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How To Turn The Firefox Download Manager Off

written by: Brian Nelson•edited by: Jean Scheid•updated: 10/15/2010

One of the things that makes Firefox great is the ability to add extensions and add-ons that provide functionality that users want. When enough of a user community demands the same idea, features can then be incorporated into Firefox by the developers. Firefox Download Manager is one such feature.

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    Firefox Download Manger Features

    If you want to know how to turn Firefox Download Manager off, this is a very common request among users of the popular Firefox browser.

    The Firefox Download Manger comes enabled by default when Firefox is installed on a computer. Typically, however, the user's configuration settings are retained when the software is upgraded. If the user has turned off the download manager, for example, then the Firefox software update routing usually does not re-enable the built-in downloader. However, there are exceptions, particularly if an add-on has been installed that disabled the download manger in an unusual way, or if the user's method of turning off Firefox's download manager caused a configuration to exist that the updater interprets as corrupted or unstable.

    The default download manager provides several useful features for Firefox users. First, it allows the user to queue up multiple downloads at a time without waiting for each one to finish. Rather, when each download is started, the download location and file are saved into the download manager's list. The user may return immediately to web browsing, and can even start another file download. Download manager keeps track of them all and handles the necessary requests without user intervention.

    In addition to allowing multiple downloads, Firefox download manager's features include the ability to pause and resume downloads. It used to be common that users downloading a large file had to be sure and finish it because there was no way to start a download back at 73 percent, for example. However, download manager for Firefox supports resuming downloads of partially completed files seamlessly.

    The download manager also shows the progress of ongoing downloads so that a user waiting on download knows how long it will take to finish. To make things move faster, particularly on a slower network Internet connection, the user can pause or stop other downloads to keep them from using up bandwidth.

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    Disable Firefox's Download Manager Settings

    firefox-download-manager-turn-off While the default download manager offers many useful features, there are many reasons that a user might want to turn the build-in Firefox download manager off. The most common reason someone wants to disable the default Firefox download manager is that they want to use a different download manager. Some of the most popular Firefox add-ons on are download manager extensions. They offer various features ranging from more control over how downloads are handled, to improving file download speed, to allowing the user to download all of the links on a specific web page with a single click.

    One of the most popular Firefox download extensions is Down Them All, commonly known as DTA. With Down Them All, a user can download all of the pictures on a web page with a single operation instead of having to click on each of them individually. In addition, DTA can follow all, or some, of the links on a page and download what it finds there, a useful feature for users who download lots of files that are linked one at a time from their favorite website or forum.

    Other download managers also allow for resuming partial downloads and many also have features that allow more granular control over file downloads. Many offer faster downloads for Firefox.

    Fortunately, turning the Firefox Download Manger off is relatively simple. Under the Tools -> Options menu, select the General tab. Uncheck the box that says Show the download window when downloading a file. By removing the check on this Firefox setting, the download manager that pops up will no longer show up when a file needs to be downloaded. However, there is a catch. The where to save files setting must be set to always save file to a certain location. Otherwise, the browser must ask where you want the file to be saved. For many users, this is all they really need. They just want to stop Firefox from popping up the download manager window every time they click on a link.

    However, technically, this does not turn off Download Manger. After all, there still must be some way to download files when the appropriate links are clicked. Download manager merely continues to download the files without popping up first.

    In order to disable download manager so that it is not handling your file downloads in the background, you must install an alternative method to download files. As mentioned above, Down The All is a popular Firefox extension that will take over the downloading functionality of the default download manager. Other download managers do the same rendering the standard Firefox download manager moot.

    Screenshot courtesy of author.