If you have upgraded the Google Chrome browser to version 86, released on October 6, 2020, you may have noticed that some file downloads don't work anymore in the browser. You click on the download link and nothing happens. Chrome does not display a notification and there is virtually no information that explains what is happening, or not happening in this case. A check of the downloads page of the browser does not even list the file.
The fact that nothing happens can be confusing to users, as the expectation is that the download should begin after clicking on the link.
Google announced in early 2020 that it will block content that is served via the insecure HTTP if the originating page uses HTTPS. The company decided to roll out the feature gradually by adding more and more file types to the blocklist. Executable files, e.g. .exe or .bat, are the first file types to be blocked, and the release of Chrome 86 put that block in place. Future versions of Chrome will block non-executable file types such as PDF, ZIP, or JPG files.
There is only one option to find out if a download is blocked in Chrome, or if it is an unrelated problem, e.g. a server issue.
Below is a screenshot of such a message.
Now that it is clear what happened, it is essential to understand what your options are to download the file.
Right now, the easiest option available is to right-click on the download link and select "save link as". The download is executed when you do that.
There are other options, and it is possible that Google is blocking downloads via right-clicks as well in the future:
The blocked file types implementation lacks clarity and information. Users who don't know about the Developer Tools won't know why a file cannot be downloaded in Chrome. The right-click bypass may work for now, but it is not clear that it does and many users may not identify it as the sole option in Chrome to download blocked files. A clear warning, with the option to override, should be displayed instead, as users should be in control of the browser and not the other way around.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.