How to clear your downloads folder

Updated: 05/23/2017 by Computer Hope

Download imageWhenever you download a file from the Internet, it is saved in your operating system's downloads folder. Additionally, there is a record of it in your Internet browser. When a file is in the downloads folder, it can take up unnecessary storage space. It also shows the things you've downloaded, which could be a security risk or a privacy issue. The following sections show details on how to clear your downloads folder or your download history in many of the popular web browsers. To proceed, click a link in the list below and follow the instructions.

Windows Vista, 7, 8, and 10 users

To clear the files in the Downloads folder from your hard drive in Windows, follow the instructions below.

  1. Press the Windows key on your keyboard, type Downloads, and then press Enter.
  2. In the window that appears, highlight all of the downloaded files with your mouse or press Ctrl+A.
  3. Press Delete to send the files to the Recycle Bin.
  4. To permanently delete the files, right-click the Recycle Bin icon on your Desktop and select Empty Recycle Bin from the drop-down menu that appears.

Tip: If there isn't a Recycle Bin icon on your Desktop, you can restore it.

Apple Finder iconApple Mac users

To clear the files in the Downloads folder from your hard drive in iOS, follow the instructions below.

  1. Select Finder from the Dock at the bottom of your desktop.
  2. In the window that appears, select Downloads from the list on the left-hand side of the screen.
  3. Clear each of the download history entries by highlighting them and pressing Delete.

Microsoft EdgeMicrosoft Edge

  1. Open the Microsoft Edge browser.
  2. Press Ctrl+J.
  3. You may delete each downloaded item individually by clicking Edge remove x next to the entry or click Clear all to erase all of them.

-OR-

  1. Open the Microsoft Edge browser.
  2. In the upper right-hand corner, select the Hub Edge hub button button.
  3. Click the icon that looks like a down arrow.
  4. You may delete each downloaded item individually by clicking Microsoft Edge remove x next to the entry or click Clear all to erase all of them.

Internet ExplorerMicrosoft Internet Explorer

  1. Open the Microsoft Internet Explorer browser.
  2. Press Ctrl+J.
  3. You may delete each downloaded item individually by clicking the X next to the entry or click Clear all to erase all of them.

-OR-

  1. Open the Microsoft Internet Explorer browser.
  2. Click the Gear IE tools icon icon in the upper-right hand side of the window.
  3. Click View downloads in the drop-down menu that appears.
  4. You may delete each downloaded item individually by clicking the X next to the entry or click Clear all to erase all of them.

Mozilla Firefox

  1. FirefoxOpen the Firefox browser.
  2. Press Ctrl+J.
  3. You may delete each item individually using the Delete key, or click Clear All at the top of the window.

-OR-

  1. Open the Firefox browser.
  2. Select Display the progress of ongoing downloads Firefox download button in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.
  3. Select Show All Downloads from the menu that appears.
  4. You may delete each item individually using the Delete key, or click Clear All at the top of the window.

ChromeGoogle Chrome

  1. Open the Chrome browser.
  2. Press Ctrl+J.
  3. In the new window that opens, click Chrome remove x next to each entry you'd like to remove.
  4. To clear all entries, click the More actions... Chrome more actions icon icon in the upper right-hand corner of the screen and select Clear all.

-OR-

  1. Open the Chrome browser.
  2. Select Customize and control Google Chrome chrome settings in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.
  3. Select Downloads from the drop-down menu that appears.
  4. In the new window that opens, click Google Chrome remove x next to each entry you'd like to remove.
  5. To clear all entries, click the More actions... Google Chrome more actions icon icon in the upper right-hand corner of the screen and select Clear all.

OperaOpera

  1. Open the Opera browser.
  2. Press Ctrl+J.
  3. In the tab that opens, you may delete each entry individually by clicking Opera Remove X on the right-hand side, or you can click Opera Clear downloads button button to erase all entries.

-OR-

  1. Open the Opera browser.
  2. Click the Opera menu button in the upper left-hand corner of the window.
  3. From the drop-down menu select Downloads.
  4. In the tab that opens, you may delete each entry individually by clicking Remove X on the right-hand side, or you can click Clear downloads button button to erase all entries.