Downloading with Internet Explorer 9: frequently asked questions

Here are answers to some common questions about downloading files from the Internet.

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What is downloading?

When you download a file—such as a program, update, game, video, or document—you transfer it from the Internet to your computer.

What are the risks when downloading files?

There is always a small risk that a downloaded file will contain a virus or malware (malicious software) that can damage your computer. Here are some precautions you can take:

  • Install and use an antivirus program. Antivirus programs scan files before opening them and notify you if a file is potentially unsafe.

  • Only download files from websites that you trust. For more information, see When to trust a website.

  • If a file contains a digital signature, Internet Explorer 9 will let you know if the signature is valid. If it's not, don't open the file. To see the digital signature, click the publisher link in the security dialog box that Windows Internet Explorer 9 displays when you first download the file. The digital signature information tells you whether the file is valid or not.

  • Certain file types, such as program files with file name extensions including .exe, .scr, .bat, .com, or .pif, are less safe because they can carry viruses. A potentially dangerous file can be disguised as a less risky file type by including two file extensions, such as filename.txt.exe. This example might look like a text file because of the .txt file name extension, but it's actually an executable file.

Where are downloaded files saved?

When you download files using Download Manager, they're automatically saved in the Downloads folder. This folder is usually located on the drive where Windows is installed (for example, C:\users\your name\downloads). For information about managing your downloads and changing where they are saved, see Using Download Manager in Internet Explorer

If you're saving a file, you can choose to save it to a particular folder. If you don't select a folder yourself, some files are automatically saved to a folder associated with the file type. For example, if you right-click a picture on a webpage, and then choose Save Picture As, it will be saved to the Pictures folder.

Why can't I open some files (such as PDF documents) in Internet Explorer 9?

Internet Explorer 9 uses add-ons (such as the Adobe Reader) to view some files in the browser. You might have an older version of the add-on that needs to be updated to work with Internet Explorer 9. Go to the add-on's website to download an update.

Why does it take so long to download a file?

  • Your connection might be slow. If you have a dial-up connection, it takes a lot longer to download files than if you have a broadband connection, such as DSL or cable.

  • Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) might be offline or experiencing heavy Internet traffic. Wait a while, and then try again.

  • If you're on a corporate network, there might be a problem with the network settings. Check with your system administrator.

  • Try closing programs you're not using.

  • Your computer might have spyware running. Try scanning your computer for spyware. For more information about removing spyware, see Remove spyware from your computer.

  • Missing updates can affect your computer's performance. Go to the Windows Update website and check for updates.

Can I cancel or pause downloading a file if it's taking too long?

Yes. You can cancel a download at any time by clicking the Cancel button in the Download Manager. Click the Pause button to pause the download, and the Resume button to continue the download.