How to disable Panel Based Download Manager in Firefox 20

by Venkat eswarlu on February 25, 2013

in Firefox,How to

First beta for Firefox 20 has been released and available for download which has replaced old download manager UI with Panel-based download manager and has been activated by default. If you’ve downloaded the beta version and don’t like new download manager UI/Downloads Panel and its icon you can disable it easily and revert back old downloads UI, here is how.

Mozilla is offering new Downloads Panel since almost eight months for now in nightly/aurora/beta channel (not enabled by default though). Current Download Manager in stable version shows progress of downloads in a separate pop up window where new one integrated with Firefox browser window shows download progress in a panel with its icon on navigational toolbar.

Annoyance with the Panel Based Download Manager and temporary fix for it

Download icon which appears to extreme right of toolbar shows progress of download stealing the focus when you work on other tabs and you can hide that icon by dragging and dropping onto customize toolbar window. You can still able to see progress of downloads by pressing ctrl+ J  button which opens library window.

Panel based download manager in Firefox thumb How to disable Panel Based Download Manager in Firefox 20

Permanently/completely disable Downloads Panel in Firefox and get Old separate window for downloads back

1. Visit about:config

2.  Turn preference value to true.

3. Restart the browser for the changes to take effect.

4. Now Downloads Panel has been disabled and new downloads initiated from now onwards will appear in separate window. However Downloads icon still appear on toolbar so drag and drop it onto toolbar layout window to hide.

old downloads window in Firefox 20 thumb How to disable Panel Based Download Manager in Firefox 20

Do you like Downloads Panel? do you think you can able to adopt and use it in long run?share with us in comments.


{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Marek April 3, 2013 at 5:24 am

The problem with this icon is that there’s percentage or time displayed. Time computation is worthless unless you have a very fast connection with no QoS (I think fast academic connections late at night may, in some rare cases, have this situation). Percentage gives no information about what’s really happening with files unless you stare at it for few minutes.
I worked the best combination for me: Traditional download manager shows percentage and file count in tab, while speed, MBytes left and time (as usual, estimated +/- 200%) is displayed in bottom right of status bar by another extension.


John Derek April 4, 2013 at 5:31 am

Thank you VERY MUCH for this quick, effective solution.

I wish Firefox developers would stop forcing changes and unasked for features to their user base, and instead used a more restrained and optional approach to new features, asking the user about them at the time of update. This behaviour will end up being the demise of Firefox.


Venkat eswarlu April 4, 2013 at 8:52 am

You’re welcome John, we too don’t like New Download Manager that’s why we’ve provided way to disable it.


lyta April 4, 2013 at 10:22 pm

I dislike the new panel.

I use Download Panel, and with the new (and no good) feature I can’t use it.
I would be good a switch to choose what’s happend if I press the arrowdown icon.

Thanks for the solution!!!


Maurice April 7, 2013 at 11:44 pm

Thank you for this useful tip. But I for me it’s not enough to restore the old downlad manager as it was before firefox update, because now it’s empty and does not show the previous download history. Do you knon if it’s possible to make it read the old history with all my previous downloads? Any help is appreciated.


Mark April 14, 2013 at 1:06 am

I prefer the old behaviour, but thankfully (unlike a certain other browser) Mozilla gives us the option to go back to previous layouts (even if they do hide it!)


Dee April 15, 2013 at 3:23 am

I upgraded to Firefox 20.0.1 last Friday and couldn’t wait to discover that I could retrieve the old Download Manager window. HOWEVER…I soon discovered why I dislike more than ever now a feature that Firefox changed quite some time ago in the Tools/Options/Privacy section where it says “Remember my browsing and download history”. I never could understand why they combined “both” histories together for “one” checkbox. I want them listed separately because I want to keep my browsing history for awhile since it shows me the different colored links from where I clicked already, BUT I do NOT want to keep the download history…so having both of those histories together to check or uncheck defeats having a choice in the matter of which history you want to keep or delete for the current moment.

After changing the about:config to “true” for retrieving the old Download Manager, I discovered that the NEW Download Manager is located in the Bookmarks/Library location and ALSO displays your downloads whenever you download stuff. I had thought by bringing back the old Download Manager that it would override the new manager, but that is not the case; you simply get to use the old manager…and at the same time, the new manager is also working simultaneously, and when downloads finish, I could clear my old manager, BUT the new manager STILL displayed the download, so that meant I had to clear “two” download managers.

THEN I thought I had found a fix for making that new manager clear itself upon completion of a download by going into about:config and changing an entry from the default of “2″ over to “0″ with this entry:
…and – voila – the downloads in the NEW manager in the Bookmarks/Library location ALSO cleared itself immediately after downloads occurred and I didn’t need to bother with it any longer.

Oops! Um…unfortunately, you must also have that “Remember my browsing and download history” checkbox under Tools/Options/Privacy “unchecked” for this to occur…HOWEVER…by unchecking that box with BOTH histories listed, I lost the ability to keep my browsing history active; meaning, I no longer could have access to my clicked links turning a different shade of color to alert me of which links I had already checked!

Since I do NOT wish to give up the handy links changing colors when I click on them during my searches, this now means that even though I can use the old download manager, I will STILL need to go into the Bookmarks/Library location and also clear the Downloads there, too…if I want the downloads cleared immediately (and I do).

Does anyone know why Firefox combined BOTH the browsing history and the download history into one checkbox instead of keeping them each with their own separate checkbox…so that people like me could have a choice in which one we wanted to keep active at any given situation?

P.S. I think users should also have the option to completely “disable” the new downloads manager. By the way, if there is a way we can do this, I would sure like to know!


Letze01 April 15, 2013 at 12:49 pm

Thanks for sharing this info.

I prefer using the old layout. Thanks mozilla for giving us the possibility to choose, other than e.g. Microsoft…


Venkat eswarlu April 16, 2013 at 10:30 am

You’re welcome Letze01, Mozilla here though forcing users with Downloads panel as you said they’re at least offering option to get rid of it.


Jeremy April 15, 2013 at 7:34 pm

Thank you so much! The new download page was so slow, it would freeze my browser for several seconds any time I wanted to see my download speed or anything, it’s good to have things back to normal.


Venkat eswarlu April 16, 2013 at 10:28 am

Seems most users don’t like New download manager, glad in knowing our article is helping users to revert back to Firefox old download manager, personally I too don’t like it. You’re welcome Jeremy.


Jeffrey April 17, 2013 at 8:57 pm

Thank you for this quick and easy fix! My main problem with the new download panel is that it doesn’t show the actual speed unless you open the HUGE library view. I hope the traditional download window will remain available in future updates.


Agent April 19, 2013 at 5:11 am

Any word on how to get rid of the actual button? I used the trick above and now I am using the traditional download box, but the ugly icon still appears next to my home button, and I find myself clicking it when I need to go HOME.

Thanks for the tip!



AN other April 24, 2013 at 3:25 pm

New download panel is rubbish. No warning when you close firefox if you have existing downloads. Should set download.manager.quitBehavior 2 as default with the inclusion of the download panel – serious oversight.


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