Internet Explorer 11 on Windows 10 "The file couldn't be downloaded" error message

Hello fellow Experts Exchange members:

I have a Windows 10 Pro PC running Internet Explorer 11 that was reset using the built-in functionality two weeks ago.

After reinstalling updates and applications, everything is working ... except for file downloads in Internet Explorer.

When the user attempts to download *any* file (text file, PDF, executable, Office document e.g. Word/Excel) in Internet Explorer, almost immediately the error message "%Filename% couldn't be downloaded".

Internet Explorer (and Windows) do not display any other details of the error besides that message, and there are no corresponding entries in any of the event logs.

However - and this is REALLY curious - Internet Explorer presents a "Retry" option.  If the user clicks "Retry", the file will be successfully downloaded IN ALL TESTED CASES.

I have checked the following regarding this issue:
  • Reset the Internet Explorer browser
  • Verified that the "Do not save encrypted pages to disk" security option is NOT checked
  • Launched the browser in safe mode with all add-ons disabled

However, even in safe mode, the errors continue to occur.  (And the file downloads are always permitted after the user clicks "Retry".)

Also, I am not sure if the following information is relevant, but when the user clicks on Download links to download text files and Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, the browser does not respond correctly.

As an example, one of the websites has a download button to download text files.  Internet Explorer opens the file download window when the user clicks the download button, but the file has no extension and the file type is "All files".  If the user types ".txt" after the filename, the file is saved correctly (after the Retry button on the error message is clicked); however, if the user tries to save the file as-is, the file is saved (again, after the Retry button is clicked) with no extension (and thus Windows prompts to select the program to open the file when the user double-clicks it to open it).

For another example, a different website has a download button to download Microsoft Excel spreadsheets.  The download link ends in "?download".  The Internet Explorer on the user's computer does not handle this correctly: clicking the Open button will result in a Microsoft Excel error message stating "The file that ends in ?Download couldn't be opened."

I have the user currently using the Google Chrome browser, and the user reports absolutely no issues downloading and opening files with that browser.  Both of the aforementioned websites work correctly: the text files are saved with the correct .txt extension and the Microsoft Excel spreadsheets open without any errors.  (However, the user prefers to use Internet Explorer.)

Have any Experts Exchange members encountered similar problems with Internet Explorer like these before?

I appreciate any assistance!
Who is Participating?

[Product update] Infrastructure Analysis Tool is now available with Business Accounts.Learn More

I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

Jackie ManIT ManagerCommented:
What is the build no of your windows 10?
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
At this point, it may not be IE 11 given what you have already done and tried.

Make a new, test, Windows User Profile (Account). Log into the new Windows Account and test IE that way. Does it now work?
Jackie ManIT ManagerCommented:
Have you tried to uninstall antivirus / Internet security softwar, restart computer and reset IE11 and try to download again?
Acronis True Image 2019 just released!

Create a reliable backup. Make sure you always have dependable copies of your data so you can restore your entire system or individual files.

KYiin-ComputerMDAuthor Commented:
Windows 10 Version 1709 (Build 16299.19)
I have seen this very behavior on server 2016 with internet explorer. Solution was to delete and recreate the user profile, no other way could be found. Of course move the data from your profile or back it up, first.

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
Your feedback is awaited.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
I had also suggested a new Windows User profile in https:#a42365980  earlier.
Sorry John, I missed that. Correcting...
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Thank you for following up. Appreciated.
KYiin-ComputerMDAuthor Commented:
Hello all:

The resolution was exactly as both McKnife and John Hurst described!

Recreating the user profile corrected the problem.

Unfortunately, due to other matters I could not respond until now.


It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today
Windows 10

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.