To see how you can save a file, go to TUCOWS (The Ultimate Collection of Winsock Software) at http://www.tucows.com/. (Its logo is two cows.) This site contains a fantastic library of Internet software for Windows and Macintosh computers.
Suppose you find a link to a program that you want to transfer. You click it as usual, and what happens? If you're using Netscape, and if the file is an EXE or COM file, you'll probably see a File Save box. If so, choose the directory into which you want to save the file (download directories are discussed in Chapter 4). Or, you might see the Unknown File Type dialog box (shown in Figure 3.4). This box appears whenever Netscape tries to transfer a file that it doesn't recognize; Netscape wants you to tell it what to do. You can click the Save File button to get to the Save As dialog box, and then you can proceed to tell your computer where you want to save the file.
What's this Winsock thing? Winsock is a contraction of Windows Sockets, the name of the TCP/IP driver used to connect Windows programs to the Internet's TCP/IP system. Just as you need a print driver to connect a Windows program to a printer, you also need a special driver to connect a program to the Internet. The term Winsock refers to programs that can connect to a TCP/IP network.
Explorer uses a slightly different method. First, it displays a dialog box showing that a file is being transferred. After a moment or two, you'll see another dialog box (similar to the one in Figure 3.5).
Figure 3.4 Netscape doesn't know what to do with this file type, so you have to tell it.
Figure 3.5 Internet Explorer uses a slightly different method for managing file transfers.
You now have two choices:
You can tell Explorer to open it, in which case Explorer transfers the file to your desktop and runs the file. This is a pretty lousy idea, for a couple of reasons. First, if the file is a compressed archive file, you'll be expanding all files held by the archive onto the desktop, making a huge mess and mixing them in with all the other files already there. Second, the file may be a program file that will run automatically. If it contains a virus, you could be in trouble. You should check program files with virus-check software before running them. (You'll learn more about that subject in Chapter 18.)
You can save it to disk. This is the preferable option. Choose this option and click OK, and the transfer will continue. After the file has been transferred to your hard disk, you'll see a Save As dialog box in which you can choose where to place the file.
Notice the check box titled Always Ask Before Opening This Type of File. If you clear the check box, the next time you download a file, Explorer will automatically transfer it and open it, even if you chose the Save It to Disk option button the first time. (To recheck this check box, go to Windows Explorer, and then choose View, Optionsor View, Folder Optionsand click the File Types tab. Then, click the file type in the list box, click Edit, click Confirm Open After Download, and click OK.)
The Least You Need to Know
If your computer has enough memory, you can open a second Web document in a new window and keep the current window open.
You'll probably end up saving Web documents on your hard disk; you can reopen them using the File, Open command.
The cache stores documents you've seen on your hard disk. The browser can get those documents from the cache the next time you want to see them, which speeds up work tremendously.
The Reload command (or Refresh in Internet Explorer) throws away the version of the page held in the cache and grabs a new one from the Web site. You can configure the cache to do this automatically once every session.
You can copy, print, and save all sorts of things from the Web: document text, the document source file, images, background images, and more.
If you click a link to a nondocument file, your browser might ask you what to do with it. You can save it to your hard drive if you want.