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I hope I understand this correctly.
Dreamweaver doesn't initiate downloads on it's own. Your browser (or a plug in) may be set to "dump" all image files from any site you visit and you will need to look at disabling that first.
If you have Dreamweaver set as the default application to open and edit images, once the browser or plug in downloads them, DW is opening them per instructions from the OS settings.
You need to change this in your OS.
Windows: Right click any picture on your harddrive, select Properties.
Change "Open With" to something other than Dreamweaver.
Click Apply and OK
Mac: Right click any picture on the hard drive and select Get Info.
Under the Open With drop down, choose another application besides Dreamweaver, and then click Apply to all from the button drop down at the bottom of the window.
Close the info windows when it finishes applying.
If you have local pages linked to someone else's pictures online... stop it. It's commonly called bandwidth theft and most people don't like it.
If all esle fails, try resetting your preferences in Dreamweaver to defaults.
Make sure you have Display External Files disabled.
Thanks a lot for your reply! It turns out 'Display external files' is what I was looking for.
Thank you for the correct answer. I really appreciate the help!