How to fix Chrome not downloading files on Windows

How to fix Chrome not downloading files on Windows

Trying to download files but Chrome refuses to cooperate? Are downloads automatically failing when you try to start them? If so, you may have a problem with your browser that is preventing it from downloading files on your Windows machine. What makes it behave this way?

In this article, we’ll explore why Chrome stops downloading files and what you can do to fix it.

Why can’t Chrome download files?

Chrome cannot download files due to a problem with the source you are downloading from, a browser cache conflict, insufficient disk space on your computer, an outdated version of Chrome, restrictions imposed by IPS, interference from extensions, and restrictions from the Windows Firewall or the antivirus program.

If Chrome stops your downloads, refresh your browser, clear your cache, disable disruptive extensions, whitelist your browser on a firewall or antivirus, free up disk space on your computer, change your DNS cache, enable or disable a VPN, reset Chrome, or change your browser profile to fix it.

Use preliminary checks first

First, try the following basic fixes, which can help you solve the problem right away:

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  • Open the source you downloaded the file from and try downloading the files again.
  • Restart your browser to rule out temporary errors or problems.
  • Disable your antivirus or whitelist Chrome in Windows Defender. This will ensure that the antivirus software or Windows built-in security does not prevent the download from starting.
  • Make sure your internet connection is active and restart your router once to clear the cache.
  • Enable a VPN to ensure that your IP address is not blocked by the website where you download files. If it’s already enabled, turn it off and try downloading again.
  • Make sure Chrome is up to date. For reference, check out our guide on updating and checking different browser versions.

If the above preliminary checks do not help, you can start applying the remaining fixes.

1. Make sure the problem is not coming from the source

Make sure the source you are downloading the files from allows you to download them. For example, when you download files from cloud storage, the files may only be viewable, not downloadable. Because of this, Chrome may fail to start the download. Therefore, it is important to exclude this possibility.

To rule out the possibility, download the same file using a different browser. If the file doesn’t download in other browsers, it’s the source that’s at fault, not the browser. However, if you can download files from another browser, but the problem persists in Chrome for this file and across other downloads from multiple sources, continue to apply the remaining fixes.

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2. Start the download process manually

Sometimes the built-in download button fails to redirect you to the download page and the download process does not start. For this reason, you should download it manually to ensure that this is not the case. Right-click on the file’s download link and click Copy the address link from the context menu.

Click the Copy Link URL option by right-clicking on the file download link in Chrome

Navigate to a new tab in Chrome and paste the download URL there. Then press enter.

Paste the copied download URL into a new tab in Chrome

If the download process doesn’t start this way, move on to the next fix.

3. Make sure there is enough free storage space on your hard drive

Chrome may also fail to start the download process if the drive selected as the download location runs out of storage space. In most cases, Windows will notify you when you’re low on disk space, but there are times when it won’t. Therefore, if your disk space is always full, it is recommended that you free up some space.

Also, change the download location in Chrome if your browser has problems downloading files in Windows’ default download folder.

4. Check for profile-specific issues

If Chrome is not downloading files, it can also be attributed to the profile you are logged into. To make sure that’s not the case, try downloading the same file in incognito mode. So click on three vertical dots in Chrome’s top right corner and click on New incognito window option.

Open a new incognito window by clicking the three vertical dots in the top right corner of Chrome

Afterwards, you can try to download the file again. If the file was downloaded in incognito mode, switch to a new profile and try downloading it again. If you download the file on a new profile, it means that your browser profile has a problem. Either the extensions are interfering, or the browser settings are to blame.

So switch profiles permanently or continue to apply the remaining fixes to resolve the existing profile issue.

5. Clear Chrome Cache

An accumulated cache can also block your browser. Clearing the browser cache often solves most browser problems. This may also resolve issues with downloads. Need help clearing your cache? Our guide on how to clear Chrome’s cache and cookies can help. If clearing the cache doesn’t help, try the next solution.

6. Eliminate extension interference

Chrome can also be stopped from downloading files due to interference from installed extensions. This is more likely to happen if you use a download manager. If none of the fixes have worked, make sure that interfering extensions are not to blame.

The best way to rule out this possibility is to disable each extension and try to download the files. This way, you can find the root cause when a download fails after a certain extension has been disabled.

Remove the annoying extension from your browser as soon as you find it and you’re good to go. If disabling all extensions doesn’t help, move on to the next step.

7. Make sure there are no DNS issues

You may also be prohibited from downloading files from your browser due to restrictions imposed by your ISP or public network administrator. If you are using a school network, you are more likely to experience this problem. To rule out this possibility, you should change the DNS. If you’ve never changed DNS before, check out our guide on how to change DNS settings in Windows.

8. Reset or reinstall Chrome

When all else fails, and Chrome still can’t download files, you should reset or reinstall Chrome. Follow these steps to reset Chrome:

  1. click on three vertical dots in the top right corner and select Settings.
  2. Click on in the left sidebar Reset and clean up.
  3. Click Reset the settings to the original defaults.
    Restore your browser settings to their original defaults in the Reset and Clear tab of Chrome Settings
  4. Click Reset settings.
    Click the Reset button to restore the settings to their original defaults in the Chrome settings

If that doesn’t work, reinstall Chrome from scratch after deleting the current installation.

Download files from Chrome again

It can be so frustrating not being able to download the files we need. Hopefully, applying the fixes in the list will resolve the issue with Chrome downloads and allow you to download the files again. If none of the fixes work, your last resort should be to change your browser.

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