Firefox's Strange 'Save File' Behavior

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"Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew ya."
Leonard Cohen / Hallelujah

Posted on September 16, 2007 7:45 AM in Browsers
Warning: This blog entry was written two or more years ago. Therefore, it may contain broken links, out-dated or misleading content, or information that is just plain wrong. Please read on with caution.

This has been happening to me for a long time, but it never gets any less annoying. For some reason, when I download a file in Firefox, I very often get presented with a save dialog in which the "Save File" button is disabled. The following is a screenshot of the problem:

Screenshot of Firefox's Save File Dialog

Sometimes the button gets enabled after a few seconds. However, sometimes it remains disabled until after I change focus to another window and then back to the dialog.



Lim Chee Aun on September 16, 2007 at 9:00 AM:

If I'm not mistaken, it's a security feature. Sort of to prevent accidental 'Yes' or something.


Bernie Zimmermann on September 16, 2007 at 9:20 AM:

I kinda thought that too, but typically I've found that Firefox errs on the side of usability, and that seems like a really bad implementation in that light. It's very unintuitive to have to change focus temporarily before you can start your download.

I've seen other dialogs that have a better behavior, where the button actually counts down to when it will be enabled. I think that happens when you install an extension. Seems like they should be consistent in that area, if it is indeed about security.


Myk Melez on September 17, 2007 at 3:05 AM:

The temporary disabling of the button is a security feature, but you shouldn't have to unfocus and then refocus the dialog box for the button to become enabled. That sounds like a bug.


Bernie Zimmermann on September 17, 2007 at 9:27 AM:

When I get a chance this week, I'll browse Bugzilla and see if I find anything already reported. If not, I'll write up a bug on it. Thanks for stopping by, Myk.


Tim Partridge on December 13, 2007 at 8:32 AM:

If it is a security feature, it would be nice to be able to turn it off.


ChampDog on January 05, 2008 at 4:29 AM:

My office PC has this behavior but not happen in my laptop. This is really weird. I think this is more like a bug rather than a security feature.


khmocelgoog on January 13, 2008 at 11:36 PM:

I did try the method below and it worked :

Open Firefox

In the address bar type about:config

In the filter bar type TAB

Find this key: browser.tabs.loadDivertedInBackground (default value is FALSE)

Change the value to TRUE (just doubleclick it to change the value)


Josef on May 09, 2008 at 1:37 PM:

The last "config tabs" was very helpfull.


EaglesNestOne on July 28, 2008 at 7:31 PM:

Your all noobs lol it's a security feature, all you have to do is click on the "Disabled" button and then it's clickable. This feature may be disabled on trusted sites such as or somthing.


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