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Home / Tips and Tricks / Downloading problems? 9 Ways to Troubleshoot and Resolve

Downloading problems? 9 Ways to Troubleshoot and Resolve



An unhappy office worker gesturing on his laptop.
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Most of the problems you encounter while downloading a file have simple solutions. Whether you̵

7;re using a computer, a smartphone, or a game console, here are nine things to try next time you run into a problem.

Check your device’s free space

A lack of free disk space will cause download problems no matter what device you are using. While most devices will check if there is enough disk space before starting the transfer, some won’t, and your download will fail for no reason.

Performing a full reboot can often free up some space as the system deletes temporary files and runs housekeeping in the background. Otherwise, learn how to create free space on Windows, macOS, Android or an iPhone.

Check Storage on iPhone

Test your internet speed

If your internet speed is abnormally slow, your download may not start at all. This is especially true if you have many different devices on your network, all fighting for the same small amount of bandwidth.

You can test your internet speed with services like Speedtest and Fast. Often slow speeds are due to network limitations and temporary outages beyond your control. Restarting your network hardware probably won’t help in most cases, but it won’t hurt either.

FAST.com speed test

Stop opening files instead of downloading

A common problem that occurs when you try to download a file is the way your Internet browser handles certain file types (for example, PDF documents). You may want to save the document to your device, but the browser has other ideas and keeps opening it instead. In this case, you need to right-click on the download link and select “save as” instead.

This option appears differently in different browsers. In Safari, this is “Download Linked File As”, while Firefox uses “Save Link As” instead. To change this behavior, you need to dive into your browser preferences and change the default behavior for those file types.

You can have your browser automatically download PDFs instead of opening them too.

Download file in Safari

Pause and resume the download

Sometimes you just need to stop and start the transfer to get things moving. This is especially true for older game consoles like the PlayStation 4, where the trick can be used to speed up downloads that have crashed.

How you do this depends on the device or browser you are using. Some browsers have built-in download managers that allow you to press pause and then resume. If you’re trying to download an app on an iPhone or iPad, you can tap the icon to pause the download, then tap it again to continue.

Pause and Resume PS4 Download

Try another web browser

Some websites just don’t work properly in certain browsers. This is especially true for smaller, niche browsers that fall outside the big four (Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari).

It’s always a good idea to install more than one browser for cases like this. While many Mac users prefer Safari because of the way it integrates tightly into Apple’s ecosystem, sometimes the breakout of Chrome or Firefox is the only way to properly render a page, or to restart a web. app to run at all.

Firefox browser

Allow pop-up windows, cookies and JavaScript

Sometimes when a download doesn’t start, it’s because your browser is blocking a pop-up window or cookie that the service relies on. Most browsers will let you know in the address bar that a popup has been blocked (although some do this quietly in the background).

If you click on a download link and nothing happens, check the address bar for any “pop-up blocked” messages. In the case of most browsers, clicking the notification will give you an option to allow the popup temporarily and create a rule that prevents this from happening in the future.

Other websites require cookies to be allowed, so check your browser settings to make sure cookies are enabled (if you haven’t disabled them manually, they’re likely enabled). The same goes for JavaScript, which many websites now rely on to function (this also requires manual disabling in the first place).

Warning for pop-up in Safari browser

Windows Users: Check Your Antivirus

In Windows, you must use an antivirus program to scan for malware. These tools can sometimes block downloads, often because the download is malicious.

If you can’t find a file, or if a particular website doesn’t seem to allow downloads, open your antivirus program and check the logs to see if these downloads are blocked. Antivirus programs generally notify you when they do this, but they don’t always do this.

Are you sure the download is safe, but your antivirus is blocking it anyway? Consider temporarily disabling your antivirus.

Warning: We don’t recommend this unless you are absolutely sure a file is safe. The most likely reason that your antivirus program is blocking the file is that it is dangerous. Make sure to re-enable your antivirus software after downloading and scan that download before opening it.

You can also search the settings for such software to make sure that there are no settings to block specific file types or domains.

Avast free antivirus on Windows 10.

Download console? Close all open games

In the case of the PS4, the system limits the download bandwidth when a game is running. While this behavior is a bit erratic and doesn’t seem to apply to all games, it’s especially likely to happen with online or “live service” games.

For this reason, we recommend ending all running processes while the download is complete, especially on older Sony consoles. This is accomplished by highlighting the current running process, pressing the Options button and choosing “Close Application” from the context menu.

Close app on PS4

Still no luck? Cancel and try again

The nuclear option is to cancel your download and try again from the beginning. Depending on the size of the download and how much progress you specify, this may not be your first choice, and it may not solve the problem either.

Most modern browsers keep all the progress you’ve made. If the browser detects that the data associated with the download is corrupted, you will likely lose your progress. If you often download large files (or have a slow internet connection that makes downloading a chore), you may want to use a browser such as Chrome or Firefox, as they support features such as pausing and resuming downloads.

Alternatively, large downloads are often faster and easier to manage when you use BitTorrent instead.




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