IE9 not prompting to save downloaded CSV file, opens in Excel

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I am accessing a website that generates CSV files when I click a “download” link. Instead of prompting to “save or open”, IE 9 is going right ahead and trying to open the returned file in Excel. Since Excel is having trouble with the content of these CSV files, I’d like to save it instead.

I suppose I could change the default application for that file type to notepad or something; but I frequently want to open CSV files in Excel (just not these ones), and this seems like a global solution to a local problem. (I’m also not sure of the connection between file extension associations and mime type associations.)

I have found suggestions to change the extention settings in Windows Explorer > Folder options; but this is not present in Windows 7.

I’ve have found suggestions to open the IE Download dialog (Ctrl+J), right click on the file, and check “Always ask before opening this type of file”; but the file never shows up in the download dialog.

I have found suggestions to add a value with Excel.CSV name under HKCUSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsShellAttachmentExecute{0002DF01-0000-0000-C000-000000000046}; but the empty binary value always suggested is to prevent prompting, not to require it.

Most content I can find deals with users trying to prevent prompting, or to open the file in excel instead of IE (something I haven’t seen). Any suggestions to require IE to prompt to save a CSV file?


First option which I’m sure you’ve tried, is to right click the download link and click Save Target As… Depending on how the website is set up, that will allow you to save the file without opening it, or it will do nothing helpful.

Second option, is to enable download prompting, which you should be able to disable after downloading if you don’t like it. I don’t have internet explorer 9 anymore so I can’t test this but, you should be able to:

  1. In Internet Explorer, click Tools, and then click Internet Options.
  2. Click the Security tab.
  3. There are four security zones listed:

    • Internet
    • Local intranet
    • Trusted sites
    • Restricted sites

    Click the zone where you want to change the settings.

  4. Under Security level for this zone, click Custom Level.
  5. Under Downloads, under Automatic prompting for file downloads, click Enable, and then click OK two times.

This should make the Open or Save dialog pop up when you click the download link.

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