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How To Download From The Internet

At some point, we’ll need or want to download something from the Internet. It could be a picture, a document or folder, or a program or app.

Whatever it happens to be, we’ll look at how to download using Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge and Firefox.

Downloading From The Internet.

When you start a download, maybe by clicking on a download button on a web page, the file begins transferring from the website to your computer.

Your browser doesn’t normally give you much indication that the file is downloading, but it does give you a hint that something is happening.

The way in which it does this is slightly different depending on which browser you’re using.

We’ll look at downloading in the 3 most popular browsers, Google Chrome, MS Edge and Firefox.


File Download In Google Chrome.

In Google Chrome, when you’re download starts, you’ll see a notification box appear in the lower-left corner of the browser window.

The box will stay in place until you close it using the X in the far right-hand corner.

Download finished notification in Chrome.

File Download In MS Edge.

In Microsoft Edge, the download box appears in the upper right of the screen.

It disappears after you click on the screen.

Download in progress notification in Edge.

File Download In Firefox.

If you’re downloading in Firefox, things are just a little different from the other two browsers.

Before the download can begin, you have to accept the file.

Which you do by clicking the SAVE FILE button on the pop-up box.

Save file option in Firefox.

Only after you’ve accepted the file, by clicking the SAVE FILE button, will it begin downloading onto your computer.


And when the download does start, you’ll see a notification box appear in the upper right of your screen.

Downloading notification in Firefox.

The Downloads Folder.

By default, no modern browser asks you where to save any files that you download from the Internet. They automatically store them in the Downloads folder on your computer.

It doesn’t matter to the browser whether the file is a picture, a video or document etc, they all go into the Downloads folder.

On your computer, you can get to the Download folder through File Explorer.

Press the Windows key and the letter E on your keyboard, or click the File Explorer icon on your Taskbar.

In File Explorer, you’ll normally have 3 ways of opening the Downloads folder. It doesn’t matter which one you choose, they all point to the same folder.

Different ways to access the Downloads folder in File Explorer.

We covered File Explorer earlier in the At Home Computer Course, to review that guide click Windows File Explorer .


Once inside your Downloads folder, you should be able to find the file that you’ve just downloaded.

It’s inside the Downloads folder that we run into a problem. Let me explain.

Inside the Downloads folder.

If we take a closer look at some of the files I’ve downloaded.

You’ll see that I’ve got a file called MBSetup.

What is that? The filename doesn’t actually tell you a whole lot.

There’s another file called gu5setup. Again what is it?

Question marks beside files MBSetup & gu5setup in Downloads folder.

Some of you may recognise one or both files for what they are, but it’s the principle that counts. Many files that you download from the Internet don’t have very descriptive names. They don’t really tell you what they are. Filenames can often be a seemingly random string of numbers and letters.

And six months from now, will you be able to remember what each and every file is.


Making Your Browser Ask Where To Save Downloaded Files.

Although all browsers automatically save files to the Downloads folder on your computer, they all have a simple setting that you can turn on that will force them to ask you where to save downloaded files.

After you’ve selected this option, whenever you begin downloading a file (regardless of what the file actually is), your browser will open the Save As window.

Through the Save As window, you can store the file in any folder you choose.

Save As window opens when downloading from the Internet.

But possibly, more importantly, is that you can now re-name the file to anything you want.

gu5setup doesn’t tell you much, but Glary Utilities 5 Setup pretty much says it all.

File Name box marked. Descriptive name for downloaded file entered (Glary Utilities 5 Setup)

If you very rarely download anything from the Internet, then it’s probably just as well allowing your browser to handle everything automatically.

But if you download stuff on a regular basis, or when you do download files, you then have difficulty finding those files, then change the setting in your browser for how it handles downloads.

It’s easy to do, and you can always change it back again if you later decide you don’t like it.


How To Make Chrome Ask Where To Save Downloads.

To make Google Chrome ask where to save downloaded files, open Chrome and then click the Settings icon (3 vertical dots) in the top right-hand corner of the window.

On the menu that opens, click SETTINGS.

Chrome settings icon (3 dots) & Settings option on menu indicated.

On Chromes’ Settings page, scroll down as far as you can go, then click the ADVANCED button.

Advanced button in Chrome settings.

Scroll down a little more, until you reach the Downloads section.

Click the switch to the right of “Ask where to save each file before downloading”.

That’s all there is to it. Close and re-open Chrome and you’re ready to go.

Downloads settings in Chrome.

From this point on, whenever you download a file, Chrome will ask where to save the file and give you the opportunity to re-name it to something more appropriate.


How To Make Microsoft Edge Ask Where To Save Downloads.

To make Microsoft Edge ask where to save downloaded files, open Edge, then click the Settings icon (3 horizontal dots) in the top right-hand corner of the screen.

On the menu that opens, click SETTINGS.

Edge settings icon (3 horizontal dots) and Settings on menu indicated.

On the Edge Settings page, click the More Settings icon (3 horizontal lines).


On the More Settings menu, click DOWNLOADS.

Downloads settings option in Edge.

On the Downloads options page of MS Edge, click the switch to the right of “Ask me what to do with each download”.

Now you’re all done. Close and re-start Edge.

Accessing Firefox settings. 3 Horizontal lines and settings on menu indicated.

From now on, whenever you’re downloading anything in Edge, it’ll ask what you want to do.

Click the SAVE AS button.


Then the Save As window will open allowing you to store the file into the folder of your choice and crucially, you’ll be able to give the file a better filename.


How To Make Firefox Ask Where To Save Downloads.

To make Firefox ask where to save downloaded files, open Firefox, then click the Settings icon (3 horizontal lines) in the top right-hand corner of the screen.

On the menu that opens, click SETTINGS.

Please note that I’m using the most up to date version of Firefox here. On older versions, the SETTINGS option on the menu is called OPTIONS.

So on your computer, if you can’t see SETTINGS on the menu, click OPTIONS instead. It’s the same thing, just a change of wording.


On the Firefox Settings (or options) page, scroll down until you reach the Downloads section.

Click the radio switch beside “Always ask you where to save files”.

Now close and re-open Firefox and you should be good to go.

"Always ask you where to save files" selected in Firefox.

From now on, when you download a file, the usual Firefox confirmation popup will appear.

Click the SAVE FILE button just as you normally would.


But now, instead of just going ahead and downloading your file, Firefox will open the Save As window.

You can choose where to save the file and re-name it to something that better describes what the file actually is.


Downloading From The Internet – Summary.

Downloading files from the Internet isn’t difficult, but finding those files later can be a challenge.

Modern browsers don’t give you much indication that your download has started or finished or was in any way successful.

But by changing a simple setting within the browser, you get full control of where the file is downloaded to and exactly what the filename is going to be.

As a general rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to save everything that you download onto your Desktop. Then deal with whatever it is from there.

Once you’ve finished with the file, either delete it or Cut & Paste it into whichever folder it needs to go into.

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