Saturday, August 19, 2006


How to prevent files from being opened automatically in Internet Explorer

A reader asked me how to force Internet Explorer to display the file download dialog. The how to force the download dialog box to appear post explains how to do it on the server side but the reader wanted to change the behavior of Internet Explorer.

Adobe Acrobat is one program that opens its files inside Internet Explorer by default and I don't like it either. It is a frequent cause of crashes in Internet Explorer and the PDFs ends up in the temp directory. Some programs, like Adobe Acrobat, turn on this behavior by default, other times the user clicks the "Always ask before opening this type of file" check box by mistake.

These are the steps to change the behavior of Internet Explorer so it always opens the File download dialog (on Windows 2003):

  • Double-click My Computer.

  • On the Tools menu, click Folder Options.

  • On the File Types tab, click the appropriate file type in the Registered File Types box.  (PDF for example)

  • Click Advanced.

  • Click to select the Confirm Open After Download check box. 

  • Click OK, and then click Close.

More details and instructions for other versions of Windows in this Knowledge Base article

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