How to clear your Downloads folder
When 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. Also, it could be a security or privacy risk as it shows the files you've downloaded. To clear your Downloads folder or download history, click a link in the list below and follow the instructions.
Windows Vista, 7, 8, and 10
To clear the files in the Downloads folder in Windows, follow the steps below.
- Press the Windows key on your keyboard and type Downloads.
- Locate the Downloads file folder, arrow key down to it, and press Enter.
- In the window that opens, highlight all the downloaded files using your mouse or press Ctrl+A. If you don't want to delete all files, you may select individual ones by holding the Ctrl key and left-clicking them.
- Press Delete to send the files to the Recycle Bin.
- To permanently delete the files, right-click the Recycle Bin icon on your desktop and select Empty Recycle Bin in the drop-down menu that appears.
If there isn't a Recycle Bin icon on your desktop, you can restore it. For help with getting the Recycle Bin back, see Missing Windows desktop Recycle Bin icon.
macOS and Safari
To clear the files in the Downloads folder on your Mac computer, follow the steps below.
As it's built into macOS, these steps are the same for those using the Safari browser.
- Select Finder from the Dock at the bottom of your desktop.
- In the window that opens, select Downloads from the list on the left side of the screen.
Follow these steps to clear the files in the Downloads folder for Google Chrome.
- Open the Google Chrome browser.
- Click the Customize and control Google Chrome button in the screen's upper-right corner.
- Select Downloads from the drop-down menu that appears.
- In the new window that opens, click next to each entry you want to remove.
- To clear all entries, click the More actions icon in the screen's upper-right corner and select Clear all.
Follow these steps to clear the files in the Downloads folder for Firefox.
- Open the Mozilla Firefox browser.
- Click the Library icon near the upper-right corner of the screen.
- Select Downloads in the menu that appears.
- You may delete each file individually using the Delete key. To remove them all at once, right-click in the downloads section and select Clear Downloads in the drop-down menu.
To clear the files in the Downloads folder for Microsoft Edge, follow these steps.
- Open the Microsoft Edge browser.
- Click the Settings and more icon in the upper-right corner of the browser window.
- In the drop-down menu, select Downloads.
Clear all download history
- In the top right corner of the Downloads window, click the More options icon.
- Select Clear all download history from the drop-down menu.
- In the prompt that appears, click the Remove all button.
Clear a single entry
To remove a single entry, move your mouse over it, and click the trash can icon.
In Edge, press Ctrl+J to view a list of your downloads.
Microsoft Edge Legacy
Follow these steps to clear the files in the Downloads folder for Microsoft Edge Legacy.
- Open the Microsoft Edge browser.
- In the upper-right corner, select the Hub button.
- Click the icon that looks like a down arrow.
- You can delete each file individually by clicking next to the file entry. Or, you may delete all files by clicking the Clear all option.
In Edge Legacy, press Ctrl+J to view a list of your downloads.
Microsoft Internet Explorer
Follow these steps to clear the files in the Downloads folder for Internet Explorer.
- Open the Internet Explorer browser.
- Click the Gear icon on the upper-right side of the window.
- Click View downloads in the drop-down menu that appears.
- You can delete each file individually by clicking next to the file entry. Or, you may delete all files by clicking the Clear list option.
In Internet Explorer, press Ctrl+J to open your Downloads folder.
Follow these steps to clear the files in the Downloads folder for Opera.
- Open the Opera browser.
- Click in the upper-left corner of the window.
- In the drop-down menu that appears, select Downloads.
- In the tab that opens, you may delete each entry individually by clicking the icon on the right side and selecting Remove in the menu. To delete all files, click the button in the upper-right corner.