Firefox:2.0 Download Manager

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When you begin a download and close the download manager, you can no longer track the progress of the downloads without having the window open and taking up space on the task bar. The biggest issue however is "Mum & Dad" users who think they've cancelled their download when closing the download manager, and do not know how to get back to it other than clicking the link again (because there is no Dropbox button on the toolbar by default, and the menu is well hidden to the basic computer user).

I would like to suggest a feasible idea for removing these issues. If you minimise or close the download manager, it could "minimize" into a statusbar block on the bottom right of the status bar that would contain the download icon and the text "15% of 3 Files...". If the user clicks on the status bar block, the download manager maximizes out of the status bar. Therefore it is easy to keep an eye on downloads, beginners don't suffer "Where'd it go!?" syndrome and the whole thing is easier to manage.

Comment from dude_man111

I hope I am doing this right... I could not find a section to add comments so I am just doing it manually. I think that in the new Firefox, instead of the Download Manager being dependent on Firefox, you should be able to close Firefox and leave the download manager open. Some people, I think, would like to close Firefox so it isn't taking up so much space and/or memory on their computer. Feel free to email me at .

Comment from bugmenot

I also like the idea of using the statusbar to display download status. Additionally, it would be nice to see the download manager switch to an Opera-like style where it is a tab rather than a pop-up window (with an option to automatically open the download manager in the background, foreground, or not at all). Switching to a tab would also allow for more information to be displayed.

Comment from Sebastian.Moser

My suggestion would be that the download manager should be opened in any case, no matter wether it's a short or big download. and if you close the download-manager, a special icon appears in the toolbar, that includes some kind of progress meter. this icon could either disappear when the download manager isn't needed or it could be always there and change it's icon/appearence when a download is running.

Comment from Alfred Kayser

Check out the 'Download Statusbar' extension. This could serve as a basis for the above 'simplified' edition for the 'Mum&DadM' case.

Comment from Ben Basson

The current download manager window pops up in front of the page the user is viewing. While this alerts the user to the new download, the window usually appears on top of useful content (with a similar annoyance factor to that of a popup advert) and has to be minimised.

Reply by Kroc Camen

  • Perhaps then have a tick box in the download manager for "AutoHide". If ticked, the next time a download is fired, the statusbar block mentioned above would appear in the statusbar and flash once to show that it has appeared and something is downloading (like buttons on the taskbar flash to alert you to something). It's also no good if nothing appears and the user hasn't noticed the statusbar, so the flashing once would help.

Reply by Jeff Carlsen

  • Perhaps there should be a "Yellow Bar" style notification for downloads. Such a bar would be readily noticable, generally unobtrusive, and would have enough space on it for a nice looking button to open the download manager, as well as a "Pause all downloads" button, and, of course, a progress bar.
  • I like that idea. Dasch 06:11, 26 Dec 2005 (PST)
| %% Added &fileName to the download queue       [Open Download Manager] [X] |

Comment from Adam Zey

The current download manager window also does not pop up at all for short downloads. I've been confused by this on occasion (Did my download start or not?), and I'm an experienced user. "Mum & Dad" type users would likely be even more confused by this. (see Bug 243324)

Comment from BodziO

I think putting a little DM info on the statusbar is an excellent idea! I've got also a proposition on my own. How about moving DM from a separate window to the sidebar. In my humble opinion it would be far better solution than the present one. Even key shortcut could remain unchanged. If you've got enough space for your browser, you could still browse and check your downloads simultanousely. (sorry for my absolutely grammar and tense-trashing english :) )

Reply by Kroc Camen

  • There is currently an extension for Firefox that allows you to have downloads in a sidebar, however this feature is not recommended for Mum&Dad users because internet-beginners have difficulty closing Sidepanes. This is evident from the number of times I've seen people using IE and having their favourites sidepane on all the time because they don't know how to close it (stupid yes, but it's /*very*/ common!) Plus having a sidepane appear is rather jarring and scary since the whole page content might move all over the place due to smaller browser area.

Reply by Minh Nguy�n

The Download Manager in Firefox was originally a sidebar, but it was moved to a separate window around 0.6 (?). – Minh Nguy�n (talk, contribs, blog) 11:38, 19 Jul 2005 (PDT)

Comment from apattison

Could I suggest the following:

1. When closing the download manager using the close button on the window (or the window's menu), pop up a dialog telling the user that the downloads will not be stopped, only that the window will be closed. Only do this the first time they do this though. Also, give them the option to back out of performing this action using "yes/no" buttons on the window.

2. Integrate the download manager into Firefox's main window. This would be more consistent with the idea of keeping everything in seperate tabs under a single window. If you go down this route then it would probably be useful to give folk the option of making the download manager a seperate window, via the existing prefs dialog.

Reply by Kroc Camen

  1. Additonal dialogs would piss-the-hell out of techies even if only once, and any additional unexpected dialogs are scary for new users. Note that many users may obstain from clicking the close button in the first place in fear that doing so may cancel their download. Telling them that this isn't the case After they've sat and waited for the download to finish safely is just annoying. This whole matter could be simplified just by removing the close button on the Download Manager entirely and having just a minimize button (which turns into a close button, or a close button appears when all downloads are complete). This way the user will see the minimize button and know it won't close the window, but hide it out of the way.

  2. I think there's an extension for putting downloads on another tab, my concern is that this takes up much screen space, can't be checked symultaneously to browsing and also breaks design principles - what about the back forward, reload and stop buttons on this new "tab" - they won't apply and therefore may confuse users as well as breaking many design principles in the process.

Reply by xeen

Maybe then we should probably give them the info when starting their first download. However, I agree an alert box would suck, I'd be better if there'd be a "non disturbing" message, eg just text in the download mananger. Similar to the "popup blocking note" there'd be a message telling the user that this window can be closed without loosing his downloads. And how it can be brought up again. However, this shouldn't be a yellow bar that catches the users eye, rather than a short and neutral description (xul:label) that the user can read. If the text isn't disturbing we probably don't even need to care about how often to show or when to hide. The problem that one closes the window by accident who hasn't yet read the info is still there, but that could probably solved by adding a statusbar icon (like suggested) which shows a tooltip after closing. This however should only be done once, or maybe twice to not annoy advanced users.

Comment from Nicole Tedesco

There are as many solutions to this problem as there are user types. My experience tells me that it is best if the user chooses which to use--introduce the simplest solution possible to the base code then leave the rest to choosable extensions. (Of course, this begs the question of how to promote and manage extensions effectively...)

Comment from Tom W.M.

If it remains in a separate window, the download manager needs its own icon. As it is, I have trouble telling it from other Firefox windows in the taskbar.

Comment from Coucou

I got a suggestion for the download manager I'm not really sure where to post.
Please let me know if that wasn't the right place to do so ! :-)

I would really like to see an "average download speed" for each file once they're done. Something in the way that TheOneWeDontWantToUse does after a download is completed.

It would look somehow like :

----    MyDownloadedFile.ext        Open
|  |    Done                        Remove
----    Average 256KB/s

Comment from Lowrykun

My main suggestion for the download manager would be to add the ability to 'drag and drop' from the list of files to an open explorer or application that accepts dropped files. It would be NICE to save files to locations based on their extension.