How to Check the Default Save Location in Internet Explorer

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Microsoft's Internet Explorer Web browser downloads files to a default location on your hard drive if you don't specify another one. In older versions of IE, changing this directory required a cumbersome edit of the settings in the Windows Registry; starting with IE9, you can change the default download directory using a simple setting in IE itself.

In Internet Explorer 9

  • Open Internet Explorer. Click the "Tools" button -- the gear at the top right -- and select "View Downloads" to bring up the Downloads screen.

  • Click "Options." The dialog box that appears displays your current default download location. If you want to change it, click "Browse," then navigate to and select a location on your hard drive.

  • Click "OK."

In Earlier IE Versions

  • Click "Start," then type "regedit" in the Search box and press "Enter." This brings up the Windows Registry Editor, through which you can modify system settings. Registry keys appear in a nested folder structure in the left pane; clicking one of them brings up one or more values in the right pane.

  • Navigate to the following key in the left pane: "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer."

  • Double-click the Download Directory value in the right pane to view IE's default download directory. Change it if you want, then click "OK" and close the Registry Editor.

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