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Closing a browser will certainly stop a download, as long as you close it completely.

Hi Leo. I have a limited bandwidth internet access account that charges me for overage. My question is, if after clicking on a link, I close the browser before the page starts loading, when, where and how does the incoming data stop? Can I get charged for the canceled data? The ISP does not provide a good bandwidth-monitoring device. Thank you.

In this excerpt from Answercast #38, I look at managing data usage by closing browsers before the page has fully loaded. The good news is that data download quits immediately.

When does data download stop?

I agree that most ISPs who are charging you for bandwidth usage typically do a very poor job of giving you any kind of information about:

  • How much bandwidth you've actually used.

Actual incremental information about how much bandwidth an operation is taking or how much I've used in the past hour is almost non-existent.

It's really unfortunate.

Closing the browser stops data

The good answer here, the good news, is that:

  • When you close your browser, the browser actually closes all of the connections to the remote sites almost immediately.

  • So whatever was waiting to be downloaded will not be downloaded.

Now, you do have to make sure that you're actually closing the browser and not just minimizing it or hiding it. But as long as the browser itself has been closed and is no longer running, then it's no longer downloading anything.

  • Whatever it was you were doing stops right at that point.

That really is about all we can really say about that. Like I said:

  • If the browser is minimized.

  • If it's not really closed.

If you're just closing a Window on a multi-windowed browser, It's possible that the download could continue.

  • But as long as you close the browser completely, you should be just fine.

Article C5625 - July 26, 2012 « »

Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

Jim de Graff
July 27, 2012 9:05 AM

The download window in FireFox does not always automatically display itself when downloading and will remain open if a download is in progress even if the main browser window is closed.

While at the cottage I use Rogers Wireless (RocketHub) to connect. Because I pay depending on my usage I monitor my daily up/down traffic. I found an excellent free program called NetWorx. It is available at

Nils Torben - from Denmark
July 27, 2012 12:01 PM

I agree with Jim de Graff. When you click "yes" to downlod in Firefox, the download starts even if you close Firefox. But you can cancel the download in the download window which can be opened from the menu "Functions/Downloads", "Options/Downloads" or what it is called.

A Richter
July 27, 2012 11:30 PM

Re: FF downloads - The browser can be set so the download window would always show; then it is easy to actually see whether anything and/or what is being downloaded, and cancel if desired.

July 31, 2012 5:04 PM

Aren't we talking about 2 different things here. The question refers to stopping a page from loading--- which stops immediately when the browser is closed. The comments seem to be talking about downloading media or a program, which I believe can continue even if the browser is closed as long as the internet connection remains active.

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