How-To Geek

Reset Open/Save Choice for Internet Explorer Downloads in Vista

If you’ve removed the checkbox from the “Always ask before opening this type of file” on the downloads window and now you no longer get the dialog that says “Do you want to open or save this file?” then you are in luck, because I’ve got the answer for you.

There is a registry setting that controls the list of which files you’ve chosen to automatically open, which means if you uncheck this box the default will be to always open the file, which is why you don’t get the option to save the files anymore.


Manual Registry Hack

To manually make this change, we need to open up regedit.exe through the start menu search box, and then browse down to the following search key:


Once there, you’ll notice keys in the right-hand pane for each file type. To reset the setting for each, just delete that particular one from the list. The changes will be immediate.


Downloadable Reset All Download Choices Hack

If you want to just reset all of the choices, I’ve provided a registry hack file that will reset all of the choices for all file types. If you want more granular control you should use the manual method outlined above.

Note: Using this registry hack will delete information from your registry that isn’t easily recoverable. You should consider doing a registry backup before doing this. Of course, if you are in the registry doing a backup, you may as well use the manual method.

Download ResetAllDownloadChoices Registry Hack

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 09/15/07

Comments (38)

  1. rbailin

    You can also change this setting by opening Windows Explorer, going to Tools–>Folder Options–>File Types, selecting the registered file type you wish to change (ZIP), clicking the Advanced button and checking the box for “Confirm open after download”.


  2. The Geek


    You are absolutely correct for Windows XP, but that doesn’t work in Windows Vista… =)

  3. rbailin

    Bummer. One step forward, 3 steps back.


  4. Matt

    I don’t have the attachmentexecute registry. what can i do? the download provided also did nothing…

  5. Steve Ives

    THANK YOU SO MUCH :) This has been driving me NUTS for a couple of months now, and FINALLY a solution. Once again – thanks :)

  6. Aaron


    I tried the solutions that were on Google for IE7, and finally thought I would try a Vista solution, just to see if it would clue me into what I needed. This worked flawlessly on IE7, exactly as you described.

  7. Wendy

    I don’t know what else to do. I have IE6 I no longer have the option of opening documents, I have to save everything. I tried going to My Computer, and doing the changes above, that didn’t work. Yes, I restarted. I don’t have this problem in Outlook, only IE.

  8. Nick


  9. Deep


    Nice option worked like a charm. The reg edit option also worked on XP. don’t about VISTA.


  10. Storm

    Thank you :)

  11. naren

    thanks a lot..
    been fighting with this problem for months.. finally solved it.

  12. Jason

    I may have another alternative to help you out. This worked on VISTA BUSINESS

    Scroll down and click on .WAV
    Click on BROWSE
    Double click IEXPLORE.EXE
    Make sure that INTERNET EXPLORER is highlighted
    Click OK
    Click CLOSE

  13. Jason

    Update: The steps above worked for me until I installed iTunes. It seems iTunes does something else in the background.

  14. Jason

    Please ignore my post above about an alternative. Although these settings will give you the option of saving the file, if you choose to open the file it will put you in an infinite loop of open/save, until you cancel.


  15. Jason

    Has anyone else that doesnt have the attachmentexecute registry entry been able to resolve this? I’ve even tried adding the key and binary value to see if that would help, and it hasn’t.

  16. Jennifer

    I have a similar issue but can’t find a solution. I turned off the prompt in the dialog box when I click Save Target As… Now when I right click, I do not get an option of where to save the target file. It just downloads automatically and I have no idea where. Can you help me hack my registry file to reset this preference? Also – the link above for resetting all registry settings – I can’t download it because when I right click – it automatically saves it somewhere on my computer. Can’t find it using search and have no idea what is happening.

    Thanks in advance!

  17. Jennifer

    Nevermind… I just restarted my computer and all is fixed. Yay!

  18. Eva

    You’re awesome. Really. Thanks!

  19. Tallaras

    I recently had this problem in Vista and did not have the AttachmentExecute registry key available. I eventually managed to resolve by changing the EditFlags data to 00 00 00 00 under HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CompressedFolder

  20. antonio sanchez

    buenas , muchas gracias funciono a la perfeccion S.O. win vista

  21. Kaitlynn

    Thank you! Nothing else worked!

  22. vin

    top man!

  23. buttman

    Thank you so much, this was a terrible design move by microsoft and was very frustrating to me, thank you.

  24. suddenattck

    i downloaded the suddenattack hacks and the thing is i only can save but cant open
    also slike white paper with internet symbol i cant that!!!!
    can u please tell me where to download that?

  25. THANKS!!

    Thank you SOOOO much for this, I cant belive how long it took to find a soulition for this!, there should be another box to tick, to set it back to normal.

    Thank you so much <3

  26. joe

    Either this is badly dated or only works on some versions of vista: on my vista there is no such key, “Shell” only contains the folders Associations, BagMRU, Bags, and MuiCache. So I’m SOL.

  27. Aravind

    This worked for me !!!



  28. bijay

    well my computer downloads everything its after the downloads finishes the problems starts well after the download is complete well the either there is no downloaded file or the size is zero”0″ what can i do ti fix the problem i have an ie8 problem but i and not using ie8 at all but firefox but still this is my problem it driving me nuts plz can anyone help me out here

  29. Ken

    Thanks very much!

  30. Random Person

    Does this work for windows 7?

  31. Nir

    Thank you so much.
    I tried the XP way, and when that didn’t work I started looking in Windows Help (good luck finding a solution there).
    Figures that Microsoft would hide this deep inside the registry and remove any interface that existed in previous OSs.

    Thanks Again!

  32. Vasilich

    very usefull info, but…. does this work for windows mobile 6.1?
    The same problem :accidentally unchecked the box that allows me to save or open a downloaded file

  33. kevin


  34. Kazzrie

    Ummm…..I think this is related and I hope it is cause I need help! ;-)

    Everytime I save a zip file or in this case today, an exported file from WordPress, my Windows Vista wants to save it as ‘Internet Explorer’. I can never open these types of files. Even if I click ‘Save As’, it’s in a format that my computer cannot open unless I use WinZip. This just stated to happen, I used to be able to open anything easily.

    Does this make sense? Can you offer some advice?

    I’m trying to export my WordPress files so I can upload them to a new hosting plan.


  35. Kazzrie

    Part 2:

    from WordPress: Download Express File

    I found the file in my Downloads Folder.

    I clicked on ‘open with Calc

    Then nothing.

    but if I click on ‘Open’ it chooses to open in an Explorer browser.

    What’s up with that?

  36. Ann

    Thank you so much! it did work my windows 7 IE
    I have been getting headche the whole night for this one :)
    thank you :)

  37. Frank

    Okay, so how does one control the “Open” vs. “Save” feature of the Notification Bar in IE9?

    Specifically, I want files always “Opened” without asking when they come from the “Secure Zone”, or from a specific site.

  38. Bruno - Brasil

    Muito obrigado!!!
    solucionou o meu problema! só pelo regedit que deu certo!

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