When one downloads a file using Firefox, the download seems to start before one even chooses a save directory. I would assume that Firefox assumes that I am most likely going to save said file, and starts downloading it ahead of time. However, I have a strange policy of downloading things to a filesystem in-memory (e.g. /dev/shm), and do not want even temporary files even touching my main disk. Where is this location on Linux (namely Debian)? Can it be changed?

P.S. This isn't really for security purposes.


In this post, it seems that Firefox uses the TMPDIR environment variable for the temporary location. I can't actually check at the moment, though, so is this really the case?

1 Answer 1


Here's how to change Firefox's behaviour so that it always prompts you to specify a target directory before initiating a download:

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  • 1
    Well, yes, I knew that already, but it will still start downloading (probably to a temporary location somewhere) before I even tell it where to save said file. Dec 3, 2019 at 18:00
  • @Mr-Ethernet Your answer does not explain how to change the TEMPORARY folder.
    – SebMa
    May 1, 2021 at 20:29

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