Chrome: let downloads overwrite existing files

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 6, 2017
Updated • May 22, 2018
Google Chrome

Downloads Overwrite Already Existing Files is an extension for the Google Chrome web browser that changes Chrome's handling of duplicate file downloads.

Whenever you download a file in Chrome, it is saved automatically to the default download folder.  While you can change the behavior in the Chrome settings, most Chrome users have not done so probably.

Tip: To get a prompt whenever you download a file, or change the download location in Chrome, do the following: Load chrome://settings/ in the browser's address bar. Select show advanced settings at the bottom of the page, and scroll down until you find the downloads section. There you can check "ask where to save each file before downloading" to get download prompts in Chrome, and change the default download folder to another location as well.

Chrome: let downloads overwrite existing files

chrome duplicate downloads

Another issue that you may run into from time to time is that Chrome will change the name of downloaded files if a file of the same name exists already in the download folder.

While that is wanted at times, think of two files that have the same name but are different files, it may not be wanted at other times.

It happens for instance when you hit the download button twice, or if the page initiates a download automatically.

While Chrome prevents pages from pushing multiple downloads to your system, it won't prevent that if you initiate the downloads manually, or if the downloads are not executed in a short period of time.

chrome download multiple files prompt

The Chrome extension Downloads Overwrite Already Existing Files prevents duplicate file downloads in Chrome by overwriting files if they exist in the selected download folder. So, instead of ending up with duplicate files ending with (1), (2) and so on, you end up with a single file.

The extension will overwrite files with identical names even if the content is not identical. This makes it a rather specialized extension, one that is probably only of use to users who experience issues regularly with duplicate downloads.

Another option that you have is to enable download prompts in Chrome. This gives you flexibility when it comes to duplicate files.

Now You: How do you handle duplicate file downloads?

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Downloads Overwrite Already Existing Files
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  1. Anonymous said on January 23, 2018 at 2:41 am

    The extension “Downloads Overwrite Already Existing Files” solves this problem in Chrome. However The File Manager in chrome os still works the old (and stupid) way. I am forced to delete the current files before copying or downloading anything into the Download directory.

  2. Ted said on January 9, 2017 at 2:21 pm

    If you are tired of your ISP giving you copyright infringement warnings only watch pirated movies and go to porn sites with Firefox. I use 64bit with the new Font Fingerprinting Protection activated. I have all the security add-ons installed too. Why do you think the TOR Project only offers Firefox as their client?

  3. A41202813GMAIL said on January 8, 2017 at 12:48 am

    The Default Is No Problem For Me – I Have An Utility Called ZTREE That Quickly Allows The Bit By Bit Comparison Of 2 Files And Renaming Lots Of Them In Bulk.

    It Is Nice To Have Options Against Defaults, Though.


  4. Guest703 said on January 7, 2017 at 8:22 pm

    Thank you for this addon. Duplicate file names everywhere on files downloaded through Chrome were one of the major reasons why I’ve avoided switching from Firefox to Chrome. Of course I still won’t switch, Firefox is still too powerful compared with Chrome, but maybe one day.

    Or maybe Firefox will be better than Chrome. I suspect this may be the case once Servo/Rust starts getting serious.

  5. Russ said on January 6, 2017 at 5:05 pm

    If only this worked reliably all the time. What I find is it often does NOT ask where to put a download and instead puts it in the sub-directory it last put a file in. Then I have to go find the file, because I might not remember where that last directory was, and then move the file to the correct location. I must be missing something, if only I knew what!

    Note: I’m using a Chromebook if that matters.

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