Downloads and Storage Sense

by Eric Wyatt
(last updated September 14, 2020)

Recently a reader, Hazel, described a problem she had with a service technician and her Windows laptop. In her e-mail, she mentions that her laptop was having problems and she enlisted a technician to work on it. In doing so the technician became vehement that she must remove all the items from her My Downloads folder, and without permission moved the contents of that folder to another folder. She questioned why the technician would insist on changing her computer setup. Without much more information I assume it was one of two reasons: The technician may have been either: concerned about the My Downloads folder's size or it could be a decision relating to the Storage Sense feature available within Windows 10.

I believe that the issue had more to do with the second option, Storage Sense. In another article, we talked about how to Get a Sense of Your Storage with regards to Storage Sense. Following the steps in that article to access the Storage Sense settings, you come to the "Delete files in my Downloads folder if they have been there for over" section. Windows provided five options—Never, 1 Day, 14 Days, 30 Days, or 60 Days. If any option other than "Never" is selected Windows may delete files within the My Downloads folder without any warning or notification.

If you, like many computer users, download a large number of files into your My Downloads folder to then work from that folder rather than moving the files out AND you have Storage Sense enabled, you will want to make one of two suggested changes. The first option is to turn off that portion of Storage Sense, preventing your computer from clearing out those potentially important items. The second option, and the one I would recommend, stop working from your download folder; after downloading your files, move them to a logical (to you) location. The reason for choosing the second option is that you never know if a future update could possibly or potentially turn that Storage Sense setting back on by default and then, as a result, delete files without your knowledge. It is not uncommon, even if it's unintended, for this to happen. Recently Adobe Systems, makers of Photoshop and other creative programs, made the news because they updated a much-used program that resulted in users' photo libraries being deleted, with no way to recover the photos.

As with any settings on your computer, it is best to set up your computer the way that works best for you while securing your files.

 This tip (8014) applies to Windows 10.

Author Bio

Eric Wyatt

Eric Wyatt is a swell guy (or so his friends tell him). He is a formally trained designer and branding expert, bringing a wide range of skills to his Tips.Net articles. ...

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