Vista Won't Download Anything

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Conflicting add-ons and certain system settings can interfere with Internet Explorer's ability to download files in Windows Vista. If Windows Firewall has blocked IE from accessing the internet, not only will it prevent IE from downloading files, it also may block internet access. Similarly, if add-ons installed to IE are conflicting, they may interfere with the browser's functions.


In other cases, Internet Explorer may be saving files to the wrong folder. So, although it may look like IE isn't downloading files in Windows Vista, IE is instead downloading files to a different location than where you are looking. To troubleshoot your browser's download capabilities, you should disable all add-ons, check your Windows Firewall settings, and change your download location.

Check Your Firewall Settings

  • Click "Start" > "Control Panel" > "Security." Click "Windows Firewall."

  • Select "Allow a program through Windows Firewall." Click the "Exceptions" tab.

  • Click "Add Program," then "Browse." Navigate to "C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer."

  • Double-click "Iexplorer.exe" to add it to the list of allowed programs. Place a check in the box next to the browser. Click "OK" twice to apply your changes.

Manage Add-Ons

  • Click "Start" > "All Programs" > "Internet Explorer."

  • Click "Tools" > "Manage Add-ons." Select the first item in the right pane. Hold down "Shift," then press the down arrow on your navigation pad until you reach the last item.

  • Click "Disable all." Select the next option in "Add-on Types." Repeat the process until you have disabled all add-ons.

  • Restart Internet Explorer. Re-enable each add-on, one by one, testing your download capabilities after each. You may have to restart Internet Explorer after enabling an add-on. If you find that you are unable to download any files after enabling a certain add-on, return to the "Manage Add-ons" screen and disable, once again, the add-on preventing you from downloading files.

Change the Location of the Download Folder

  • Click "Start" > "All Programs" > "Accessories." Click "Run." Type "regedit" into the dialog box. Click "OK" to open Windows Registry Editor.

  • Enter your administrator's password, or click "Continue," if User Account Control appears onscreen. Navigate through "HKEY_CURRENT_USER," "Software" and "Microsoft."

  • Click "Internet Explorer." Right-click a blank space in the right pane. Point to "New." Click "String Value."

  • Name the value "Download Directory." Double-click the new value. In the "Value data" field, type the full file path to the folder you want to save your downloads to. For example, if you want to save the downloads to the "Downloads" folder in your personal directory, type "C:\Users\<Account Name>\Downloads" into the "Value data" field. Replace "<Account Name>" with the user name assigned to your account.

  • Restart your computer to apply your changes. When you launch Internet Explorer and download a file to your computer, the file will automatically save itself to the specified directory.

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