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Internet Explorer Prompts to Download Files

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When you attempt to open a document in Internet Explorer, Internet Explorer may prompt you to save the file to a disk instead of opening the document.

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This behavior can occur for either of the following reasons:
  • The Multipurpose Internet Mail Extension (MIME) content type for the document type is not defined or is incorrect.
  • The .ins file is located on a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) site and the Do not save encrypted pages to disk option is enabled.

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To resolve this behavior, use the appropriate method.

Method 1: If the MIME Content Type Is Not Defined or Is Incorrect

To specify the correct content type, use the following steps:
  1. Try to open the document again, and then click Save To Disk when you are prompted to select Open or Save To Disk. This saves the file to the Windows desktop. Note that on a Windows 95-based computer, the path to the desktop is Windows\Desktop, but on a Windows NT 4.0-based computer the path to the desktop is Winnt\Profiles\Username\Desktop.
  2. After the file has finished downloading to your computer, verify that you are able to view the file's extension:
    1. Double-click My Computer, and then click Options on the View menu.
    2. On the View tab, and verify that the Show All Files check box is selected and that Hide MS-DOS file extensions for file types that are registered is not selected. Note that on a Windows NT 4.0-based computer, verify that the Show All Files is selected and that the Hide file extensions for known file types check box is not selected.
  3. View the downloaded file on your desktop and note the file's extension. For example, if you downloaded a Microsoft Word document, the file has a .doc extension.
  4. Double-click My Computer.
  5. On the View menu, click Options, and then click File Types.
  6. In the Registered File Types box, click the file type of the document you are attempting to open (this is the file extension noted in step 3), and then click Edit.
  7. In the Content Type (MIME) box, click the appropriate content type. Note that you may be unable to determine the appropriate content type even if you know the file's extension, as there are many different file extensions created by different programs. If the appropriate content type is not available, or you are unable to determine the appropriate content type, contact the author of the Web page or the Web server administrator to determine what additional program is needed to open the file.
  8. Click OK until all dialog boxes are closed.

Method 2: If the "Do Not Save Encrypted Pages to Disk" Option Is Enabled

If the .ins file is located on an SSL site and the Do not save encrypted pages to disk option is enabled, use the appropriate method:
  • Move the .ins file to a non-secure site.
  • On the Advanced tab, click to clear the do not save encrypted pages to disk check box.
  • If you are using the Internet Explorer Administration Kit (IEAK), package the IEAK build with the do not save encrypted pages to disk option disabled. Internet service providers (ISPs) and administrators can use this option.

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Retired KB Content Disclaimer
This article was written about products for which Microsoft no longer offers support. Therefore, this article is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.

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Keywords: KB170802

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Article Info
Article ID : 170802
Revision : 4
Created on : 11/1/2006
Published on : 11/1/2006
Exists online : False
Views : 442