Download files from the web

There are several types of files you can download from the web—documents, pictures, videos, apps, extensions and toolbars for your browser, among others. When you select a file to download, Internet Explorer will ask what you want to do with the file. Here are some things you can do, depending on the type of file you're downloading:

  • Open the file to view it, but don't save it to your PC.
  • Save the file on your PC in the default download location. After Internet Explorer runs a security scan and finishes downloading the file, you can choose to open the file, the folder it's stored in, or view it in Download Manager.
  • Save as a different file name, type, or download location on your PC.
  • Run the app, extension, or other file type. After Internet Explorer runs a security scan, the file will open and run on your PC.
  • Cancel the download and go back to browsing the web.

You can also save smaller files—like single pictures—to your PC. Right-select the picture, link, or file you want to save, and then choose Save picture or Save target as.

Find files you’ve downloaded on your PC

Download Manager keeps track of pictures, documents, and other files you download from the web. Files you've downloaded are automatically saved in the Downloads folder. This folder is usually located on the drive where Windows is installed (for example, C:\users\your name\downloads). You can always move downloads from the Downloads folder to other places on your PC.

To view files you've downloaded while using Internet Explorer, do this: open Internet Explorer, select the Tools button, and then select View downloads. You'll be able to see what you've downloaded from the web, where it's stored on your PC, and choose actions to take on your downloads.

Change the default download folder on your PC

  1. Open Internet Explorer, select the Tools button, and then select View downloads.
  2. In the View Downloads dialog box, select Options in the lower left hand corner.
  3. Choose a different default download location by selecting Browse, and then select OK when you're done.



Why some files won't open in Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer uses add-ons such as the Adobe Reader to view some files in the browser. If a file that needs an add-on won't open, you might have an older version of the add-on that needs to be updated.


About download and security warnings

When you download a file, Internet Explorer checks for clues that the download is malicious or potentially harmful to your PC. If Internet Explorer thinks a download seems suspicious, you'll be notified so you can decide whether or not to save, run, or open the file. Not all files you're warned about are malicious, but it's important to make sure you trust the site you're downloading from, and that you really want to download the file.


If you see a security warning that tells you The publisher of this program couldn't be verified, then Internet Explorer doesn't recognize the site or organization asking you to download the file. Make sure you recognize and trust the publisher before you save or open the download.


There are always risks to downloading files from the web. Here are some precautions you can take to help protect your PC when you download files:

  • Install and use an antivirus program.
  • Only download files from sites that you trust.
  • If the file has a digital signature, make sure that the signature is valid and the file is from a trusted location. To see the digital signature, select the publisher link in the security warning dialog box that opens when you first download the file.
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Article ID: 17436 - Last Review: Apr 27, 2016 - Revision: 25

  • Windows 8.1
  • Windows 7
  • Windows 10
  • Internet Explorer
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