Fix Firefox unable to download or save file problem

I was facing an issue in which I was unable to download any file through firefox. I couldn’t even save an opened page. I did some google search and found some good information on the subject. I would like to aggragate various cases and different methods here in this single article.

Cause of the problem

For some reason the download list of the firefox might get corrupted. Mine happened because I restored my firefox profile backup recently.

Fix unable to download problem

If a method doesn’t work for you, then try the next one.

Method # 1 (Clearing Download history)

Clearing the downloads history can fix some problems with downloading files:


  1. On the menu bar, click on the Tools menu and then select Downloads.
  2. In the Downloads window, click Clear List.

Method # 2 (Downloads.rdf file)

What I found was that the downloads.rdf file has been corrupted and if we delete this file when firefox is not running, then the firefox will recreate it but I wasn’t able to find it under my firefox profile.

Method # 3 (Changing Download location)

Firefox may not be able to download files if there is a problem with the folder in which downloaded files are saved:


  1. At the top of the Firefox window, click on the Tools menu, and select Options.
  2. Select General panel (Main panel in Firefox 3.5).
  3. In the Downloads section, select Save files to.
  4. To select a download location, click Browse and  Choose a different folder to try saving files.
  5. Click OK to close the Options window

Method # 4 (Resetting download folder)

If you have tried the above suggestions, you can restore the default Firefox download folder settings:

  1. In the Location bar, type about:config and press Enter
    • The about:config “This might void your warranty!” warning page may appear. Click I’ll be careful, I promise!, to continue to the about:config page.
  2. In the Filter field, enter
  3. If any of the following settings have a status of user set, reset their values. To reset a value, right-clickhold down the Ctrl key while you click the setting and select Reset from the context menu:
  4. If desired, you can revert back to your preferred download folder settings by changing your Firefox settings.

Only Certain file types won’t download

If only certain file types are not downloading, check to make sure Firefox is not set to handle those file types differently from others.

Reset download actions for all file types

  1. Quit firefox.
  2. Open profile folder (Eg: C:\Users\Ashfame\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\q21hgtwk.default\) and look for mimeTypes.rdf file.
  3. Rename it to mimeTypes.rdf.old.
  4. Restart firefox and a new file will be created again.

If your problem is not resolved till now, then other things might be interfering like download manager plugins, Internet security software, disable virus scanning & bypass Windows Security Policy check. If you still have the problem then I would suggest trying these methods too from this page from where this post has largely been quoted.

Let me know if you need any kind of help.


7 responses to “Fix Firefox unable to download or save file problem”

  1. cody gaulke Avatar
    cody gaulke

    when i get done downloading stuff, it wont let me open it.

    1. can you please describe more?

  2. great walk trhough…
    but i always wonder what really happened with all those failed download files?
    where them go?

    1. I guess Firefox must have some procedure to handle incomplete downloaded files :/

  3. taloo Avatar

    all of the above doesnt work, th eonly way it work for me
    is the solution that on the firefox website.

    1. Cases may vary.

  4. taloo Avatar

    forgot to mention, i use windows 7.
    and solution is on firefox website.
    its issue with the browser, i thought
    windows 7 is sucks, untill i see and
    solution that it is firefox that is.