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Switcher Hangout The place for switchers to discuss their new machines, and how to work with OS X. General support can be had here for newbie stuff, like "How do I restart my new iMac?" :)

New Mac User: Trouble with Opening Files from Internet


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NoWaterNoFun

 
Member Since: Sep 18, 2007
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How is everyone doing here? Recently switched to a Mac and really enjoy its functionality and ease of use.

I have a really simple question... I hope?

When looking at documents on the internet (ie. wmv, pdf, doc, odt, xls etc.) my browser always saves a copy of this file on my desktop. I use mozilla the most to browse. This happens even though I have the settings to download to a different file folder. But I realize that downloading and opening a file are two different things. How do I prevent my computer from automatically saving open files on my desktop?

Thanks for your help.

Peace.
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NoWaterNoFun

 
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a lot of views but no replies? I guess this feature is not available?
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kfordham281

 
Member Since: Feb 19, 2007
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If you're talking about Firefox, you can tell it to prompt you when saving the file (Preferences | Main). I used Firefox at first when switching to the Mac (and then Camino), but now I use Safari. For the most part it works pretty good and is fast.

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bobtomay

 
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Can't remember a file being saved on my local drive by simply opening it - particularly a wmv or pdf.

Give us an example of a site you are going to and the link you are using to open a file that causes it to be saved so that we can try it out. Maybe then someone will have some help.

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NoWaterNoFun

 
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Here is an example.

When using an online email service like yahoo and someone sends you an attachment (.doc, .xls, .pdf etc.) and you click to open the file a screen will pop up that asks to do you want to open it or save it. Even if you click open it, it saves a copy on my desktop.

I hope this explains things a bit.
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bobtomay

 
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Don't think I have ever opened an e-mail attachment on my MBP.
Don't have time to experiment now, but will send a couple of various doc's to myself while at work today and check it out this evening.

I do quite often go to manufacturers sites and open pdf's. Have never had one of these saved to the hard drive when selecting open rather than download.

In the meanwhile, if anyone else is aware of a particular preference setting related to this, feel free to pipe in.

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knightlie

 
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Open Safari and check the Download Location in Preferences - it might be using that setting.

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visualpurple

 
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I think that the difference is that on a Mac, the file is saved to your desktop when you open it, whereas on Windows it's saved to a temporary files folder, where you don't see/notice it?
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bobtomay

 
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Ok, here is what I have discovered after about an hour of experimenting.
Tried opening .pdf, .doc and a few others in Safari, Firefox and Opera. And also tried yahoo mail, gmail and hotmail on my MBP, my wife's MB and an XP machine just to test the differences.

Safari's preference settings for Downloads does not have an option to ask you every time, and you must specify a location. It will not allow a blank location for downloads.

First off, from within the e-mail web pages themselves, there is no 'Open' option. There is only 'View as HTML' and 'Download' (yahoo's is 'Scan and Download' as it uses Norton to scan all attachments prior to allowing them to be downloaded).

With Safari - when you click that Download link for the attachment from within the browser - it is going to be downloaded and saved to the location you have specifed - period - no option that I can find to change this action. And no pop up window to allow you a choice of options either. The only preference setting you have is whether or not you want it to open "Safe" downloads when they are complete or just download to the specified location.

With Firefox - There is a preference setting available to either choose a location for your downloads or to ask you for the location every time.
Now Firefox does give a popup window after clicking the download option in the browser window and asks if you 1) want to open the file or 2) Save the file to disk. If you choose 'Save to disk' - it will save the file to the location you have specified in the Firefox preferences. However, if you choose 'Open...' it does open the file, but it also downloads it to the location you have specified in the Safari preferences - not the location in your Firefox preferences. So basically, Firefox is treating Safari's preferences as system settings and does not override it unless you tell it to save to a different location.

With Opera - Same as Firefox - once you have clicked on Download on the attachment - you are presented with a popup window with the options of 'Open' or 'Save'. Save does save the file to the location you have specified in Opera's preferences. 'Open' does just that - opens the file and does not save the file to your hard drive as Safari and Firefox do, unless you choose to save the file at this time from within the application that was used to open it.

Opera's window is also the only one of the three that allows you the option at that time to choose the app you want to use to open the file rather than just using the default.

So, bottom line, to do what you would like - Opera is the one.
For me - just another reason to continue with Opera as my browser of choice.

One thing you might want to do also - which I have done - in my home folder I have created a folder called Desktop Items - this is my default location in all browsers for this type of stuff. This way it's still all in one place, but is not putting stuff all over your desktop all the time. Remember to go in and clean it out once in awhile though. I also keep another folder called Downloads which is used only for saving downloaded program files rather than the Desktop.

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In the Windows world, most everything folks don't understand is called a virus.
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