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Tue, Jan 20, 2015 11:15 pm

Configuring Google Chrome to prompt for download directory

If you would like Google Chrome to prompt for the directory into which it will save a file that you are about to download rather than putting it in the downloads directory for the account you are using or some other default directory, take the following steps:
  1. Click on the Chrome menu Chrome menu on the browser toolbar.
  2. Select settings.
  3. Click on Show advanced settings.
  4. Scroll down to the Downloads section. You can put a directory path in the "Download location" field to have a set downloads directory; to be prompted as to where a file should be stored each time you download a file, check the check box for "Ask where to save each file before downloading".
  5. Once you've made the change to the setting you can close the Settings tab in Chrome.

The setting for whether a file is downloaded into a default location or for Chrome to prompt the user for the location is controlled, like other Chrome settings, in the Preferences file for the account, which is stored beneath a user's home directory. On a Mac OS X system, you can view the file from a command prompt using the Terminal application by going to the directory shown below:

$ cd ~
$ cd "Library/Application Support/Google/Chrome/Default"
$ more Preferences

On a Microsoft Windows system you can find the Preferences file at %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Preferences. The environment variable %USERPROFILE% is usually C:\Users\username where username is the account name. So you can open the file in Notepad from a command prompt with:

C:\> notepad "%USERPROFILE%\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Preferences"

You can edit the Preferences file with a text editor and add "prompt_for_download": true to the download section of the file to have Chrome prompt for the location in which to place a downloaded file. E.g., the default configuration for the download section when the downloads directory for an account is used is shown below followed by the configuration when Chrome will prompt for the location:

Use default downloads directory

   "download": {
      "directory_upgrade": true,
      "extensions_to_open": ""

Prompt for download location

   "download": {
      "directory_upgrade": true,
      "extensions_to_open": "",
      "prompt_for_download": true

Note: the "extensions_to_open": "" line may or may not be present for default Chrome settings; I saw it on a Mac OS X system, but it wasn't present on a Microsoft Windows system. But you only need add the line to set the "prompt_for_download" to true.


  1. Configuring Other Preferences
    The Chromium Projects

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