Please read this whole message before doing anything.
This procedure is a test, not a solution. Don’t be disappointed when you find that nothing has changed after you complete it.
The purpose of this step is to determine whether the problem is localized to your user account.
Enable guest logins* and log in as Guest. For instructions, launch the System Preferences application, select Help from the menu bar, and enter “Set up a guest account” (without the quotes) in the search box.
While logged in as Guest, you won’t have access to any of your personal files or settings. Applications will behave as if you were running them for the first time. Don’t be alarmed by this; it’s normal. If you need any passwords or other personal data in order to complete the test, memorize, print, or write them down before you begin.
Test while logged in as Guest. Same problem(s)?
After testing, log out of the guest account and, in your own account, disable it if you wish. Any files you created in the guest account will be deleted automatically when you log out of it.
*Note: If you’ve activated “Find My Mac” or FileVault in Mac OS X 10.7 or later, then you can’t enable the Guest account. The Guest login created by “Find My Mac” is not the same. Create a new account in which to test, and delete it, including its home folder, after testing.
The purpose of this step is to determine whether the problem is caused by third-party system modifications that load automatically at startup or login.
Disconnect all wired peripherals except those needed for the test, and remove all aftermarket expansion cards. Boot in safe mode* and log in to the account with the problem. The instructions provided by Apple are as follows:
- Be sure your Mac is shut down.
- Press the power button.
- Immediately after you hear the startup tone, hold the Shift key. The Shift key should be held as soon as possible after the startup tone, but not before the tone.
- Release the Shift key when you see the gray Apple icon and the progress indicator (looks like a spinning gear).
Safe mode is much slower to boot and run than normal, and some things won’t work at all, including wireless networking on certain Macs.
The login screen appears even if you usually log in automatically. You must know your login password in order to log in. If you’ve forgotten the password, you will need to reset it before you begin.
*Note: If FileVault is enabled under Mac OS X 10.7 or later, you can’t boot in safe mode.
Test while in safe mode. Same problem(s)?
After testing, reboot as usual (i.e., not in safe mode) and verify that you still have the problem. Post the results of steps 1 and 2.
Dear Carolyn, Linc and Bee,
Thank you very much for your help. I tried the different solutions that you suggested but, unfortunately, none of them worked. I deleted the Downloads.plist, reset and restart safari and nothing changed.
Also, following Linc's indications, I created a new user and tried again, but the problem persisted (only now the link opened in a new window rather than a new tab due to my preferences not being in the new account, I guess). I also tried the safe booting to no avail.
As for what Bee suggests, I haven't dowloaded Speed Download or any other software that claims to download faster. I have used Ad-Block for a long time and that was one of the first things that I deleted from my Safari extensions when this started annoying me but it also didn't make a difference.
In any case, thank you very much for yur help and advice. If you have any other ideas, please let me know.
I haven't proposed a solution yet. I was only asking for information. So far we've established that your problem is not caused by third-party software or by Safari's settings. I'm still not sure I understand what the problem really is. Please go to this page:
Try to download one of the smaller files, no matter which one, by clicking on the link. Post a screenshot of what happens when it goes wrong.
I think I just solved the problem thanks to you.
I checked the plug-ins and saw a couple I was either not using anymore (LogMeIn) or had no idea where they came from (TUV). I deleted them, reset and restarted safari and, as far as I can tell, downloads are working as usual again.
Thank you very much (to all of you) for your help!