Firefox Recommendation #1: Clearing download history automatically

In: Mozilla

5 May 2007

It’s been ages (well, almost 2 years, but that’s a lifetime in Internet time) since Firefox Secrets was published and I figured I should probably live up to being the “Firefox book” guy (in Singapore). I’m gonna start posting Firefox tips and pointers at least twice a week (hopefully I don’t run out of material!) And instead of using the word “tip”, I’ll call em “recommendations” instead, seeing as Robert Accettura already has an excellent Firefox Tips thing going on his blog.

Today’s recommendation: get Firefox to clear the list of downloaded items in the download manager to keep your Firefox speedy. You’ve probably read about how cleaning up your download history can help speed up Firefox (on Of Zen and Computing or on Mac OS X Hints), but do you really want to remember to clear up your download history manually?

Firefox download manager

Unsatisfied with a manual solution, I went looking for an about:config preference (not familiar with about:config? Enter ‘about:config’ into your Firefox address bar and hit Enter – read more). Sure enough, there is a preference when I used ‘download.manager’ as a filter:

Firefox download manager retention preference

But what value should I set it to? The default value is 2 but there’s no clue what another value would do. There’s only one place to find out: the about:config entries page in the MozillaZine Knowledge Base. Search for retention and there you go:

When to remove downloaded files’ entries from the Download Manager
0: Upon successful download
1: When the browser exits
2 (default): Manually

Set it to 0 or 1, whichever behavior you prefer. I like 0 since I use the Download Statusbar extension and never get to see the Download Manager.

That’s it for today’s tip (and a pretty low-key tip at that)!

3 Responses to Firefox Recommendation #1: Clearing download history automatically



May 6th, 2007 at 12am

Isn’t it also possible to change the value of by unclicking “Remember what I have downloaded” on the Privacy page of the Firefox options dialog? My value is currently 1, so it is possible that using auto:config is the only way to change it to 0.


Chu Yeow

May 6th, 2007 at 8pm

Hi Martey, actually you are correct, I’ve never noticed that option before! For me, unchecking the “Remember what I ahve downloaded” options changes the preference to 0, so I think this is the only way to change it to 1 (which is to clear it everytime the Firefox exits).



May 23rd, 2007 at 9pm

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