How to Delete Downloads on Windows 10: A General Guide


Welcome to the world of Windows 10! The convenience of this operating system allows us to download files of all kinds, but sometimes we download more than we need and it can slow down our computer’s performance. Not to worry, we’re here to help. In this article, we’ll walk you through the simple steps on how to delete downloads on Windows 10.

Steps to Delete Downloads on Windows 10

Step 1: Open File Explorer

The first step is simple: open your File Explorer. You can do this by either left-clicking on the folder icon located on your taskbar or by pressing the Windows key + E on your keyboard. This will automatically open your File Explorer.

Step 2: Navigate to the Downloads Folder

Once you have File Explorer open, locate the “Downloads” folder. This is where all your downloaded files are stored. You can find this folder under “This PC” or on the left-hand side of the File Explorer window.

Step 3: Select the Files or Folders You Want to Delete

Once you have located your downloads folder, select the files or folders you want to delete. You can either select individual files by left-clicking on them, or you can select multiple files by holding down the “Ctrl” key on your keyboard and left-clicking on each file or folder.

Step 4: Right-Click on the Files or Folders You Want to Delete

After selecting the files or folders you want to delete, right-click on any of the selected files. This will bring up a list of options.

Step 5: Click on “Delete”

From the list of options, click on the “Delete” button. This will delete the selected files or folders.

Step 6: Empty the Recycle Bin

Once you have deleted your files, they are not yet permanently deleted from your computer. They are still located in the Recycle Bin. To permanently delete the files, you must empty the Recycle Bin. You can do this by right-clicking on the Recycle Bin and selecting “Empty Recycle Bin”.

Step 7: Use Disk Cleanup

You can also use Disk Cleanup to delete unnecessary files from your computer, including downloads. To access Disk Cleanup, simply search for it in the search bar located on your taskbar. Once open, select the drive you want to clean up and click “OK”. Select “Clean up system files” and then check the box next to “Downloads”. Click “OK” again and then “Delete Files” to remove the selected files.

Step 8: Use Storage Sense

Storage Sense is another useful tool to manage your downloaded files. You can access it by clicking on “Start” and selecting “Settings”. From there, click on “System” and then “Storage”. Turn on “Storage Sense” and select “Configure Storage Sense or run it now”. Under “Temporary Files”, check “Downloads” and then select “Clean Now”.

Step 9: Manage Downloads through Your Browser

If you use Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or any other internet browser, you can manage your downloaded files directly through your browser. Simply locate the downloads section of your browser and select the files you want to delete. Simply click on the file and select “Remove from list” or press the delete key.

Step 10: Use Third-Party Software

If you want a more thorough cleaning, there are also third-party software tools available to remove unwanted files from your computer, including downloads. Some popular options include CCleaner, SlimCleaner, and AVG TuneUp.

Step 11: Regularly Clean Up Your Downloads

To keep your computer running smoothly, it’s important to regularly clean up your downloads folder. Make it a habit to regularly delete any unnecessary files or folders to free up space on your computer.

Step 12: Don’t Download Unnecessary Files

The best way to manage your downloads on Windows 10 is to not download any unnecessary files in the first place. If you don’t need it, don’t download it. By doing so, you’ll prevent your computer from slowing down due to too many unnecessary files.


Now that we’ve walked you through the steps on how to delete downloads on Windows 10, let’s dive a little deeper. Your downloads folder can accumulate a lot of files over time, and deleting them can free up space on your computer’s hard drive. Additionally, removing unnecessary files and folders can help speed up your computer’s performance. However, it’s important to be careful when deleting files. Make sure you only delete files you no longer need. If you accidentally delete a file, you may not be able to retrieve it.

Tips and Tricks

1. Customize Your Downloads Folder

By default, your downloads folder is located in your user directory. You can customize the location of your downloads folder to make it easier to manage.

2. Use File Explorer Search Bar

If you’re having trouble locating a specific download, you can use the search bar located in File Explorer to find it. Simply type in the name of the file or folder you’re looking for.

3. Create Subfolders

Create subfolders within your downloads folder to help you better organize your files. You can create subfolders based on file type, project, or any other organizing system that works for you.

4. Use the OneDrive Folder

If you use OneDrive to store your files, consider moving your downloads folder to your OneDrive folder. This will allow you to access your downloads from any device, as long as you’re connected to the internet.

5. Use a Download Manager

Consider using a download manager, such as Free Download Manager or Internet Download Manager, to better manage your downloaded files.

6. Review Your Downloads Periodically

Make it a habit to review your downloads folder periodically. This will prevent the accumulation of unnecessary files and help you better manage your disk space.

7. Disable Auto Downloads

Disable auto downloads in your web browser and other programs to prevent unnecessary files from being downloaded to your computer.

8. Use a Cloud-based Storage Service

Consider using a cloud-based storage service, such as Google Drive or Dropbox, to store your files. This will prevent your computer from becoming cluttered with unnecessary files.

9. Use a Secondary Storage Device

Consider using an external hard drive or USB drive to store large files or files you don’t need to access regularly. This will free up space on your computer’s hard drive.

10. Back Up Your Files

Always back up your important files to prevent the loss of data. Consider using an external hard drive or cloud-based storage service to store your backups.

Deleting downloads on Windows 10 is a simple process, but it’s important to do it right. By following these steps and tips, you can manage your downloaded files more efficiently and prevent your computer from slowing down due to too many unnecessary files. Remember to regularly review your downloads folder and only delete files and folders you no longer need.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Deleting Downloads on Windows 10

Deleting downloads on Windows 10 can help you free up storage space on your computer and make it run more efficiently. However, there are also potential disadvantages that you should consider before deleting any files. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of deleting downloads on Windows 10:


  1. Frees up storage space: Deleting downloads can free up valuable storage space on your computer, which can help it run more efficiently and smoothly.
  2. Improves computer performance: By freeing up space on your computer, deleting downloads can also improve its overall performance, especially if you have a lot of large files stored on your hard drive.
  3. Protects your privacy: If you have downloaded sensitive files or documents, deleting them can help protect your privacy and prevent unauthorized access.
  4. Makes it easier to find important files: By removing old and unnecessary downloads, you can make it easier to find the files and documents that are truly important to you.
  5. Reduces clutter: Removing unwanted downloads can help reduce visual clutter on your computer and make it easier to navigate your files and folders.
  6. Helps you stay organized: By regularly deleting old downloads, you can develop better organizational habits and stay on top of your digital clutter.
  7. Can improve computer security: By deleting potentially malicious downloads, you can help improve the overall security of your computer and reduce your risk of viruses and other malware.
  8. Allows you to start fresh: If you want to give your computer a fresh start, deleting all of your downloads can help you do that.
  9. Can help you identify unnecessary programs: When you delete downloads, you may also realize that you have unnecessary programs or applications installed on your computer.
  10. May speed up backup processes: If you regularly backup your computer, deleting unnecessary downloads can help speed up the process and reduce the overall file size of your backups.


  1. Potential loss of important files: If you are not careful, you may accidentally delete important files or documents along with your downloads.
  2. Inability to access previously downloaded content: If you delete downloads that you may need later, you may have to download them again, which can be time-consuming and use up valuable bandwidth.
  3. Possible loss of data if backups are not performed: If you delete files without backing them up first, you risk losing them permanently if something happens to your computer.
  4. May make it harder to troubleshoot problems: If you regularly delete downloads, it may be more difficult to troubleshoot issues on your computer because you do not have access to old files or documents.
  5. Potential loss of software licenses: If you delete downloads for software that you have purchased, you may lose the license to use that software if you need to reinstall it later.
  6. Cannot recover files easily: Once you delete a file, it may be difficult or impossible to recover it, especially if you have emptied your recycle bin or trash folder.
  7. May lose sentimental value: If you have downloaded files with sentimental value, deleting them may cause emotional distress or regret.
  8. Can be time-consuming: Deleting large numbers of downloads can be time-consuming and tedious, especially if you have to manually review and select each file.
  9. May require extra storage: If you regularly download large files, deleting them may not actually free up much space because you may need to replace them with other large files in the future.
  10. Could cause issues with installed programs: If you delete files that are required by certain programs or applications, it could cause those programs to stop working properly or even crash your computer.


1. How do I delete downloaded files on Windows 10?

You can delete downloaded files by opening File Explorer, navigating to the Downloads folder, selecting the files you want to delete, right-clicking, and selecting “Delete” or pressing the “Delete” key on your keyboard.

2. Can I delete all the downloaded files at once?

Yes, you can delete all downloaded files at once by selecting all files in the Downloads folder and pressing the “Delete” key on your keyboard or right-clicking and selecting “Delete.”

3. Will deleting downloads affect my computer’s performance?

Deleting downloads that you no longer need can help free up space on your computer’s hard drive, which can improve overall performance. However, only deleting downloads will not have a significant impact on your computer’s performance.

4. How do I permanently delete downloads on Windows 10?

To permanently delete downloads, you need to empty the Recycle Bin. Right-click on the Recycle Bin icon on your desktop and select “Empty Recycle Bin.”

5. Can I recover deleted downloads?

If you have emptied the Recycle Bin, it is unlikely that you can recover deleted downloads. However, if you have a backup of your computer, you might be able to recover the files from there.

6. Why do I need to delete downloads on Windows 10?

Deleting downloads that you no longer need can help free up storage space on your computer’s hard drive. This, in turn, can improve overall performance and prevent your computer from slowing down.

7. How often should I delete downloads on Windows 10?

You should delete downloads on a regular basis, especially if you frequently download files or have limited storage space on your computer. It’s recommended to review your Downloads folder every few weeks and delete files that you no longer need.

8. What happens if I delete a file that I need?

If you delete a file that you actually need, you might lose important data. Therefore, it’s a good idea to double-check the files you want to delete and make sure you no longer need them before permanently deleting them.

9. How can I organize my downloads on Windows 10?

You can organize your downloads by creating folders within the Downloads folder and moving files into these folders. This will help you keep track of your downloaded files and find them more quickly when you need them.

10. Can I delete downloads that are still in use?

No, you cannot delete files that are still in use. If you try to delete a file that is still in use, you will get an error message. You need to close the program or application that is using the file before you can delete it.

11. What are some other ways to free up space on my hard drive?

You can free up space on your hard drive by uninstalling programs you no longer use, deleting files you no longer need, and running tools like Disk Cleanup and Disk Defragmenter.

12. Can I recover deleted downloads without a backup?

If you have not emptied the Recycle Bin yet, you may be able to recover deleted downloads from there. Right-click on the Recycle Bin, select “Restore deleted items,” and follow the instructions. However, if you have already emptied the Recycle Bin, it is unlikely that you can recover the files without a backup.

13. Is it safe to delete everything in the Downloads folder?

If you are sure that you no longer need the files in the Downloads folder, it is safe to delete them. However, if you are unsure, it’s always better to double-check the files before deleting them to avoid accidentally losing important data.

How to Delete Downloads on Windows 10

Downloading files on Windows 10 is a common task for many users. However, over time, these downloads can take up valuable space on your computer, slowing down its performance. Fortunately, deleting downloads on Windows 10 is simple and easy to do.

The first step in deleting downloads on Windows 10 is to locate the folder where your downloaded files are stored. By default, Windows 10 stores all downloads in the Downloads folder, which can be accessed by clicking on the File Explorer icon on your taskbar and selecting Downloads from the left-hand menu.

Once you have located the Downloads folder, you can begin the process of deleting unwanted files. To delete a file, simply click on it and then press the Delete key on your keyboard. You can also right-click on the file and select Delete from the drop-down menu.

If you have multiple files that you want to delete at once, you can select them by holding down the Ctrl key on your keyboard and clicking on each file. Once you have selected the files you want to delete, right-click on any of the highlighted files and select Delete to remove them all at once.

Conclusion and Closing

Deleting downloads on Windows 10 is a quick and easy way to free up space on your computer and improve its performance. By following the simple steps outlined in this article, you can easily locate and delete unwanted files from your Downloads folder. Remember to be selective when deleting files, as some may be important or necessary for certain programs or applications to run properly. Thanks for reading, and happy computing!

Until next time,

The Windows 10 Tips Team