downloading a file

on my web site i will have a link. if the user clicks that link, the user should be able to download the file
i used <a href="XXXXX.xls"> and it worked. but if the file is a jpg or a gif, then it opens in the browser instead of downloading. is there some other way to to this?

i tried using< a href="file:///xxxx.xls">click here to download</a>

but i get an error. am i making some mistake?
RTKVSNLAsked:
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hongjunCommented:
Try using absolute path
example
<a href="file:///C:/xxxx.xls">click here to download</a>

hongjun
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RTKVSNLAuthor Commented:
i could do that... but on a web site, we always use virtual paths, not drive names
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hongjunCommented:
then use relative paths like this
< a href="../../xxxx.xls">click here to download</a>

if xxxx.xls is located 2 levels down.

hongjun
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hongjunCommented:
If you are using ASP, you can do something like this

<a href='<%=Server.MapPath("./yourvirtualpath/xxxx.xls")%>'>click here to download</a>


hongjun
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pepsichrisCommented:
The reason it opens is down to the user's settings on their computer rather than anything you can do.

You have 2 choices:

1) Compress the file into a ZIP file or similar, which will prompt them to download, but they'll have to unzip it once they've downloaded it (www.winzip.com).

2) Instruct them to do a Right click and select "Save Target As".

3) Instruct them to open the picture, right click and "Save Picture As".

4) Take the file extension off the file, and tell them to add it back on once they've downloaded it.

The first answer is generally considered to be the best.

This is one of those unfortunate things that we have no power over, like downloading/opening files from the web without a prompt box coming up.  These things are there for a reason (generally security, sometimes Browser interference).

Also, the XLS file will do the same if they have a plug in for Internet Explorer (or similar) so whatever you do for the pictures, you need to do for that.

Sorry, I know that wasn't the answer you wanted to hear.
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VrenoxCommented:
Hmm well in my experience sometimes the browser keeps opening the file.
They should always be able to dload the file by right-clicking the link and selecting save as.

Alternatively if you are using Asp you could make it available as a stream:
<a href='downloadimage.asp?strFile=Server.MapPath("./yourvirtualpath/xxxx.yyy")'></a>

downloadimage.asp:
Dim strFileName, strFile, Arr
strFile = Request("strFile")
Arr = Split(strFile, '\')
StrFileName = Arr(UBound(Arr))

Response.ContentType= "application/octet-stream"
 response.addHeader  "content-type", "application/octet-stream"
 response.addHeader  "content-disposition", "attachment; filename="&strFileName
  response.addHeader  "content-transfer-encoding", "binary"
 
   Dim streamobj
   Set streamobj = Server.CreateObject("ADODB.Stream")
   streamobj.Type = adTypeBinary
   streamobj.Open
   streamobj.LoadFromFile strFile
 
   Response.BinaryWrite streamobj.Read
 
   streamobj.Close
   Set streamobj = Nothing

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RTKVSNLAuthor Commented:
thank you all for the prompt answers. i will get back after trying out
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