In early August, Google changed the way Chrome displays download notifications. Instead of files being shown as big rectangular buttons in a bar at the bottom of the screen, the information is now much more discreetly tucked in the upper right-hand corner. A single, small icon shows both your progress and completion status, along with a dropdown list of recent downloads when clicked on.
But if you’re finding this update difficult to adjust to, you can reverse it. As The Verge discovered, you just have to take a quick jump into Chrome’s secret settings—also known as flags. These are experimental settings that let you really fine-tune how Chrome behaves. Generally you won’t touch these flags unless you need to, since experimental sometimes can work out to ‘behaves in unexpected ways,’ but for this specific instance, it solves our problem.
Here’s how you switch back to Chrome’s old method of download notifications:
In the address bar, enter this URL: chrome://flags/#download-bubble
This link will jump you straight to Enable download bubble, the setting that affects how your download notifications appear in Chrome.
Change the dropdown menu option to Disabled.
Chrome should now behave as it did before the update, with download status showing in a bar at the bottom of your screen.
Still have a lingering sense of dissatisfaction with Chrome? You can pretty quickly improve your experience further—like speeding it up using our tips, or adding extensions that make browsing the web easier. It doesn’t take much time to make these tweaks, either.
Alaina Yee is PCWorld's resident bargain hunter—when she's not covering software, PC building, and more, she's scouring for the best tech deals. Previously her work has appeared in PC Gamer, IGN, Maximum PC, and Official Xbox Magazine. You can find her on Twitter at @morphingball.