How to Fix: Organize Downloads by Extension (Chrome)

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Readers Sam G. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

I recently switched from Firefox to Chrome, and was wondering if you can help me. Whenever I download a specific file type, I want it to save to a particular folder. For example, I have a Usenet account and I use it to download files off of Usenet servers. I want my Usenet .NZB files (similar to .torrent files) saved to S:\NZB instead of my default download folder, because I use my .NZBs files on another machine. When I use Firefox to download .nzb files, it remembers that I always want to save to S:\NZB, but all my other downloads go to my regular download folder. Chrome doesn't seem to have this behavior. I've searched high and low and can't seem to find a way to make it so that I can organize downloads by file type in Chrome to a particular path. Any idea how I can achieve this? "

My response:

I did a bit of research into this and came across a Chrome extension called RegExp Download Organizer. This does what you're asking, though it requires a bit of tweaking to get it to save outside of your regular download folder. I'll explain that below.

How to Fix: Organize Downloads by File Extension (Chrome)

I really like this Chrome extension because regular expression (regex) pattern matching is extremely powerful and customizable if you know how to use it. In fact, I use regex all the time when I'm programming on Linux and in Windows.

To do so:

  1. Launch the Chrome web browser.
     
  2. Specify your default download folder in Chrome if you haven't already. To do so: click the 3 vertical dots on the far right of the Chrome window, then select "Settings", then use the search at the top of the window and type in "downloads" (no quotes). Scroll down a bit and you'll see a heading called "Downloads" with an option to specify your default download folder, as well as an option to have Chrome ask you each time where you want to save your download.
     
  3. Next, download and install RegExp Download Organizer.
     
  4. In Chrome, click the Extensions button to display a list of your installed extensions. The Chrome Extensions button looks like a puzzle icon, and is located near the top right of the Chrome window.
     
  5. Locate RegExp Download Organizer in the list, then click the three vertical dots and select "Options". A list of rules will be shown. The ones that are active will have a check mark on the far right. You may want to disable any active rules for now, as it may interfere with your downloads.
     
  6. Next, click the green box that says "+ New Rule" to create a new RegExp rule. For the "Description", name it "NZBs". Under the "Matchers" heading, click on the "Filename" field, and enter in "\.nzb$" (without quotes). This says "match any file that ends in .nzb". In the "Destination path" section, input "NZB/" (no quotes). This will save any file with the extension .nzb into your <default Download folder>\NZB.
     
  7. Make sure you have enabled your rule by placing a check mark on the far right of the rule name.

With the above rule enabled, all .NZB files will now be saved to C:\Users\YourName\Downloads\NZB, while all other file types are saved to C:\Users\YourName\Downloads - and optionally, Chrome will ask you where to save each file downloaded if you've enabled that option as described in Step #2 above.

Important note: if you are happy saving your files inside of your <default Download folder>\some other folder, then you don't need to make any other adjustments other than a final test run described at the end of the article. If you want to save files to another location outside of your <default Download folder>, continue reading.

Make RegExp Download Organizer Save Outside of Download Folder

If you want it to save to an external path (example: S:\NZB instead of C:\Users\YourName\Downloads\NZB), you will need to create a symlink inside of the download folder to point to the external path. This new folder will appear as a regular folder inside of the download folder, but will actually point (link) to another external location. This behavior is called a symbolic link, or symlink.

Important note: the below instructions will create a symlink in the download folder pointing to S:\NZB. Anyone else reading this will need to make adjustments to the script in Step #2 below to point to another location specific to their rule.

To do so:

  1. Open up an administrative command prompt: click Start, then type in "cmd" (no quotes); wait for "CMD.EXE" or "Command Prompt" to appear in the list, then right click and select "Run as Administrator".
     
  2. Highlight the text below using your mouse:

    rem the line below changes directory to the current user's default download folder
    cd /d %userprofile%\Downloads
    rem the line below is specific to Sam G's request; anyone else reading this article will need to adjust the paths below
    mklink /d NZB S:\NZB
    echo this is a dummy line
     
  3. Right click the above text, then select "Copy". Next, right click in the middle of the command prompt you opened up in step (a) and select "Paste" from the dialogue menu. The text will be output to the command line and you will now have created a symbolic link (directory) in your Download folder that is called "NZB" which points to S:\NZB.

Finally, Do a Test Run

To make sure everything is working properly, you will need to do a test run.

Download an .NZB file (or whichever file type you're testing) and it should automatically download to the correct location. If it does not, check to make sure the RegExp Download Organizer rule and/or symbolic path is set up properly.

I hope that helps!

Additional 1-on-1 Support: From Dennis

If all of this is over your head or if you need help setting up rules to download certain file types, I can assist using my remote desktop support service. Simply contact me, briefly describing the issue and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

About the author: Dennis Faas

Dennis Faas is the owner and operator of Infopackets.com. With over 30 years of computing experience, Dennis' areas of expertise are a broad range and include PC hardware, Microsoft Windows, Linux, network administration, and virtualization. Dennis holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Science (1999) and has authored 6 books on the topics of MS Windows and PC Security. If you like the advice you received on this page, please up-vote / Like this page and share it with friends. For technical support inquiries, Dennis can be reached via Live chat online this site using the Zopim Chat service (currently located at the bottom left of the screen); optionally, you can contact Dennis through the website contact form.

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