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Firefox Quick Tip: Change Donwloads Manager History Behavior

If you’ve been using Firefox since the old days, you may have noticed that in version 2 (Bon Echo), the downloads history list automatically clears itself. This is in contrast to the former behavior (say, in 1.5) where it retains the list. Now this became a performance issue since keeping a long list of downloaded items can hamper performance (one downside of Firefox is that it’s a resource hog).

Here are some ways to tweak this behavior.

Option 1 – The Easy Way

  • You can simply access Tools -> Options
  • In the Privacy tab check or uncheck “Remember what I last downloaded” option

Option 2 – The Expert Way

  • Access the about:config page.
  • Find the browser.download.manager.retention preference name
  • Double-click on it and enter any of the following values:
    • 0 – List clears upon download item completion
    • 1 – List clears upon browser exit
    • 2 – List clears only by clicking ‘Clean Up’ button
  • The changes take effect instantly
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