Chrome or Firefox can’t download or save files on your computer

Common issues with downloading files and folders from the Internet is that sometimes, it just doesn’t happen. And depending on your web browser you use, managing your downloads can vary. When a user clicks the link to download a file, it either instantly gets opened for viewing or downloaded to the computer. The file opens for viewing if the browser supports its format. If there’s any problem encountered, the file refuses to open. The troubleshooting steps described in the guide below for Firefox and Chrome browser can come to your rescue.

Chrome browser cannot download or save files

In the Chrome browser, the solutions differ somewhat from the Firefox browser. For example, you’ll need to look at the specific error message and then proceed accordingly. Here are the different error messages alongside with their fixes.

1] NETWORK-FAILED error message 

When you try to install something from the Chrome Web Store and see “NETWORK_FAILED” error, remove the unwanted software. Then, try to install the app, extension, or theme again.

If you still can’t install the app, extension, or theme, uninstall the browser and try reinstalling it.

2] No file or File missing error message

This error indicates that the file you’re trying to download either doesn’t exist on this site or has been moved to another area of the site.

To fix it, contact the website owner, or try to get the same file from a different site.

3] Virus detected or Virus scan failed error message 

The error message itself is self-explanatory. If you have an anti-virus software installed and running then, it might be interfering with the download. As such, check your virus-scanning software for details about why the file was blocked.

The Windows Attachment Manager could have removed the file you tried to download. There are several features of the Attachment Manager that can be configured by using Group Policy or the local registry.

To see what files you can download or why your file was blocked, open ControlPanel > Internet Options > Security tab. Here click the Reset all Zones to default level button, click Apply/OK and exit.

4] Insufficient permissions or System busy error message

If Google Chrome is failing to download any files, giving an insufficient permissions error, it means Chrome couldn’t save the file to your computer. Fortunately, there’s a simple fix.

Cancel the download and try again.

Secondly, rather than clicking the download link, right-click the link and select Save link as.

5] Needs authorization error message

This Needs Authorization error message seen in Chrome means you don’t have permission to download the file.

To solve this issue, contact the website or server owner, or try to find the file on a different site.

Firefox won’t download on my computer

1] Clear the download history

Clearing the download history can fix some problems with downloading files. To try this, click the Downloads button, and then click Show all downloads. The Downloads window will open.

Browser setting

In the Downloads window, click Clear Downloads.

Close the Downloads window.

2] Choose a different download folder

It is found that Firefox sometimes fails to download files if there is a problem with the downloaded files folder. To fix this, click the menu button and choose Options.

Select the General panel. Under the panel, locate ‘Downloads’ section. It should be visible under ‘Files and Applications’.

Now, click the Browse button adjacent to the Save files to entry.

Select a different download folder of your choice for saving files.

Close the about:preferences page to save the changes.

3] Reset the download folder

Open the about:config page in the browser and type the following text in the search field –

Chrome or Firefox can't download or save files on your computer

Now, if you find any of the following settings whose status have been changed,  reset their values. Simply, right-click the setting and select Reset from the context menu:

  • download.dir
  • download.downloadDir
  • download.folderList
  • download.lastDir
  • download.useDownloadDir.

4] Reset download actions for all file types

To reset how all file types are handled by Firefox back to default, you’ll need to open your profile folder. So, go to the Menu and click Help.

Select Troubleshooting Information from the options displayed. The action when confirmed, will open the Troubleshooting Information tab.

Now, under the Application Basics section, click on Open Folder. Your profile folder will open.

Delete or rename the handlers.json file (for example, rename it handlers.json.old ).

Restart Firefox.

If you need more ideas, check this post – Cannot download a file from the Internet.

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Anand Khanse is the Admin of, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.

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