How do you change the Windows default download path?

The default download location on our Windows systems usually works well enough with no issues, but what if you want or need to change the system-level location?

Normally your Downloads folder is located on the C: drive, in your user folder. If you have a huge startup disk or regularly clear out old, unused downloads, you’ll probably be fine there. If you’re a stickler for everything you download, or just hate that file path, you might want to move your download folder to a different location.

Note: The screenshots here show Windows 11, but the same process works on Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, and even Windows Vista.

First, create the folder that will be the new Downloads folder. Open File Explorer and navigate to the location where you want it. Then right click on the empty space, hover over ‘New’ and select ‘Folder’. You can name the folder whatever you want, but you’ll probably want to give it a logical name, such as “Downloads.”

Then look at the left side of File Explorer and find the “Downloads” folder. Right click on it and click on ‘Properties’.

Right click "to download," then click "Characteristics."

Select the “Location” tab and then click “Move”.

Select the "Place" tab and then click "Movement."

Navigate to the desired folder, click on it and then click “Select Folder”.

Click the new download folder and click "Select."

The selection window will close and you will be returned to the Downloads Properties window. Click ‘Apply’.

If you have files in your current Downloads folder, you’ll get a prompt asking if you want to move all files from the old to the new one. Whether you do this or not is completely up to you and what you want. If you’re not sure, ‘Yes’ is probably the best choice.

Download folders can be tens or even hundreds of gigabytes in size, so keep in mind that the transfer will take some time. Be patient. When it’s done, click “OK” and then the “X” in the top right corner of the Downloads Properties window.

Tip: Many Windows applications, including popular web browsers like Google Chrome, use your system’s Downloads folder by default. However, it is often also possible to change your Downloads folder in separate applications. If an individual application doesn’t save files to this folder after you move it, check that application’s settings.

That’s all – you’re done. If you find yourself constantly running out of space due to an overflowing download folder, consider moving old downloads to an external hard drive. Alternatively, you can install a new internal hard drive to store all your files.

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