How to Change the File Download Location in Your Browser

Where'd that file download to?

Man on laptop using Google next to mobile and landline phones

 Benjamin Dada / Unsplash

There are many ways to download files onto our computers, such as through a cloud storage service like Dropbox or directly from someone's server via FTP. Even with all of these methods available, the majority of everyday downloads take place right within the web browser.

When a download is initiated in your browser, the requested file(s) are typically placed in a pre-defined default location on your hard drive once the transfer is completed.

This might be your operating system's Downloads folder, the desktop or somewhere else altogether. Each browser offers the ability to modify this setting, letting you specify the exact destination for all of your downloaded files. Below are the steps to take in order to modify the download location in several popular browsers.

Instructions in this article apply to Chrome OS, Linux, Mac OS X or Windows operating systems running Google Chrome 76, Mozilla Firefox 68, Microsoft Edge on Windows 10, Opera, Internet Explorer 11, Safari OS X, and Vivaldi 2.6.

Google Chrome

Chrome provides an option in the settings menu to change the default download location.

  1. Select the Chrome menu button, depicted with three horizontal lines and located in the upper right-hand corner of the browser window.

    Screenshot of Chrome menu
  2. When the drop-down menu appears, select Settings. Chrome's Settings interface should now be displayed in a new tab or window.

    You can also access this interface by entering the following text in the browser's address bar: chrome://settings.

  3. Scroll to the bottom of the screen and select Advanced.

    Screenshot of Advanced in Chrome settings
  4. Scroll down again until you locate the Downloads section.

    Screenshot of Downloads in Chrome settings
  5. The current location where downloaded files are saved should be displayed, along with a button labeled Change. To modify Chrome's download location, select this button and choose the desired landing spot.

  6. Also found in the Downloads section is an option labeled Ask where to save each file before downloading, accompanied by a checkbox. Disabled by default, this setting instructs Chrome to prompt you for a location each time a download starts through the browser.

Mozilla Firefox

The settings to change where downloads are saved is hidden away behind the about: URL protocol in Firefox.

  1. Type the following text in Firefox's address bar and hit the Enter key: about:preferences.

    Screenshot of about:preferences in Firefox
  2. The browser's General Preferences should now be displayed in the active tab. Locate the Downloads section, containing the following two options accompanied by radio buttons.

    Screenshot of Downloads in Firefox settings
  3. Save files to: Enabled by default, this option instructs Firefox to save all files downloaded through the browser to a designated location on your hard drive or external device. To modify this location, select the Browse button and choose the desired drive and folder.

  4. Always ask me where to save files: When enabled, Firefox will ask you to provide a download location each time a file transfer is initiated.

Microsoft Edge

To change the download location for MS Edge, you need to go into Window's settings.

  1. Launch File Explorer. There are a number of ways to do this, but the simplest is to enter File Explorer in the Windows Search box (located in the bottom left-hand corner of the taskbar). When the results appear, select File Explorer: Desktop app, found in the Best Match section.

    Screenshot of File Explorer in Start search results
  2. Right-click on the Downloads folder within File Explorer, located in the left menu pane and accompanied by a blue down arrow icon.

    Screenshot of right-click menu for Downloads folder
  3. When the context menu appears, select Properties.

  4. The Downloads Properties dialog should now be displayed, overlaying your other active windows. Select the Location tab.

    Screenshot of Location tab on Downloads Properties
  5. The current download destination path for all files transferred through the Edge browser should be shown here, along with the following three buttons.

  6. Restore Default: Sets the download location to its default destination, typically the Downloads folder for the active Windows user.

  7. Move: Prompts you to select a new download destination.

  8. Find Target: Displays the current download location folder within a new File Explorer window.

  9. Once you are satisfied with your new download location, select the Apply button.

  10. Select the OK button.

Opera

Access the hidden settings menu in Opera to change the location where downloads are saved.

  1. Type the following text into Opera's address bar and hit the Enter key: opera://settings.

  2. Opera's Settings/Preferences interface should now be displayed in a new tab or window. Select Basic, located in the left menu pane, if it is not already selected.

  3. Locate the Downloads section, positioned near the top of the page. The current path where file downloads are stored should be visible, along with a button labeled Change. To modify this path, select the Change button and select a new destination.

  4. The Downloads section also contains an option labeled Ask where to save each file before downloading. Accompanied by a checkbox and inactive by default, this setting causes Opera to ask you for a specific location each time a download takes place.

Internet Explorer 11

The settings for Internet Explorer are easy to access and change.

  1. Select the Tools menu, depicted by a gear icon and located in the upper right-hand corner of your browser window.

  2. When the drop-down menu appears, select View downloads. You can also use the following keyboard shortcut: CTRL + J.

  3. IE11's View Downloads dialog should now be visible, overlaying your browser window. Select the Options link, located in the lower left-hand corner of this window.

  4. The Download Options window should now be visible, displaying the browser's current destination path for all file downloads. To modify this location, select the Browse button and select your desired drive and folder.

  5. Once you are satisfied with your new settings, select the OK button to return to your browsing session.

Safari (OS X Only)

Accessing the Preferences menu for Safari will allow you to change the file download location.

  1. Select Safari in the browser menu, located at the top of your screen.

  2. When the drop-down menu appears, select the Preferences option. You can also use the following keyboard shortcut: COMMAND + COMMA(,)

  3. Safari's Preferences dialog should now be visible, overlaying your browser window. Select the General tab, if it is not already selected.

  4. Towards the bottom of the window is an option labeled File download location, which displays Safari's current file destination. To modify this setting, select the menu accompanying this option.

  5. When the drop-down menu appears, select Other.

  6. Traverse to the drive and folder that you desire and choose the Select button.

Vivaldi

Quickly change the file download location for Vivaldi.

  1. Select the ​Vivaldi menu button, depicted by a white 'V' on a red background and located in the upper left-hand corner of your browser window.

  2. When the drop-down menu appears, hover your mouse cursor over the Tools option.

  3. When the sub-menu appears, select Settings.

  4. Vivaldi's Settings interface should now be displayed, overlaying your browser window. Select the Downloads option, located in the left menu pane.

  5. The current path where Vivaldi stores file downloads should now be displayed, labeled Download Location. To modify this setting, enter a new path in the edit field provided.

  6. Once you are satisfied with your settings, select the x in the upper right-hand corner of the window to return to your browsing session.