Do I need to keep downloaded files?

Updated: 01/24/2018 by Computer Hope

When to keep a download

Laptop downloading from the Internet.

Due to the low cost of external storage devices, we recommend making backup copies of important downloaded files. Doing so lets you safely delete them from your computer's main storage, because they are easily accessed from another storage device.

When to discard a download

If the downloaded file is not something you need to use or reference in the future, or it can be easily downloaded later, you can delete the file. However, make sure the file is not important before it's deleted, because trying to find an old file can be difficult and sometimes costly to retrieve in the future.


If you need an excellent place to keep small to medium sized downloaded files, consider copying them to a USB (universal serial bus) flash drive.


Some drivers should be backed up in case the company removes them from their website or the company goes out of business. However, for drivers that are updated frequently (e.g., video drivers) we usually don't recommend downloading these files because often the drivers can be updated several times a year.