Why I do not like Firefox's new Download Panel
If you are running a recent Nightly build of the Firefox web browser you have probably noticed that downloads are now displayed in the interface directly instead of a download window as they have been previously. This is the new download panel of the browser. Once you start a download a new icon is displayed in the browser's main toolbar indicating the download.
You can click on that icon to take a look at the recent downloads and work with the files right from within the interface. Here it is for instance possible to load them right away, or open the folder the items have been downloaded to.
The feature is currently only active in the Nightly version, and deactivated but integrated in Aurora and Beta versions of the browser.
The thing that is irritating me the most is that the icon does not disappear after a certain time. It is permanently displayed in the interface once you start your very first download of the session, and will remain visible in the toolbar until you close the browser.
There is no option in the Firefox preferences or in the about:config listing to hide that icon after a certain amount of time after downloads complete.
There are two workarounds available that help you deal with the issue.Â You can set the preference browser.download.panel.removeFinishedDownloads to true to remove the download right after it has finished in the interface. This triggers the closing of the download panel icon in the toolbar as well. What this does though is reduce the use of the download panel, as you can't use it to open a file or folder right after you have downloaded it anymore.
The second option is to switch back to the old download manager window. For that, you need to set the browser.download.useToolkitUI preference to false. This restores the browser's original download window so that the download icon in the toolbar is no longer displayed.
You can edit both preferences by loading about:config in the browser's address bar. If you have never opened the configuration before you need to confirm that you will be careful. Once there, copy and paste the entries into the search form at the top to locate them here. A double-click switches boolean values automatically, so that is all that you have to do.
What I would like to see is a setting in the Firefox preference window to toggle between the download panel and the download window, and an option to automatically close the download icon after a set amount of time, say 20 seconds after the download has finished.Advertisement