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The fix when Firefox won’t let you cancel a download

It’s frustrating when Firefox won’t let you cancel a download. It took me a while to find a solution, but I found one.

Here’s some background. I started downloading this monster file the other day, not realizing I didn’t have enough disk space to store the blasted thing. So I went to cancel it. The problem was, it wouldn’t completely cancel. It would keep trying to download until it filled up my disk, at which point other terrible things would happen. I couldn’t cancel the download, I couldn’t pause it, and I couldn’t delete it.

The solution, as it turns out, is to close Firefox. Next, go into your profile. To find it quickly in Windows, you can hit the Windows key + R, type %appdata% and hit OK, then navigate to Mozilla, then Firefox, then profiles. My profile was in a directory named wtkz7xzy.default. Yours will be similar. On a Mac or Linux box, your profile is probably in your home directory.

One you’re looking at your profile, locate the file called downloads.sqlite, and delete it. When you launch Firefox again, the list of downloads will be blank, and the download that wouldn’t go away will be among the casualties. And that will stop the endless loop like I had, or other bad Firefox behavior.

More tips

If Firefox has gotten a bit sluggish on you, I have a number of proven tips to speed up Firefox.

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