How do I download a file from the Internet?

DownloadIn the example below we're using Microsoft Internet Explorer as the example because it is one of the more commonly used browsers today. Although not all browsers use the same steps, following these steps should help answer many of your questions about downloading a file.

  1. To download a file through a website, first click on the link for the file you want to download, in some cases the website may automatically start the download process after waiting a few seconds.
  2. Next, the browser should prompt you on what to do with the file. Unless you immediately want to run the program, it is recommended you select the option to save the file and place the file somewhere you're going to remember. For Windows users we suggest saving the file to the desktop.
  3. After the file has been downloaded, if the file is an executable file, double-click the file to start the setup of the program. Many times, however, the file is a compressed file and requires another program be run to extract the file's contents before the setup for the program can be run.
  4. Finally, it is important to realize that files on the Internet may contain computer viruses; the best method in protecting yourself from computer viruses is to make sure your virus scanner is up to date. Additional information and help about computer viruses can be found on our virus help page.

Try Now

Below is a link that allows you to practice downloading a file called This file is an executable file that opens a window and prints a message indicating that it was successfully downloaded. Unfortunately, because of how this file was made it only works on computers running Microsoft Windows.

 Click here to test downloading a file

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