How to Delete Downloads From Your Computer

Clear downloads from Chrome, Firefox, and more

Files Being Deleted

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If your internet browser is slow to start, web pages take longer to load, downloads sputter and stall out, or your browser freezes, you could have an issue with too many files in your download folder. If you want to learn how to delete downloads from your computer and popular web browsers like Firefox, Google Chrome, and Microsoft Edge, here’s how to make it quick and painless.

Why You Should Delete Your Downloads

Every time you use the internet, you'll encounter countless files that can be downloaded, like apps, toolbars, browser extensions, pictures, documents, and videos. Any time you download something from the internet, it's stored in your Downloads folder, which can cause your web browser and even your entire computer to slow down considerably.

If you're using a family or public computer to navigate the internet, it may be in your best interest to make sure your history is deleted. Additionally, you could be risking the data of everyone who uses the computer being exposed, not just your own.

You could also be inviting security and privacy issues. Some downloads can contain malware that installs viruses and monitors your web activity, keystrokes, and browsing behavior.

How to Delete Downloads From Your PC

You may be shocked to learn that if you neglect clearing out your download and temp folders, you could have hundreds of megabytes or even gigabytes of data clogging up your system. Even compressed files like program installers can take up a surprising amount of disc space if left alone.

If you want to delete all the download files from your web browsers and computer all at once, here’s how to do it.

  1. Navigate to the search bar next to the Windows Start Menu..

    Windows Button

    If you don't see the search bar, press Windows Key+S to open it.

  2. Enter "File Explorer" and select File Explorer.

  3. Select the Downloads folder on the left side of the window.

    File Explorer Downloads Folder
  4. To select all files in the Downloads folder, press Ctrl+A. You can also select individual files, but this will take slightly longer.

  5. Right-click the selected files and select Delete.

    Delete Downloads From Folder
  6. Select Yes to confirm the deletion of the files.

  7. Right-click the Recycle Bin in the top left corner of your Desktop.

    Windows Recycle Bin
  8. Select Empty Recycle Bin to delete the downloads from your PC permanently.

How to Delete Downloads from Firefox

  1. Select the hamburger menu.

    Firefox Menu Icon
  2. Select Options.

    Firefox Dropdown Menu
  3. Select Privacy & Security.

    Privacy & Security Menu
  4. Navigate to the Cookies and Site Data section, then select Clear Data.

    Cookies and Site Data

    You can also choose to have all downloads removed at the end of your browsing session. This can be done by checking the box next to Cookies and Site Data. Your cookies and site data will be automatically deleted when Firefox closes.

  5. Select Manage Data for more options about managing site data like cookies.

  6. To delete data for a single website, select the website, then select Remove Selected. To delete them all at once, select Remove All.

    Manage Data Menu
  7. Close the Options page. Any changes you've made will automatically be saved.

How to Delete Downloads from Google Chrome

  1. Open the Chrome browser.

  2. Select the three vertical dots in the upper-right corner of the screen.

    Google Options Menu
  3. From the drop-down menu that appears, select Downloads.

  4. Select Open Download folder from the new window that opens.

    Open Downloads Folder
  5. To select all files in the Downloads folder, press Ctrl+A. You can also select individual files by selecting on each one.

  6. Right-click the selected files and select Delete.

  7. Right-click the Recycle Bin in the top left corner of your Desktop.

  8. Select Empty Recycle Bin to delete the downloads from your PC permanently.

How to Delete Downloads from Microsoft Edge

  1. Open the Microsoft Edge browser.

  2. Select the three horizontal dots in the upper right-hand corner.

    Microsoft Edge Options Menu
  3. Select the Settings icon at the bottom of the menu.

  4. Select Choose what to clear under Clear browsing data.

    Clear Browsing Data
  5. Make sure that the box next to Download History is checked, then select Clear.

    Clear Download History