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Usually, Google Chrome has no problem downloading files. However, sometimes you come across a problem accompanied by the message ‘download failed: network error’. Fortunately, there are a few easy ways — and a few not-so-easy ones — to solve this problem.

Check your internet connection

The very first step in resolving this error is to check if your internet connection is working as intended. To check, visit speedtest.net and run a test and make sure nothing is running on your computer except your browser. If you get a result without peaks down, then there are probably no problems with your internet connection.

If you get an uneven result, i.e. with large spikes in speed, or you get very low results (less than 1 or 2 Mbps), you have a connection problem. The first thing to do is your VPN or proxy if you have one running and if that doesn’t help, reset your router

If that doesn’t change anything, it means you have no control over the problem and you need to contact your ISP to see what’s going on.

Change download location

If there is nothing wrong with your internet connection, there may be a problem with the folder you are downloading from. The best way to check this is by: change the default download folder† We will summarize the main steps here.

  1. In Chrome, select the three dots in the top right corner of your screen and from the menu that appears, select settings
  1. In the next screen select Advanced from the left toolbar and choose Downloads in the menu that falls down.
  1. You will see a new menu in the middle of the screen: at the very top is an item for Place and a button with the text Modify† Click that button and you will be prompted to choose a new location. We suggest you just create a new one and name it “new downloads” or something similar.

Try downloading the file again with the new download location set. If it still doesn’t work, there are a few more things you can try.

Using Incognito Mode

Another issue that causes the ‘download failed: network error’ issue could be that you are using an extension that is interfering with the download. The easiest way to get around that problem is to simply incognito modealso known as private browsing.

To enable incognito mode, select the three dots at the top right of the screen and click new incognito window† Alternatively, you can also use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Shift + N when you are in Chrome.

In the new window, navigate to the page where you found the download and restart it.

Try another browser

If Chrome still doesn’t download the file, the next step is to launch a different browser. There’s plenty to choose from, but two of our favorites are Mozilla Firefox and Vivaldic† Download the installer for both browsers, open it when it’s set up and try downloading the file again.

If that doesn’t work either, then the problem isn’t with Chrome, but something else. The first step is to check out your antivirus software.

Check antivirus

Antivirus programs will sometimes get a little overzealous and block downloads that are otherwise fine but disable some advanced protocols. To work around this problem, you can temporarily disable the antivirus suite altogether — usually via a system tray icon — or simply disable these advanced features.

The second approach is probably the safest, so it’s best to try that first. However, since every antivirus program is different, you will have to navigate it yourself. Most antivirus programs require you to settings screen and then go to a menu probably called something like this Advanced

This is what it looks like in ESET antivirus.

There you should find a setting called HTTPS scanning or scan encrypted connection† If it is checked, disable it and try downloading again. Regardless of whether it works or not, make sure to check it again after you’re done to stay protected.

Update Network Drivers

Another problem could be that your network driver – also known as a network adapter – is not up to date. To fix that in Windows 7, 8 or 10, go to device manager either by searching for it or by finding it in the control panel, under hardware and sound

There, find the entry that says: Network adapters and open it. You get a list, find one that says something along the lines of “desktop adapter” or has the name of the manufacturer that made your computer or motherboard. Right click and then select update driver† Windows will do the rest.

Reset Google Chrome

Now that all the above methods have been exhausted, there is really only one thing left to do, which is to reset Google Chrome. It’s pretty much the nuclear option because it also erases all your settings and extensions and all other preferences, but it’s the only remaining solution you have.

  1. To reset Chrome, select the three buttons in the top right corner of the screen and go to settings
  1. In the settings screen, select either the Advanced tab in the left pane and then reset settings at the bottom of that menu, or scroll all the way down in the main menu and find the reset settings button there.
  1. You will be asked to confirm your choice, do this, and then wait for Chrome to work.

After that, you’ll have a brand new Chrome, which should fix any recurring network error issues. Again, resetting Chrome is quite invasive so we recommend trying all the other solutions before trying this one.

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