What to do if Google Chrome doesn't download files

Chrome is one of the fastest growing and stable browsers, which is deservedly popular among a huge number of people. And all this thanks to its flexible settings and wide opportunities in terms of expanding the functionality. But in some cases, Chrome may stop downloading files. This happens for a variety of reasons. One of the main ones is concern for the safety of users, since the developers have set an automatic ban on downloading files from suspicious sources. But still, if Google Chrome does not download files, then a solution can be found.

Possible causes

The most common option is that the user himself "broke" his web browser. Typically, this happens when you install conflicting extensions, which can disable some features, including downloading.

Also among the common problems it is worth highlighting:

  • actions of viruses;
  • Lack of disk space where the file is downloaded.
  • overflowing cache, too many accumulated cookies;
  • anti-virus actions;
  • out-of-date version of the browser;
  • Profile restrictions

Most of these problems are completely solved on their own. Despite the fact that such an error may seem critical, there is no need to change the browser.

Error downloading Google Chrome file
Error downloading Google Chrome file

How to solve the problem

If the boot problem does not appear immediately after installing the extension or similar action, then it will be impossible to determine exactly the source of the problem. In this case, it is worth trying out all the methods in turn.

Delete a user profile

Sometimes, due to corrupted user files, or manually set restrictions, the profile may be prevented from downloading. The only solution is to completely delete the local account. To do this, you will need:

  • Press win+R.
  • Type %localappdata% in the line.
  • Go the way Google → Chrome → User Data.
  • Delete the Default folder.
  • Restart the computer.
  • Log in to your browser.

Before that, it is recommended to log in to your Google Account in the browser and enable synchronization – this will help to save bookmarks, passwords, as well as the history of visits and downloads.

If you do not do this, almost all information will be deleted, including browser settings – they will need to be re-exposed.

Clear cache, history, and cookies

The easiest and most often recommended method. If the cache is full, the browser may begin to respond incorrectly to user requests. To solve the problem, you will need:

  • Log in to your browser.
  • Open the menu.
  • Hover over History.
  • In the context menu, select "History".
  • Click on "Clear History".
  • Choose a time range (if there is nothing important in the history, you should put a mark "For all time").
  • Check all items.
  • Click on "Delete Data".

To quickly go to the history log, it is recommended to use the combination Ctrl+H, or Ctrl+Shift+Delete.

It is worth considering that the removal of cookies will entail the loss of automatic authorization on most sites, although the passwords and logins themselves will be preserved.

Disable conflicting extensions

Some extensions may conflict. Because of this, files in the browser may not be downloaded, damaged, as well as other problems, up to the complete inoperability of the browser. To solve the problem with extensions, you will need:

  • Open the browser.
  • Enter the menu.
  • Go to Advanced Tools.
  • Open Extensions.
  • View a list of installed extensions.
  • Disable all.
  • Restart the browser.
  • Start connecting extensions one by one and try to download files.
  • If the problem arises, delete the problem.
Disable individual extensions in Google Chrome
Disable individual extensions in Google Chrome

If the problem has become critical and the browser does not start, or practically does not respond to commands:

  • Press Win+R.
  • Enter "%localappdata%".
  • Google → Chrome → User Data → Extensions.
  • Remove all extensions (folders with names in the form of a set of characters).

After that, you may need to install the desired extensions again, but the problem will be solved.

Reset Google Chrome settings

An abrupt way to solve the problem is a complete factory reset.

It will result in the complete loss of history, cache, cookies, bookmarks, passwords and extensions if synchronization has not been enabled.

To perform a reset, you will need:

  • Log in to your browser.
  • Open menu
  • Go to settings.
  • Click on "Reset settings or remove malware".
  • Click on the item "Restore default settings".
  • Confirm action.

To quickly go to the desired item, you can use the link – chrome://settings/reset. After completing the procedure, the browser will remain absolutely clean.

Disable antivirus blocking

Some antiviruses can block the download of suspicious files. In this case, it makes sense to temporarily disable protection. You will need to go to the settings of the protective software and there cancel the restrictions, or completely turn off the screen. This will help to resume downloading files from untrusted (in the opinion of the antivirus) sources.

Virus detection and removal

Viruses can cause a lot of inconvenience. They can also damage files and disable the functions of certain programs. In this case, verification acts as a precaution.

You can use free solutions, such as Avira or 360 Total Security, which allow you to detect and neutralize most of the threats. Paid solutions, such as NOD32 or Norton antiviruses, will also help keep your computer completely safe.

Avira Antivirus Interface
Avira Antivirus Interface

Reinstall your Web browser

A complete reinstallation of the browser can help if its files have been damaged or deleted, which led to the inability to download them. To reinstall, you will need:

  • Press win+R.
  • Enter "control" in the line (or use another method to log in to the control panel).
  • Select Programs and Features.
  • Go to Add or Remove Programs.
  • Find the browser in the list and delete it.
  • Open a Chrome site https://www.google.com/chrome/.
  • Click on "Download Chrome".
  • Open the installer and follow its instructions.

The latest version of the browser can be downloaded in advance, before deleting the current one.

Other problems and their solution

If you still do not download files to Google Chrome, then the reason may be as follows:

  • lack of space on the hard disk and in the partition where the download is made – you need to delete unnecessary files;
  • poor Internet connection;
  • the download comes from an unsafe source.

The last point needs to be clarified. If the site on which the user is located and where the download link has the https protocol, and the file transfer source has the http protocol, then the download will be interrupted and blocked.

You can learn more about this only through the developer tools (called ctrl+Shift+I), where an error marked "Mixed Content" will be displayed in the "Console" section. Blocking affects all common file types: pdf, exe, zip, etc.

You can bypass the lock as follows:

  • Go to the desired page.
  • Click PKM on the link to download the file.
  • Select "Save Link As" from the context menu.
  • Confirm the action (to do this, click on the arrow pointing down in the bottom panel, where the progress in downloading the file will be displayed).
Console mode in Google Chrome
Console mode in Google Chrome

The method does not work on sites with JavaScript, so you can use a slightly more radical, but effective way – flags.


  • Type in the address bar — chrome://flags/#treat-unsafe-downloads-as-active-content.
  • Set the selected flag to "Disabled".
  • Restart the browser.

After that, the files should start downloading.

Mike Lombardi/ author of the article

QA Engineer, Head of Automated Software Testing Department. Knowledge of Java, C/C++, JSP, HTML, XML, JavaScript, SQL, and Oracle PL/SQL. Journalist and Columnist in the IT field. Website Creator and Administrator.