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How do I stop IE 11 from renaming downloads RRS feed

  • Question

  • IE 11 renames files. For instance, .exe files become _exe, .zip become _zip. This is happening on Win 7 Ultimate-64-bit, Win 7 Pro 64-bit, and Win 8.1 Update.

    This interferes with my ability to get updates to my Visual Studio and many other programming tools.

    IE 11 won't even support the Akami system used by MS.

    As far as I know all the security settings are set to allow downloads. Windows Firewall is configured to tell me when it blocks a program.

    I read an earlier blog post from the IE Team that says this problem is due to some sites being creative!?!

    The latest Firefox has no issues downloading.


    M Whipps

    Tuesday, April 22, 2014 4:07 PM

Answers

  • I've found that there is a very specific cause for this.

    If you have pending Windows Update downloads available, any executable downloads from other sites get renamed from .exe and .msi to _exe and _msi.  

    Once you download and install the updates, the problem goes away.

    A secondary characteristic that we've noticed on our web site is that when you're in this state (pending Windows Update downloads available), that all sans serif fonts on our site display as serifed fonts.  Once the updates are installed, the fonts return to normal too.

    Unfortunately, I haven't found a registry key or any flag that indicates that pending downloads are available, short of going into Windows Update and checking, although I guess all that would take is using Process Monitor to see what reg keys get touched.

    • Marked as answer by 9gwcycn Thursday, May 5, 2016 8:15 PM
    Thursday, May 5, 2016 12:09 AM

All replies

  • Hi,

    Are you able to manually change the name back when you download the files? Try to change the the location to save the files, then what is the result?

    If you've enabled IE protected mode, then I would suggest you turn it off, test this issue again. Tools\Internet Options\Security.
    Or test this issue in no add-ons mode, run %ProgramFiles%\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe -extoff.


    Yolanda Zhu
    TechNet Community Support

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014 5:18 AM
    Moderator
  • Thank you for the reply, Yolanda.

    I am manually able to change some files but that defeats the purpose, doesn't it? IE should be able to NOT rename the file, as it used to.

    When I turn off IE Protected Mode I am nagged with every page, making IE 11 unusable.

    What I'm hearing from you is this behavior is by design and we just have to live with it?

    Firefox does not have these issues.

    It is rather hard to promote Microsoft products as a Partner when the products don't work and we have to install competitors products to achieve the desired functionality.


    M Whipps

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014 4:59 PM
  • Do you mean that IE becomes unusable after turning protected mode? it should not be like that. and of couse, "rename downloaded file" is not the default behavour, I have IE 11 in my Windows 7, it works fine, I suggest you peform a security scan instead and check whether IE got infected by some malware. and what is the result in no add-ons mode? if all fails, reset IE as a test, plaese note that some of your IE settings will be lost.

    Forget to mention a point, please also clear the IE download history in Internet Options\Delete..., then tick download history.


    Yolanda Zhu
    TechNet Community Support


    Friday, April 25, 2014 7:04 AM
    Moderator
  • IE 11 renames files. For instance, .exe files become _exe, .zip become _zip. This is happening on Win 7 Ultimate-64-bit, Win 7 Pro 64-bit, and Win 8.1 Update.

    I have no such problem on any of my Win7 or Win8.1 or Win8.1u1 machines. Nor do my many colleagues.
    Nor is it a common refrain here in the forums.

    I'd suspect you have some other product, or configuration, or perhaps some "security" product, which is causing this?

    Could you confirm the reference to "an earlier blog post from the IE Team" please?
    (there may be some websites which send an unexpected content-type if they sniff the browser is IE?)


    Don
    (Please take a moment to "Vote as Helpful" and/or "Mark as Answer", where applicable.
    This helps the community, keeps the forums tidy, and recognises useful contributions. Thanks!)

    Friday, April 25, 2014 7:42 AM
  • Thanks for your answer, Don.

    This issue seems to be fairly widely discussed outside of these forums. Here is a link: http://www.eightforums.com/general-support/34486-can-t-open-exe-files-windows-8-1-without-renaming.html

    I cited a blog post about IE 9, not 11. Sorry. Here it is

    http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/ie/forum/ie9-windows_7/ie9-download-renames-file-extensions-to-exe-from/6756c5cd-2c88-4a4c-a128-16177050aaff

    We only run Microsoft Security Essentials. Machines are scanned nightly.

    This behavior happens on some pretty major sites like Adobe.com, and the Microsoft Partner sites.

    The common denominator in my systems is they all have Visual Studio 2013. I have no idea even if that could be a factor.

    Actually I've experienced other odd behavior with IE 11 and downloads. On  www.wellsfargo.com I tried to download a Quicken file QFX and IE asked if I wanted to save what appeared to be the PHP command instead of the file.


    M Whipps

    Friday, April 25, 2014 4:00 PM
  • Yes, Yolanda, it becomes unusable. I get a message about my security settings put my computer at risk with every page load or refresh.

    We only use Microsoft Security Essentials and the machines are scanned nightly. I am running another scan on this machine now.

    This problem has been reported before in IE 9. Please see my answer to Don for more.

    My download history has been cleared.


    M Whipps

    Friday, April 25, 2014 4:04 PM
  • Thanks for your answer, Don.

    This issue seems to be fairly widely discussed outside of these forums. Here is a link: http://www.eightforums.com/general-support/34486-can-t-open-exe-files-windows-8-1-without-renaming.html

    I cited a blog post about IE 9, not 11. Sorry. Here it is

    http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/ie/forum/ie9-windows_7/ie9-download-renames-file-extensions-to-exe-from/6756c5cd-2c88-4a4c-a128-16177050aaff

    We only run Microsoft Security Essentials. Machines are scanned nightly.

    This behavior happens on some pretty major sites like Adobe.com, and the Microsoft Partner sites.

    The common denominator in my systems is they all have Visual Studio 2013. I have no idea even if that could be a factor.

    Actually I've experienced other odd behavior with IE 11 and downloads. On  www.wellsfargo.com I tried to download a Quicken file QFX and IE asked if I wanted to save what appeared to be the PHP command instead of the file.


    M Whipps

    Hmm, the common thread (it seems to me), is the relationship to downloads over https/ssl.

    I can see why EricLaw picked out the "it's not best practise to rely on quirks[defects]" http://blogs.msdn.com/b/ieinternals/archive/2010/09/22/cache-control-and-pragma-quirks-in-internet-explorer.aspx

    So, assuming yours is enabled, have you considered, or tried, disabling "do not save encrypted pages to disk"?
    Are you seeing this occur for "Trusted Sites"?
    Is EPM on or off for the applicable browser zone?
    Do you have any BHOs, browser-toolbars, browser-plugins (other than default MS items)?
    (I'm not able to pick up on your point about Akamai, their stuff mostly works for me, but it's well known to give trouble for MSDN downloads and TechNet downloads, amongst others)


    Don
    (Please take a moment to "Vote as Helpful" and/or "Mark as Answer", where applicable.
    This helps the community, keeps the forums tidy, and recognises useful contributions. Thanks!)

    Friday, April 25, 2014 10:21 PM
  • Hi Don,

    The do not save... option is not checked

    EPM is on. I tried with it off but no change (other than being nagged with every page:)).

    I'm not sure what a "BHO" is but I disable all plug-ins except the Adobe one.

    The Akamai issue is IE refuses to do anything with it. IE is non-responsive yet no error/exception is thrown as far as I can tell because Windows does not put up the "not-responding" tag and Task Manager shows nothing.


    M Whipps

    Friday, April 25, 2014 11:06 PM
  • I'm not sure what a "BHO" is but I disable all plug-ins except the Adobe one.

    Oops, sorry for the acronym.

    Browser Helper Object (BHO):
    A small program installed as an add-on component to Microsoft's Internet Explorer web browser and designed to customise its behaviour in some way.

    Here's an example from one of my Win7+IE11 machines


    Don
    (Please take a moment to "Vote as Helpful" and/or "Mark as Answer", where applicable.
    This helps the community, keeps the forums tidy, and recognises useful contributions. Thanks!)

    • Marked as answer by Roger LuModerator Tuesday, May 6, 2014 2:28 AM
    • Unmarked as answer by 9gwcycn Tuesday, May 6, 2014 3:44 PM
    Friday, April 25, 2014 11:23 PM
  • I don't know why you marked this as an answer Roger. I said I had one BHO - the one from Adobe. It's clearly not a BHO issue.

    I have managed to resolve the problem by setting every site to compatibility mode, a fix I stumbled upon when a government site told me to use that mode to interact with it.

    FWIW IE 11 causes more problems than any other IE release that I can remember. It fails to work with too many sites and it is, frankly, terribly egotistical of Microsoft to simply say that the sites need to update their code. If I told that to my customers they would surely go somewhere else.

    You need to find a way to make it work if you want people to continue using it.


    M Whipps

    Tuesday, May 6, 2014 3:59 PM
  • I have the same problem. And it takes to a couple of times to download any files. Here's the best part. I recently paid for a support incident with PSS and couldn't download the desktop sharing app with IE 11. I had to download it with chrome. I told the PSS person that they should be embarrassed, he didn't get it. 
    Monday, October 20, 2014 12:44 PM
  • I have the same issue with IE 11 on Windows 8.1. The only way to fix this annoying issue it to force IE to re-create  its user profile.  Why? Because if you create another user in your system and run IE there the issue will be gone.

    Obviously I don't want to create new user profiles each time IE gets broken. So anyone please tell me how to remove IE local profile? What to delete in registry, what to delete in %AppData% folder, etc.

     No do not suggest to reset IE settings. Your usual reply "turn it off and on again" cannot fix this issue.

    Friday, January 23, 2015 10:05 PM
  • only way to fix this annoying issue it to force IE to re-create  its user profile.  Why? Because if you create another user in your system and run IE there the issue will be gone.

    So, why not run ProcMon to figure out the significant difference in the two cases?   Then you will know what registry change you need to make for yourself.   <eg>



    Robert Aldwinckle
    ---

    Saturday, January 24, 2015 2:40 PM
    Answerer
  • Too much hassle. Will uninstalling IE help? Windows doesn't actually remove IE from the system but does it remove IE profile?

    Sunday, January 25, 2015 12:10 AM
  • There's actually more to this issue.

    In addition to renaming files, IE 11 also returns command strings, not the download, on some sites. This happens on americanexpress.com, chase.com and wellsfargo.com which are very large and very professionally written sites. Presumably all three cannot be using "quirks".

    Chase.com actually told me that they don't support IE any more.

    When you command a download, for example to a PDF or QFX file, what you get is the command that was sent to the server, not the file.

    So IE 11 is returning the POST string, not the result of the POST.

    You know I'm not sure there's anything we can do other than switch to another browser.

    I think there is a deliberate action by MS to stop supporting "old" web technologies but I don't understand to what end.

    Murray


    M Whipps

    Monday, January 26, 2015 4:19 PM
  • IE 11 also returns command strings, not the download, on some sites.

    If you trace that, even with the Developer Tools, you would surely see that the server was more involved than just what you see IE "doing" externally.

    FWIW trying to find a repro from the symptom description so far I did

    BING search for:   filetype:pdf  site:wellsfargo.com

    Then, with the first result, did a Save As and saw a prompt which ended with .PDF.  

    Got a better, publicly accessible, example?



    Robert Aldwinckle
    ---

    Monday, January 26, 2015 5:43 PM
    Answerer
  • Thanks for that research Robert.

    I haven't got a publicly-available site you could use for a test, I'm afraid.

    The apparent common denominator for this type of error (as opposed to the renaming error) is the site has to create something to download.

    For instance, I request a credit card statement in PDF (and I presume the sites don't maintain PDFs for all their customers - the storage would be too huge -) it's created on the fly.

    The strings IE returns look like Ruby/Python or some other web language. I can't say for sure because I am a VB/SQL programmer doing business-critical back-end apps and have almost zero web coding experience. But they look like samples I've seen. As I recall 1, I saw had curly-braces.

    Murray


    M Whipps

    Monday, January 26, 2015 6:16 PM
  • I was able to replicate the problem by going to Adobe, and attempting to update my flash player. The first download you get is for their download manager... when I try to hit run/open, it is unable, so I saved it and noticed that it was renamed to *_exe

    Hope that helps.

    Thursday, February 5, 2015 12:48 AM
  • when I try to hit run/open, it is unable, so I saved it and noticed that it was renamed to *_exe

    Good tip.  I tried it with Adobe Acrobat but evidently they don't know how to deal with EPM + 64-bit tabs.  <eg>

    I'll try to remember to test this when I am out of EPM.

    BTW for Flash Adobe was just offering me .MSU files which probably would not produce the symptom.  In any case I think that I probably already have the update being offered.



    Robert Aldwinckle
    ---

    Thursday, February 5, 2015 5:00 AM
    Answerer
  • Fixed the issue by removing IE from Windows Components and deleting "%AppData%\..\Local\Microsoft\Internet Explorer" folder. Then I added IE again to Windows Components.

    And now it works fine. File extensions don't get renamed, login sessions survive closing the browser or rebooting.

    Also I didn't lose passwords or history using this method.

    • Proposed as answer by TomazicM Friday, October 14, 2016 6:37 AM
    Friday, February 6, 2015 4:06 AM
  • I may have found a cure. In Add ons, Toolbars and Extensions I disabled the Microsoft service HtmlDlgSafeHelperClass and I have been able to download a couple of executables. I won't swear lt's completely fixed, but it looks good at the moment.

    J R Weymouth

    Friday, April 3, 2015 12:13 AM
  • I previously 'reinstalled' IE11, but was able to fix the renaming issue by closing all IE windows, renaming the  "%AppData%\..\Local\Microsoft\Internet Explorer" folder to hide it and re-opening IE.  Links to PDF, etc, now work as expected.
    Wednesday, August 5, 2015 12:45 PM
  • Reset IE to default values and reboot it always works for me.  
    Tuesday, November 17, 2015 10:06 PM
  • I was having this same issue. IE11 was renaming exe files and I was also have issues opening PDF in browser (because they download to the temp folder first and then open for viewing). What I did to fix this was uninstalled the IE11 update and then went back in and reinstalled the update. Not sure what the problem was, perhaps the first install did quite download correctly and a file got corrupted? But that has fixed this issue for me. Hopefully it will help you. Before that I had tried lowering every security setting I could find, my downloads were enabled, enhanced protected mode was not checked, opening IE without add-ons, opening IE in safe mode, renaming the IE folder and letting it rebuild, nothing had worked. Uninstall/reinstall did. Good luck.
    Friday, March 4, 2016 6:01 PM
  • Thanks for the reply.

    The .EXE issue seems to have resolved itself. As for PDF's I recommend the latest Acrobat Reader DC. It seems to "get along" with IE 11.

    Murray


    M Whipps

    Friday, March 4, 2016 8:16 PM
  • I've found that there is a very specific cause for this.

    If you have pending Windows Update downloads available, any executable downloads from other sites get renamed from .exe and .msi to _exe and _msi.  

    Once you download and install the updates, the problem goes away.

    A secondary characteristic that we've noticed on our web site is that when you're in this state (pending Windows Update downloads available), that all sans serif fonts on our site display as serifed fonts.  Once the updates are installed, the fonts return to normal too.

    Unfortunately, I haven't found a registry key or any flag that indicates that pending downloads are available, short of going into Windows Update and checking, although I guess all that would take is using Process Monitor to see what reg keys get touched.

    • Marked as answer by 9gwcycn Thursday, May 5, 2016 8:15 PM
    Thursday, May 5, 2016 12:09 AM
  • Thanks for the insight.

    The behavior makes total sense with respect to installer files but blocking .exes is harder to fathom.

    I appreciate your help.

    Murray


    M Whipps

    Thursday, May 5, 2016 8:23 PM
  • I think I just found the actual cause why running pending Windows Update downloads fixes the issue.  On our test machine, when the downloads were being renamed, I checked the running processes.  MSIEXEC was left running from a previous test.  Multiple tests showed that as long as it was left running, the downloads were renamed.

    As soon as I killed MSIEXEC, downloads worked properly.

    Thursday, May 5, 2016 11:31 PM