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Cody G.
8 years ago
After lots of research and testing, I'd like to share my findings about my problems with Internet Explorer and file downloads.

  Take a look at this code, which replicates the normal download of a Javascript:

if(strstr($_SERVER["HTTP_USER_AGENT"],"MSIE")==false) {
header("Content-type: text/javascript");
header("Content-Disposition: inline; filename=\"download.js\"");
header("Content-Length: ".filesize("my-file.js"));
} else {
header("Content-type: application/force-download");
header("Content-Disposition: attachment; filename=\"download.js\"");
header("Content-Length: ".filesize("my-file.js"));
header("Expires: Fri, 01 Jan 2010 05:00:00 GMT");
strstr($_SERVER["HTTP_USER_AGENT"],"MSIE")==false) {
header("Cache-Control: no-cache");
header("Pragma: no-cache");

Now let me explain:

  I start out by checking for IE, then if not IE, I set Content-type (case-sensitive) to JS and set Content-Disposition (every header is case-sensitive from now on) to inline, because most browsers outside of IE like to display JS inline. (User may change settings). The Content-Length header is required by some browsers to activate download box. Then, if it is IE, the "application/force-download" Content-type is sometimes required to show the download box. Use this if you don't want your PDF to display in the browser (in IE). I use it here to make sure the box opens. Anyway, I set the Content-Disposition to attachment because I already know that the box will appear. Then I have the Content-Length again.

  Now, here's my big point. I have the Cache-Control and Pragma headers sent only if not IE. THESE HEADERS WILL PREVENT DOWNLOAD ON IE!!! Only use the Expires header, after all, it will require the file to be downloaded again the next time. This is not a bug! IE stores downloads in the Temporary Internet Files folder until the download is complete. I know this because once I downloaded a huge file to My Documents, but the Download Dialog box put it in the Temp folder and moved it at the end. Just think about it. If IE requires the file to be downloaded to the Temp folder, setting the Cache-Control and Pragma headers will cause an error!

I hope this saves someone some time!
~Cody G.

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