a download, you'll come to know exactly what's going to happen.

Next up, we're looking at File Formats.

at home computer extra guides.

why you should use strong passwords.

They're looking for you. They're after your accounts. It's personal.

Hackers and criminals are out there on the 'net. You'd be surprised at how good they are at breaking your passwords.