How to clear your Downloads folder

Updated: 05/03/2022 by Computer Hope
Downloading from Internet to computer

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

Windows logo

To clear the files in the Downloads folder in Windows, follow the steps below.

  1. Press the Windows key on your keyboard and type Downloads.
  2. Locate the Downloads file folder, arrow key down to it, and press Enter.
  3. 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.
  1. Press Delete to send the files to the Recycle Bin.
  2. 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.
Tip

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

Finder icon in macOS.

To clear the files in the Downloads folder on your Mac computer, follow the steps below.

Note

As it's built into macOS, these steps are the same for those using the Safari browser.

  1. Select Finder from the Dock at the bottom of your desktop.

Finder icon in the Dock.

  1. In the window that opens, select Downloads from the list on the left side of the screen.

Choose downloads

  1. Right-click each entry and select Move to Trash in the drop-down menu.

Move to Trash selector.

Tip

You may also clear download history entries by highlighting them and pressing Delete.

Google Chrome

Chrome logo

Follow these steps to clear the files in the Downloads folder for Google Chrome.

  1. Open the Google Chrome browser.
  2. Click the Customize and control Google Chrome Chrome browser settings button in the screen's upper-right corner.
  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 want to remove.
  5. To clear all entries, click the More actions Chrome browser settings icon in the screen's upper-right corner and select Clear all.

Clear all selector in Chrome.

Tip

In Chrome, press Ctrl+J (Windows) or Command+Shift+J (macOS) to view a list of your downloaded files.

Tip

If you're using Microsoft Windows, you can also see our Windows steps for deleting downloads using Windows.

Mozilla Firefox

Firefox logo

Follow these steps to clear the files in the Downloads folder for Firefox.

  1. Open the Mozilla Firefox browser.
  2. Click the Library Firefox Library icon icon near the upper-right corner of the screen.
  3. Select Downloads in the menu that appears.

Downloads selector in Fire fox.

  1. 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.

Clearing downloads folder in Firefox.

Tip

In Firefox, press Ctrl+J (Windows) or Command+J (macOS) to view a list of your downloaded files.

Tip

If you're using Microsoft Windows, you can also see our Windows steps for deleting downloads using Windows.

Microsoft Edge

Microsoft Edge

To clear the files in the Downloads folder for Microsoft Edge, follow these steps.

  1. Open the Microsoft Edge browser.
  2. Click the Settings and more icon Microsoft Edge More menu in the upper-right corner of the browser window.
  3. In the drop-down menu, select Downloads.

Clear all download history

  1. In the top right corner of the Downloads window, click the More options icon.

More options icon in Edge.

  1. Select Clear all download history from the drop-down menu.

Clearing downloads folder in Edge.

  1. In the prompt that appears, click the Remove all button.

Remove all button in Edge.

Clear a single entry

To remove a single entry, move your mouse over it, and click the trash can icon.

Deleting a single download entry in Edge.

Tip

In Edge, press Ctrl+J to view a list of your downloads.

Tip

If you're using Microsoft Windows, you can also see our Windows steps for deleting downloads using Windows.

Microsoft Edge Legacy

Microsoft Edge Legacy logo

Follow these steps to clear the files in the Downloads folder for Microsoft Edge Legacy.

  1. Open the Microsoft Edge browser.
  2. In the upper-right corner, select the Hub Edge hub button button.
  3. Click the icon that looks like a down arrow.
  4. You can delete each file individually by clicking Microsoft Edge remove x next to the file entry. Or, you may delete all files by clicking the Clear all option.
Tip

In Edge Legacy, press Ctrl+J to view a list of your downloads.

Tip

If you're using Microsoft Windows, you can also see our Windows steps for deleting downloads using Windows.

Microsoft Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer logo

Follow these steps to clear the files in the Downloads folder for Internet Explorer.

  1. Open the Internet Explorer browser.
  2. Click the Gear IE tools icon icon on the upper-right side of the window.
  3. Click View downloads in the drop-down menu that appears.
  4. You can delete each file individually by clicking Microsoft Edge remove x next to the file entry. Or, you may delete all files by clicking the Clear list option.

Clearing downloads in Internet Explorer.

Tip

In Internet Explorer, press Ctrl+J to open your Downloads folder.

Tip

If you're using Microsoft Windows, you can also see our Windows steps for deleting downloads using Windows.

Opera

Opera browser logo

Follow these steps to clear the files in the Downloads folder for Opera.

  1. Open the Opera browser.
  2. Click Menu button in Opera. in the upper-left corner of the window.
  3. In the drop-down menu that appears, select Downloads.
  4. In the tab that opens, you may delete each entry individually by clicking the Opera kebab icon icon on the right side and selecting Remove in the menu. To delete all files, click the Clear downloads button button in the upper-right corner.
Tip

In Opera, press Ctrl+J (Windows) or Command+J (macOS) to view a list of your downloaded files.

Tip

If you're using Microsoft Windows, you can also see our Windows steps for deleting downloads using Windows.