Home » Free Computer Course. » How to Download

how to download from the internet.

At Home Computer.co.uk - icon

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, utilities bill, flight tickets etc. Or how about pictures of your grand child, 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.

Table of Contents
    Add a header to begin generating the table of contents

    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?

    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.

    Download.

    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.

    wait a minute, what's a web browser?

    Your right of course, I'm getting ahead of myself. Some of you will already know, but maybe not everyone.

    A web browser is a program that you use to access the Internet. To go onto the Internet.

    Your using one right now to view this web page.

    There are many web browsers. Hundreds, maybe more.

    And I can't cover them all.

    All I can do is to concentrate on the big three.

    Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.

    The chances are very good that your using one of these 3 browsers right now.

    edge, chrome and firefox.

    to continue...

    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 safe keeping.

    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.

    Advertisement

    how to download to your desktop.

    How we're going to download onto the desktop will depend on which web browser your using.

    There are slight differences between them. But we'll go through all 3, one by one.

    For Microsoft Edge, it's a simple change in how you start the download.

    For Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox we'll need to change a setting within those programs. It's easy to do and I'll walk you through it.

    Watch the video below for the web browser that your using.

    Or watch all three.

    microsoft edge logo

    If your using Microsoft Edge, then you only need to change the way you start a download.

    Here's a quick video to show how to do it.

    downloading to the desktop in microsoft edge.

    google chrome logo

    Are you using Google Chrome?

    If so you'll want to make a quick change to your settings.

    Follow the easy steps in the video.

    It's only 4 or 5 clicks of the mouse.

    change chrome's settings.

    mozilla firefox logo.

    And finally for Firefox users.

    You'll also need to make a little change in your settings.

    Again just a couple of clicks.

    change firefox's settings.

    Making these small changes will force your web browser to ask you what you want to name the file and where you want to save it to.

    Your browser will do this by opening the SAVE AS window. 

    Which is exactly what we want it to do.

    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.

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

    Advertisement

    how about an example.

    As an example of how to download now that we've made our changes, I'll download something in all 3 browsers (Edge, Firefox & Chrome) at the same time.

    This way we can do a comparison of how downloading works in the 3 browsers.

    I'll download the Avast installer.

    Now once I get to the SAVE AS window in each browser, it'll just be the same.

    Follow along with whichever browser you normally use.

    microsoft edge logo

    Downloading Avast with MS Edge.

    mozilla firefox logo.

    Downloading Avast with Mozilla Firefox.

    google chrome logo

    Downloading Avast with Google Chrome.

    So I'll start on the download page for Avast with all 3 browsers, and you can see it's exactly the same.

    The only thing for me to do is click the big orange download button in all 3 browsers.

    After clicking the download button, the browsers behave slightly differently from each other.

    microsoft edge logo
    click save as.

    Microsoft Edge : On the bar at the bottom of the screen, I click the small arrowhead and then click SAVE AS.

    mozilla firefox logo.
    click save file.

    Firefox : a pop up window opens, I'll click SAVE FILE.

    google chrome logo
    the save as window.

    Chrome : Goes straight to the SAVE AS window.

    In Edge, when I click Save As on the download bar at the bottom of the screen, the SAVE AS window will appear.

    In Firefox, when I click Save File in the scary looking box, the SAVE AS window will appear.

    In Chrome, I'm already at the SAVE AS window. No messing about.

    This is what it's all about. The SAVE AS window.

    It's what we're trying to get all 3 browsers to do.

    To open the SAVE AS window, so that we can give the file a descriptive name, so we know what it is, and then we can choose where to save the file.

    Normally, I'd suggest dropping it onto the Desktop, so you know where it is.

    the save as window.

    Advertisement

    downloading in your browser.

    As ever, here At Home Computer, we don't just talk about it, we get stuck in and have a go.

    Download the picture of the squirrel.

    Follow the steps for your browser. We'll all get together again once we get to the Save As window.

    how to download using edge.

    Are you using Edge? If you are, keep reading, this is for you.

    If your using Firefox or Chrome, scroll down the page a little.

    Microsoft Edge.

    OK, here's what I want you to do.

    Click the Download button beneath the picture of the squirrel to start the download.

    download the sqirrel.

    When you click the button, Edge will open the Downloads options Bar at the bottom of the screen.

    Click the small arrowhead, and then click SAVE AS.

    click the arrow, then save as.

    The SAVE AS window will open.

    Here we can give the file a name & choose where to save it. It's exactly the same as saving a file in Notepad.

    Change the file name to Squirrel.

    Then click Desktop on the left hand pane.

    And then click the SAVE button.

    downloading the sqirrel.

    When downloading with MS Edge, you have to remember to click the small arrowhead beside the word SAVE.

    Then click SAVE AS and your home and dry.

    how to download using firefox.

    Are you using Firefox? If so, this is for you.

    If your using Chrome, scroll down a little more.

    Firefox.

    OK, here's what I want you to do.

    Click the Download button beneath the picture of the squirrel to start the download.

    download the sqirrel.

    When you click the Download button, Firefox will pop up a window.

    The window is simply asking what you'd like to do.

    Click SAVE FILE.

    Then click the OK button.

    click save file, then click OK.

    The SAVE AS window will open.

    Here we can give the file a name & choose where to save it. It's exactly the same as saving a file in Notepad.

    Change the file name to Squirrel.

    Then click Desktop on the left hand pane.

    And then click the SAVE button.

    call it squirrel.

    Advertisement

    When your trying to download a file in Firefox, it'll show this pop up window.

    And it can look a little daunting when you first see it.

    The trick is to read it, think about what your trying to do, then make your choice.

    In our case, we were trying to download the file, so it's obvious what we need to do.

    scary, not really.

    Firefox does have a habit of throwing up windows like this, that for the novice user, are very intimidating.

    The thing is to be confident in what your doing. 

    how to download using Chrome.

    Are you using Chrome? If so, keep reading, this is for you.

    Chrome.

    OK, here's what I want you to do.

    Click the Download button beneath the picture of the squirrel to start the download.

    download the sqirrel.

    When you click the Download button in Chrome, there aren't any extra steps to go through, as with Edge & Firefox.

    Chrome goes directly to the SAVE AS window.

    Here we can give the file a name & choose where to save it. It's exactly the same as saving a file in Notepad.

    Change the file name to Squirrel.

    Then click Desktop on the left hand pane.

    And then click the SAVE button.

    name it squirrel.

    did you get the file?

    We're all back together again now. This part is the same regardless of which browser you've used.

    When the file has downloaded (it'll only take a few seconds), go to your Desktop and you'll see it.

    It's a zipped file. It's called Squirrel.

    We'll look at zipped files in a later guide, but for now, you can open the file by double left clicking the folder and then double left clicking the file inside.

    here it is.

    Advertisement

    how to download without a download button.

    Downloading without an actual button to click on generally applies to pictures. It doesn't have to be pictures, but for us, it generally is.

    Images on websites don't normally offer a dedicated download button, like I did with the squirrel example above, but you can still save those pictures to your computer.

    It's only a couple of clicks.

    We'll look at how you do it in each of the 3 browsers.

    microsoft edge logo

    If your using Edge -

    • Right click on the picture.
    • Left click SAVE PICTURE AS.

    The Save As window will open. You can rename the picture if you want to, and then choose where to save it to (such as the Desktop).

    mozilla firefox logo.

    If your using Firefox -

    • Right click on the picture.
    • Left click SAVE IMAGE AS.

    The Save As window will open. You can rename the picture if you want to, and then choose where to save it to (such as the Desktop).

    google chrome logo

    If your using Chrome -

    • Right click on the picture.
    • Left click SAVE IMAGE AS.

    The Save As window will open. You can rename the picture if you want to, and then choose where to save it to (such as the Desktop).

    download the image.

    Try downloading the image for yourself.

    Right click on it, and then left click either -

    SAVE PICTURE AS

    or

    SAVE IMAGE AS

    Depending on what option you have have in your browser.

    try downloading this picture.

    The video walks through saving the image in all 3 browsers.

    Starting with Edge, then Firefox and finally Chrome.

    Do have a go.

    downloading the image.

    Advertisement

    we're really moving now.

    We can download. We can download & not lose anything. Brill.

    "Browsers set to download, Kirk out".

    At Home Computer.co.uk - icon