Usually when I download files, I just click and forget. Then, once every day or two, I look in my downloads folder to see what I have there, and poke through it to pull out the stuff I need to look at, to install apps, and so forth.
So really, it doesn’t matter to me most of the time how each download is progressing. It’s not like I’m anxiously awaiting their completion so I can leap on them as soon as they’re done.
One of the nifty new features in Firefox 3 is that you can set a preference in about:config to prevent the download manager window from appearing every time you start downloading files. Instead, a progress indicator appears in the status bar at the bottom of your browser window, like this:
If you need to see the download manager window, you can open it from the Tools menu as usual — or you can simply click on the download status indicator in the status bar.
The preference is browser.download.manager.useWindow. Just set it to “false” and you’re good to go.
For me, this is a great bit of polish that makes my day-to-day work a little bit better.