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Comments for Temporary files in Firefox on OSX

Excerpt: An annoyance with how Firefox and Thunderbird handles temporary files under OSX. Read the whole article…

Phil Ringnalda
February 2, 2006 8:33 PM

That's not "in the Mozilla trunk," it's "in the Core, in the trunk and 1.8 branch," and thus hiding away in your copy of Firefox (as long as you're using a 1.5.0.x build, anyway, and you surely are). What's missing is some instructions for the sort of super-hidden prefs the core hackers are fond of putting in. 1. Go to the URL about:config 2. Right/Control-click anywhere in the page, and select "New" - "Boolean" from the context menu. 3. In the dialog that pops up, type (eh, paste) browser.helperApps.deleteTempFileOnExit for the pref name, and then choose true for the value in the next dialog. 4. Enjoy seeing the litter cleaned up when you next quit Firefox.

Adam Kalsey
February 2, 2006 10:16 PM

Ah. I didn't think the 1.8b4 stuff was in Firefox. What else would be nice is the ability to change where those files end up. I'd think they should be in /tmp and not ~/Desktop. I don't often exit the browser or email client, so these files will essentially sit around until I restart, something that happens once a week or so. Any hidden pref for that you're aware of? I couldn't find anything in Bugzilla.

Adam Kalsey
February 2, 2006 10:36 PM

Phil pointed out via email that Mozilla uses OSX's default download directory as the place to store temp files. I looked at the code and there's no preference to change this setting (line 1519 of nsExternalHelperAppService.cpp if you care). You can, however change the OSX default download directory, although it's not particularly intuitive. Just change Safari's default download directory and Moz will start using that as the new temp file directory.

Hendrik
February 28, 2006 5:39 PM

Ah ! I am so glad to have found this. Firefox dumping stuff all over my Documents folder has been driving me nuts. Awesome!

Steve Love
April 18, 2006 9:34 AM

Thanks so much for posting this. There are days when I do nothing but open e-mail attachments in Thunderbird, which makes a huge mess of my desktop. One of my biggest frustrations is now solved.

Thomas
July 21, 2006 7:46 AM

Excellent, thanks for pointing out this dependency between Safari and Mozilla. I had this behaviour in Seamonkey or Mozilla two years ago, and suddenly it disappeared - probably because I changed the setting in Safari to a temp directory as well. Suddenly today it came back - probably because Safari had forgotten its preference, due to a full harddisk, or a unmounted external volume. Now I made a note in my Mozilla prefs directory ;)

Kyle Freeman
August 28, 2006 11:02 PM

w00t! Thanks for the awesome tip.

retrocool
October 5, 2006 5:19 AM

Is there a fix for this littering behaviour in Thunderbird? I tried changing the preference in Firefox, but this doesn't sort the 'bird! retrocool, london UK

Nick B
October 18, 2006 8:11 AM

Awesome tip! I would also like to note that these two methods can be combined. IE: Change the 'temp' folder with Safari, and actually make it a 'temp' folder by implementing the boolean operator in firefox's about:config settings. Then your desktop will be clear, and the temp folder will be erased every time you quit firefox, keeping your disk space freed up!

Zach S
November 3, 2006 7:22 AM

In Thunderbird 1.5 or later, about:config is accessed via "Thunderbird -> Preferences... -> Advanced -> General -> Config Editor (button)"

Ben
November 7, 2006 4:00 PM

So does this fix work with FF 2.0 as well? I've tried it and I can't seem to figure out if it does or not. Thanks.

Zach S
December 8, 2006 10:24 AM

Yes this works with FF 2.0

Sebti
December 28, 2006 7:40 AM

Hi Zach and others, Thanks so much for these hints. The proposed solutions (redirection of the temporary files directory) works fine with FireFox, and Thunderbird, but deleting these temp. files works only on FFox. I tried to create a new variable: app.helperApps.deleteTempFileOnExit and set it to true, as suggested by Zach and Phil, but it does not work. May be the name of the variable should be something else. I appreciate any help. thanks,

Sebti
December 28, 2006 8:03 AM

Finaly, the above hints are also working with thunderbird. again, thanks so much for these awsome tips. Regards, Sebti

David Goldenberg
January 29, 2007 2:33 PM

Hi, I just stumbled onto this connection between Safari and Thunderbird myself. I would *really* like to be able to have separate folders for things that I download in Safari versus Thunderbird attachments. Does anyone have any idea how this might be done? Can downloads from Firefox be kept separate from Thunderbird attachments. That might be enough to make me switch to Firefox! Thanks very much for any suggestions

Eric
February 23, 2007 2:44 PM

Adam, thanks for the post and the ensuing thread. This has been a very annoying bug that I no longer have to worry about.

Hannes Tydn
May 5, 2007 9:09 AM

Many thanks!

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