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I have often wondered this. If I attempt to download a large file, but get bored half way (let's say 50% downloaded) through and cancel the download, what happens to the 50% of the data that was "downloaded"?

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Well it really depends on what are you downloading with. Wget? Browser? Torrent client? –  jco Feb 19 '12 at 14:25

2 Answers 2

up vote 25 down vote accepted

I'm assuming you're talking about downloading a file from a website with a web browser here. Mainstream browsers like Firefox, IE, etc. store these files in a cache which will be cleared eventually. So, there is a chance parts of the canceled download remain on your computer in the browser cache, but they will be deleted eventually. If you wish you can force the browser to clear out the cache so nothing remains.

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and . . . many of the downloader programs or plug-ins will be creating a "part" file, or will have created a whole empty file for writing to.. this file will be removed when the download is canceled. There are certannly some programs for downloading that do not properly cleanup, with those you should see where the downloads are/were going, and determine if they do a proper cleanup. –  Psycogeek Dec 28 '11 at 10:52
    
On top of that, most of these files could be hidden, so (on windows) go into your folder settings and toggle 'show hidden files' –  HTDutchy Dec 28 '11 at 13:11
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But is it that the server still delivers the remaining part of the file and no program is at the client to grab that? –  iSid Jan 2 '12 at 7:22
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@Ismail. Very unlikely. Even a "simple" download requires low level handshaking to coordinate - prevent overruns, etc.. And the client isn't there to do that. Also, servers are always managing bandwidth which they have to pay for, so they're not going to waste an expensive resource. –  Joe Jan 3 '12 at 17:47
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@iSid - When you stop the download, the connection to the server will be closed, so unless the server is really stupid, the download will stop on the server side too. The high level version is that the client will tell the server before it disconnects, so the server will know to stop sending data. –  Brendan Long Feb 17 '12 at 18:42

It depends on what you're using to download the file. A lot of software will leave the half-downloaded part sitting on your machine and may offer a feature where you can resume the download from the point you stopped it. The place where this file-part resides also varies depending on which software you're using. It could be in the place you chose to save the file, or it could be in a "temp" directory/folder. Sometimes the file-stub will be named a bit differently than the real file name ("myArchive.crdownload" instead of "myArchive.zip" for example) Other software deletes the file stub when you cancel.

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