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Familiar face
Status: New idea

Please unhide and add it as an option on our main Settings page.

I've noticed for awhile that files I've opened to view were being automatically downloaded into my downloads folder, but I haven't investigated it until now. I found out this goes back to 2022! My downloads folder is cluttered with files I only wanted to view and not save.  On a previous thread on the Mozilla Support forum, I found that a new hidden setting was added so we could change this back to the old behavior of the automatically-downloaded files going to a temporary folder instead of being saved in our downloads folder. We can use about:config to find and toggle it to "true."  (The files are then deleted when we clear our history, which is normally when we close Firefox as long as that is in our settings.)

Instead of our having to dig around on the forum to find how to change the automatic downloads, the setting needs to be added to the Main settings page under "Downloads." Then those of us who wish to "always" be asked where to save files will be able to find this setting and change it to our preference. If I want to download something to keep, I will intentionally save it. If not, I expect anything I read online to remain in a temporary cache folder and be deleted when I clear history (which is when I close Firefox, because that is what is selected in my settings).

Again, please unhide and add it as an option on our main Settings page. Thank you.

Status changed to: New idea
Community Manager
Community Manager

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New member

The new default behaviour is awful -- I've been aware of it for some time, but didn't fully appreciate how much of a mess it made until I had to clean up my downloads directory today. It's a massacre in there; I have to individually preview cryptically named PDFs from a year ago to see if they're things I actually wanted to keep, or random garbage. I regret not investigating how to disable this much earlier.

I specifically choose to open files in Firefox when I *don't* want to save them. The previous temp folder behaviour was the sensible and intuitive way for this to work. The change creates a major usability issue, and it should be a visible user preference, not buried deep in the advanced config. People have been complaining about this since version 98, and the advanced config instructions have already changed at least once. They're not discoverable at all -- you have to be aware of what the problem is in the first place in order to be able to search for the right keywords. When this first started happening I thought that I was misremembering downloading files deliberately because it seems so ridiculous for this to be an intentional feature.