How to switch back to Firefox's old download manager

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Firefox 20 adds a handy new Download button.

If you're a Firefox user, you may have noticed a few changes in the latest version of Mozilla's browser, which "turned 20" last week.

Among them: a new Download Manager. It's a small tweak, and I'd say one for the better, but as I noted in Monday's post about Google Chrome's bookmark spacing, not everybody appreciates sudden and unrequested changes.

First, let's talk about what's new. At the right edge of the search bar, alongside the Home button (unless you've moved it), you'll see a new Downloads button.

In Firefox 20, Download Manager is now a part of Library.

When you're downloading a file, that button changes to a progress meter, showing you the time remaining. And if you click it, you'll see a drop-down menu with your three most recent downloads. That's pretty handy, in my opinion.

Previously, you had to press Ctrl-J to bring up Firefox's download manager, which is still the keyboard shortcut—except that now download manager is part of the Library, home of your browser history, tags, and bookmarks.

No like? No problem. Here's how to bring back the old standalone download manager:

1. Open a new tab.

2. Type about:config, then press Enter.

3. Paste the following into the search field:

4. Under the Value field, right-click false and then click Toggle. That should set the Value to "true."

5. Restart Firefox.

Now, when you click that Download button or hit Ctrl-J, you'll get the old-school download manager. And if you decide you prefer the new one after all, just repeat the process.

Which one do you think you'll use?

Contributing Editor Rick Broida writes about business and consumer technology. Ask for help with your PC hassles at, or try the treasure trove of helpful folks in the PC World Community ForumsSign up to have the Hassle-Free PC newsletter e-mailed to you each week.

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