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Sometimes when I download something in IE9, I get this download bar

IE9 bar

And sometimes I get this dialog

IE9 dialog

Can I force IE to use one or the other? I would like to have only the dialog if possible.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

As a user you cannot do that, no. As far as I know the dialog only pops up if a web site opens another tab which leads to a download (something along those lines, at least). So the website developer can change the behaviour, even though I think that's more by accident than intentionally.

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It appears to depend on 3 things:

  1. Is the download a direct link to a file (e.g. or not (

  2. Does the server send Content-Disposition: attachment with the header or not?

  3. Is it a "special" file type from MS/IE's point of view? This appears to include office files like .docx etc (if office is installed), .cab files, .lnk files, and almost certainly more

The behaviour I observe is as follows:

  • The dialog is shown if: 1) it is a direct link 2) it doesn't have Content-Disposition: attachment and 3) it is one of MS's favoured file types.
  • In any other combination, it appears to use the bar.
  • Note on point 3: it depends on whether you have a local handler installed for that file type, hence why if you don't have office installed then office files will download with the bar.

This was all determined experimentally. I then found this question which seems to back up some of the above.

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