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How-To Change The Default Internet Explorer 9 Download Folder

IE9 LogoIn Internet Explorer 9, Microsoft has learned a thing or two from Firefox and made it so all of your downloads go to one location.  The default folder is called Downloads in your windows user profile path and that isn’t a bad spot for it.  But, some people prefer a different spot – how do we change it?  Microsoft didn’t make it obvious, but there is an option hidden in the menu bar of IE9.  I’ll show you where and what to do in this groovy How-To.

Step 1

In Internet Explorer 9, Click the gear icon to access the menu then Select View Downloads.

ie9 view downloads

Step 2

At the top middle of the new window that appears, Click Options.

view and track downloads ie9

Step 3

The download options dialog should now pop-up.  Click Browse.

notify when dowlnloads are complete ie9

Step 4

Select any folder anywhere on your computer, the one you choose will be where all of your downloads from Internet Explorer 9 will go.  To lock in the selection, Click Select Folder.

Be sure to Click OK dialog box from Step 4 to save changes.

ie9 default download location


Now your Internet Explorer 9 default download folder is exactly where you wan it!  If you’re an old-school computer geek then it is likely set to your desktop.  But, for work-related projects you can even set downloads to go directly to your Dropbox or a USB thumb drive.  Groovy!

What is your favorite download location for your internet browsers?  Let us know in the comments below, especially if you have any groovy tricks or tips on this subject.

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79 Responses to How-To Change The Default Internet Explorer 9 Download Folder

  1. limerockcodger September 30, 2010 at 10:52 am #

    Download location?? Desktop (…didn’t realize that branded me an “old-school computer geek”. Cool. I can live with that. I am certainly an “elder geek”. )

    My Firefox is set to give me the option to choose directory for each download

    • MrGroove September 30, 2010 at 7:10 pm #

      I’m with ya on that one “Elder Geek Dude”. Call me old school but I have both Firefox and Chrome both set to ASK me where I want to save files each time I download something. Personally, I do this cause I like to keep thing nice and tiddy when downloading something. Normally I create a sub-folder and file it into the right spot rather than creating a giant bucket of files which I have no idea are from the sometimes cryptic names….

      So yeah, good call.

    • Patferr May 26, 2011 at 8:17 am #

      I also agree. I prefer for it to ask me where I want my download to go. Sometimes, it’s nice to have stuff go to the download directory, but I usually just put it on my desktop first, then move it where I want it to go after using it or whatever I do with it. I changed mine to desktop and like you, if that makes me an “Old school Geek”, so be it. GROOVY eh?

  2. David November 24, 2010 at 6:47 am #

    If can set default directory for different things we download like Jpeg go to picture folder, mpeg go to video folder and all other go to download folder then IE 9 will be perfect.

    • Anna Nomus May 14, 2013 at 7:10 am #

      I just want to be able to tell it where to go each time! Sheesh! Is that too much to ask??

  3. Mark February 9, 2011 at 12:37 am #

    Thanks for the write-up.
    I can’t tell you how much I wish they would add an “ask where to download” feature. My downloads folder is split into eight or nine sub-folders… it will be a pain to have to manually move stuff around every time I download something.

    • MrGroove February 9, 2011 at 5:12 am #

      I feel your pain. Even with Windows 7 I sometimes feel like things are downloaded to several different folders across my system so yeah, being able to choose where they go is nice.

  4. TJ March 14, 2011 at 1:30 pm #

    I hate that IE9 does NOT have the option to ask where you download stuff to.
    At work, most of the time I end up downloading it to the desktop for work anyway, but there are enough times where I want it to go elsewhere. On my home computer, I change the download location all the time (torrents go here, this picture goes there, that picture goes here, this movie goes there).

    Plus, I feel that the asking where it downloads to window is a security feature. More than a few times I’ve had a website try to download something to my computer that I never wanted (can anyone say “virus”?), and hitting “cancel” kept that download from starting.

    Yet one more “feature” of IE9 that makes me strongly dislike it as a browser. I think MS learned the wrong lesson!

    • Jim Robertson March 21, 2012 at 8:18 pm #

      I also like to select the folder for each download. One of my 5 computers has to have IE as default as it runs Quicken. Quicken must have IE as default. The other 4 computers all have Firefox as default. I detest IE and Windows. But MS has a monopoly so no motivation to improve. Where are the Trust Busters when we need them.

  5. An Evil Penguin March 14, 2011 at 4:01 pm #

    I thought that they had removed the specific download location option as well, but it looks like it is still there (though fairly unintuitive). When you go to download something the download bar at the bottom has a save button with a drop down menu with the traditional ‘Save As’ option. Save target as is also still an option in the right click menu if you want to go straight to it. Other than this and the menus moving around again. I’m fairly impressed with IE9. The pages seem to fly onto the screen for me and I quite like the interface. I’m still not completely sold on it, but I’ve been getting more and more frustrated with how bulky and clunky Firefox 3 has become and I’ve never liked the chrome interface (i can see why people do like it though). I think IE9 will probably tide me over nicely until Firefox 4 comes out of beta.

    • TJ March 15, 2011 at 7:04 am #

      Firefox 4, like IE9, is in RC now. I expect it will be released very soon. I have installed RC for Firefox 4, since I got tired of waiting and tired of using Firefox 3.
      So far, I am very impressed with Firefox 4, and remain unimpressed by IE9.

      But nice to know that “Save As” option is there, even if it is unintuitive and not particularly user friendly!

      • Frederic Lalonde March 17, 2011 at 7:48 am #

        Since we are a company that manage corporate network, we never want people to put stuff in their profile (downloads) or on the desktop or my documents, nor anywhere else in the roaming profile. We always set that to c:\dl (stands for download). Easy to clean this folder for anywone and since it’s not connected to the profile, we don’t care if the hard drive fails, they should have nothing important there, it’s a business computer!

      • TL March 22, 2011 at 8:01 pm #

        I’m in agreement with the unfriendlly aspect. I’m an old school keyboard guy. I hate using the mouse and IE9 became more mouse eccentric with this new change to the Save As… utility.

    • Juliebean March 29, 2012 at 10:49 am #

      Thanks for the save as idea. That gives me the option to at least save where I want. When downloading large system or software updates, it was a pain to save locally then have to copy it over and then clean up the local. I don’t like browsing to internet from server, so this save as saves me time. Thanks!! 🙂

  6. Christian March 26, 2011 at 5:34 am #

    Please pardon my words, but again this decision by Microsoft is STUPID. I hate it. Why do they offend hundreds of millions users with EXPERIENCE? User who are NOT stupid. Users who want to CHOOSE things easily. There are so many naive reviews out there how ‘fast’ IE9 is. Now think about it: if power users loose much time during every download, this costs much more time than the gain of some milliseconds of faster browsing time provides. I myself, for example, use to download daily dozens of files, sometimes hundreds, which have to be stored immediately in hundreds of different folders. This is because I am no beginner. I KNOW where my files are. I LIKE to choose. Apparently Microsoft ignores users with experience. During the last 20 years, there were so many annoying features. It takes so much time to change, modify, deactivate all the settings in Microsoft Software which usually is addressed to beginners. That’s why I personnally HATE Microsoft, really. I hate that. Hate it. Every single day. What a stupid, unneccessary choice, what arrogance. Hate it.

    • Costa June 7, 2011 at 2:30 pm #

      I don’t hate. Simply because it is not good for my health and peace. After that, I fully agree with your opinion. Great!
      It is completely stupid. They themselves at Microsoft don’t learn, use and keep the good things that they develop.

  7. Linda Lee March 30, 2011 at 12:22 pm #

    I hate that IE9 does NOT have the option to ask where you download stuff to.
    I am a web designer and I have tons of files that need to go to different clients folders.
    I cannot use IE9 because this is a total time suck to move files into the proper location.
    What a stupid thing not to offer!

    • Linda Lee March 30, 2011 at 12:27 pm #

      IE9-update: I discovered you can select from “save as” on the yellow and white bar tht opens on the bottom of the screen, (at least on my version it does), and then it will let you find the folder or location you want to save in. You still have one more step then I would like, but I am glad I found this out. Hope this helps.

      • Costa June 7, 2011 at 2:35 pm #

        Thanks Linda. Good catch!

  8. Michael April 1, 2011 at 12:50 am #

    The feature of asking where to save each time would have definitely been a better option for the so called geeky or old school users who actually take the pain to keep their folders and system organized. At least in IE8 you had the option of going into Tools > Internet Options > Security Tab > Select Custom Level > Scroll Down to Downloads > Select Enable radio button under Automatic prompting for file downloads. This I don’t find in IE9 : (

    The thing is I don’t understand the big deal made about removing the lines for menu, etc. because instead of things being readily available, you again need to be searching for the options and wasting time each time you want to do something! The option for browser bar to be set horizontally is okay in some, but then why keep fiddling around with what is already not an issue. Just because others jump in the well it isn’t a necessity that others do so or be forced to all in the name of competitive marketing. Not practical. Sometimes what is good, is BETTER when left alone!

    • Desmond April 26, 2012 at 5:00 am #

      When I do this there is no options to the left of the search box. Needs updating this.

  9. Deb April 2, 2011 at 6:51 am #

    I am experiencing problems with duplicate downloads since I installed the new version. I download embroidery files. I used to get a notification that the file was there, do I want to overwrite. Now it is saving the file with a [1] behind the name. Is there a way to prevent duplicate downloads?

    • Michael April 14, 2011 at 11:14 am #

      @Deb: When you download just click download once and it will go into the default location, if not use the save as and if the file names of two different files/objects are the same, just rename the files with say for eg, you mentioned embroidery. Make a folder with Embroidery Designs and Inside it, if it is Flowers that you are downloading, use file name Flower Design 1, Flower Design 2, etc. Also ensure that it is a different file you are downloading though it contains the same name.

      To check for duplicates these are two basic methods I usually follow. In the Explorer window, Under Folder view, Click Details. On the top tab, click File Size, so that everything is arranged either in ascending or descending order(if you want to search only a particular file type u can click the “Type” tab that will list according to doc, jpg, etc. Two files of the same file size can be checked if same or different by seeing(or noting down if overcautious) the file names and selecting thumbnail view. If the files are same you will know. Also when you select a file under details in the left hand corner you can see a preview of each file so it can be checked there too if you have quite a good memory ; ) Hope this helps!

  10. swiss420 April 11, 2011 at 5:25 am #

    IE9 looks nice but the download options are horrible. I have way too many files to drop everything in one Directory. Hope Microsoft gets a hint and adds a Save As Option for advanced users. Even better have a another Option to set download locations based on customizable rules. Anyway dreams die last. Thanks for your Post.

  11. swiss420 April 11, 2011 at 8:51 am #

    @RogueODST how about you worry about your own stuff. No need to tell me what to do. I read all posts carefully maybe you should do the same thing! Save As ist still not a option in IE9 so please dont tell people not to post when you are posting yourself something that is not necessary.

  12. swiss420 April 11, 2011 at 9:02 am #


    Sorry for that you are right in the middle of the comment it says it is still there. “When you go to download something the download bar at the bottom has a save button with a drop down menu with the traditional ‘Save As’ option. Save target as is also still an option in the right click menu if you want to go straight to it.”

    I did miss that even though I thought I read everything. Its preaty well hidden and IE9 is new enough that it was honest misstake. No need to attack people none the less.

    • RogueODST April 12, 2011 at 3:14 am #

      I’m sorry, was in a pretty bad mood yesterday, but even still I shouldn’t have jumped on you like that.

  13. zaasmi April 12, 2011 at 6:37 am #

    How-To Change The Default Internet Explorer 9 Download option
    Ask where to save each file before downloading

  14. Andrew Graeme Gould April 14, 2011 at 9:22 am #

    Thanks for the tip. I’ve now set it to a “Downloaded” folder I already have on my desktop for Firefox downloads, with the latter browser being my default one. I’ve always used the desktop, so that I won’t forget what I have downloaded, and will be then sure to move whatever is worth keeping to folders on my external drive (with backup, of course). And by the way, why don’t I use IE 9 as my main browser? Simply because as a photographer (with a colour managed monitor), I normally need to use a colour aware browser. Oh when will they come to the party…

  15. Michael April 14, 2011 at 10:57 am #

    Just a thought. I normally follow the practice of making partitions either 3 or 4 max depending on Size and speed of Hard Disk. The system partition is separate and I never save anything on the desktop or in default locations. My partitions will be First System, the next partition for Setups Docs Pics, and the third partition for Movies Music and Downloads with each program downloads under separate folders. That’s why I prefer the asking location to save each time and I name the file with the date and file version(in case of a program setup file so that it can be checked the next time you want to check an update and know which version you have) because everything can be organized. Maybe for one or two downloads a single default folder will seem okay at the beginning, but once there are like 400+ files of music, images, docs, etc all mixed and jumbled up in a single folder, it gives the chance that you just might overlook what your looking for later on or either might forget what file it was.

    The reason I do this is in case the System partition gets damaged, there is a chance that a bootable CD can be used to save the files present on the other partitions[pertaining they(the partitions) are still alive] and there is also no pain or fear in reinstalling/repairing the OS for fear of losing your data because it is only the System partition that will be changed when doing so and the rest will be intact. The other thing is Make a system backup image on either a high capacity USB pen drive or if image size is too large use an external hard disk so that when there is any problem stuff can easily be restored to normal and you really don’t have to tear your hair out when anything happens out of the blue! Hope this helps! ; ) Take Care

  16. t1m1976 April 24, 2011 at 11:01 am #

    Microsoft is the bane of computers.

  17. Dr David E Bevan April 25, 2011 at 6:04 pm #

    All very nice — but it doesn’t work! Whenever I select a default folder, nothing changes.

  18. Jeff April 30, 2011 at 10:54 am #

    I do not like this new download feature of Internet Explorer 9. I have my own organized way of saving what I download. I can see how it would be helpful for people who end up with disorganized download all over the place.

    I do use Chrome and have set it up to ask me where I want to download my files. Chrome is faster than Internet Explorer 8. I’m not sure about Internet Explorer 9.

    Chrome allows you to configure it to ask where to download your file. I can’t imagine why Microsoft didn’t include such a feature in Internet Explorer 9.

  19. Wolfman May 3, 2011 at 10:36 am #

    actually you can choose where to save each file when the internet explorer popup comes up at the bottom of the screen you can choose save as from the save button dropdown

  20. Ocean May 7, 2011 at 9:41 am #

    Thank U… You solved my problem…

  21. Old school May 10, 2011 at 11:40 pm #

    I like the old pop up way than this bottom screen … I was visiting one site that has ads, and the save dialog also at the same place. If you click wrongly, then u know what will happen.

    I hope MSFT considers the old way of showing dialogs and with the new options in the center of screen rather at the bottom.

    Thanks for reading!

  22. Jeff May 12, 2011 at 9:53 am #

    Right now, I like that Chrome is handling this much better than IE9. In Chrome you can change your settings to have the browser ask you where to save each download. I save my downlo

    I find that I’m using Chrome more and more.

    There are still lots of plugins that work on IE that don’t work on Chrome, so I doubt that I’ll quite using IE9 altogether.

    Maybe Micrsoft will wise up and start leaving options for us to use IE9 the way we want to instead of trying to force us down a “New” path.

    • MrGroove May 12, 2011 at 3:53 pm #

      Hi Jeff – yeah I agree. Plus, Chrome seems to have filled a void so I’ve become really used to using it (kinda like Google). Even if BING or IE9 for that matter are just as good as Google/Chrome, I still find myself launching Chrome just out of habit…

  23. John May 30, 2011 at 9:09 am #

    What I find easiest is to not left click the download link, but right click it and choose Save Target As. It is the fewest clicks and lets you put things where you want them, named the way you want them named. I have set up a default download folder, though, for when I don’t actually care where things go – d:\dl. Usually, those are things I don’t keep long term.

    The only difference between this and older versions is to remember to right click instead of left click.

  24. Peb June 2, 2011 at 7:56 am #

    Well done MS, As usuall gone and screwed up again. Firefox here i come!

  25. cam June 30, 2011 at 2:15 pm #

    I want to be able to choose on each download where to put the files. I do not want everything dumped in one directory. One more reason not to use internet explorer.

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