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Why does IE only save in BMP format?

Posted By : of Data Doctors on July 2, 2003

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When I right-click on a picture on the Internet and choose the "Save Picture" option, it only lets me save the picture as a bitmap. This happens with all types of pictures, even if the picture on the website is a JPG. Do you know why this is?

- Bob

This question was answered on July 2, 2003. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.

One of the useful features of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer is the ability to capture any image that you see on any web page to your own hard drive Once you have the image, you can make it your wallpaper (desktop background), put it into a screen saver or manipulate it in any graphics


My wife and I do all of our travel planning via the Internet and when we find a location that we plan to visit, we often grab the images for our desktop to remind us of the upcoming trip every time we use the computer.

There are so many images on the Internet that there are actually search engines specifically designed for finding them like Google and Ditto

The most common file formats for images on the Internet are JPG and GIF because they are compression formats that allow very small file sizes The BMP format is an older Microsoft standard for images that has very little compression and therefore creates huge files.

If your system always tries to save any image you grab from the Internet as a BMP file, there are a number of possible causes.

The most likely cause is that you have filled your ‘Temporary Internet Files ’ folder to capacity By default, Internet Explorer allocates a certain amount of disk space for Temporary Internet Files based on the size of your primary hard drive.

These temporary files serve as a 'cache' (pronounced 'cash'), which allows sites that you have previously visited to come up faster.

The first thing to check is how much space Internet Explorer has allocated for Temporary Internet Files by clicking on Tools, Internet Options and clicking on the ‘Settings’ button in the middle of the ‘General’ window.

If the allocated space is less than 100Mb, you may want to increase it If you have plenty of space allocated, click on the OK button to take you back to the General window You may just need to clear out the cache if it has not been done for some time (or ever, in many cases!) by clicking on the 'Delete Files' button.

If neither of these options works, you may need to click on the ‘Advanced’ tab (top right), scroll down to the 'Security' section and make sure that there is NOT a checkmark in the 'Do not save encrypted pages to disk' option.

While you are there, if you want to invoke an automatic housekeeping feature, you can place a checkmark in the 'Empty Temporary Internet Files folder when browser is closed' option, which will clear the cache every time you close Internet Explorer.

If you choose to do this, however, you will only be able to take advantage of the cached files within a single session of browsing, so unless you have a high-speed Internet connection, you may not want to do this.

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Posted by of Data Doctors on July 2, 2003

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