How to Recover Accidentally Deleted Downloads Folder in Windows 10/11

Don't worry if the Downloads folder was deleted or missing, this post will show how to recover accidentally deleted downloads folder in Windows 10/11 with some effective ways.


By Lora / Updated on May 9, 2024

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The Windows Downloads folder is a default folder to save downloaded files from the Internet, like documents, software, video files, and others. When you accidentally delete the downloaded files in the Downloads folder, you can choose to re-download them from the internet and restore deleted downloaded files.

However, if the Downloads folder on a Windows PC is deleted or missing, all of the downloaded files or data will be erased. Moreover, you may not also be able to access new files or applications if you try to download them. This is a real case from Reddit:



"I wanted to delete the download folder on my desktop. I didn't think about it and now the whole folder is gone since it was too big for the bin. What should I do now?"


So how to recover accidentally deleted downloads folder in Windows 10/11? Don't worry, this post will provide the answers and show step-by-step instructions for restoring deleted or lost download files or folders.

Accidentally Deleted Downloads Folder Windows 10

How to recover accidentally Downloads folder with MyRecover

How to restore Downloads folder without backup? Try MyRecover, no matter if you delete download files or the Download folder, It can recover it with a few clicks.

✦ Support 2 advanced scanning methods - Quick Scan and Deep Scan. It helps to find the downloads folder and all the deleted downloads files (eg: recover deleted Word documents) in it.
✦ Filter specific downloads files quickly with Type, Date Modified & Size and recover them as soon as they are found.
✦ Recover data with a high success rate and fast speed, keeping its original file name, format, quality, and path.

Install and run it to recover accidentally deleted downloads folder in Windows 10 and 11.

Download SoftwareWin 11/10/8/7/Server
Secure Download

Step 1. Select the drive where the Download folder is located, it’s usually C drive, and click Scan.


Step 2. It will run a Quick Scan and Deep Scan to find the target files in the C drive. You don't need to wait for the scanning process to end if you find the downloaded files or Download folder during the scanning.


Step 3. Select the Downloads folder or download files and click “Recover X files.


It is still able to recover deleted files from Windows Server 2016, 2019, 2022, etc. Besides, you can still recover deleted files from SD cards, USB flash drives, external hard drives, and other storage devices as well as data loss due to format, virus attack, system or disk failure, etc.

Manually recover deleted Downloads folder [7 Ways]

In addition to MyRecover, there are some Windows built-in ways to recover accidentally deleted Downloads folder in Windows 11, 10, 8, and 7.

Way 1. Restore the deleted Download folder with File Explorer

You can utilize File Explorer to recover the deleted or missing Download folder, refer to the following steps:

Step 1. Open File Explorer and navigate to the C:\Users\Default folder.

Step 2. Right-click Downloads in the right-hand panel and select "Copy".

Step 3. Navigate to the C:\Users\Your Name folder and right-click on it.

Step 4. Choose “Paste”.

The missing downloads folder will then be replaced and you can access it again.

▶ Way 2. Recover deleted downloads folder from desktop.ini file

The desktop.ini file is able to restore all user folder in the "C:\Users\%USERNAME%" folder. You can use it to recover accidentally deleted downloads folder, or other folders like music, videos, etc.

Step 1. Press ”Win + R” to open the Run window. Then, type “shell: downloads” and click “OK”.

Step 2. In the Folder options, set the protected operating system files to show.

Unhide Protected Operating System Files

Step 3. Download the and extract it. Then, right-click on the desktop.ini file (it’s a .txt file) and select Properties.

Step 4. Under the General tab, click the “Unlock” button and “OK”.

Step 5. Go to C:\Users\%USERNAME%\Downloads and replace the desktop.ini file with the newly extracted one.

Step 6. Open an elevated command prompt. Type attrib +r -s -h %USERPROFILE%\Downloads /S /D and press "Enter". Then, restart your system to make changes take effect.

▶ Way 3. Check the Downloads folder from Recycle Bin

If you accidentally delete a file, the first place you need to go is Recycle Bin. You can easily recover the deleted files and folders in the Recycle Bin if you haven’t permanently deleted them or emptied the Recycle Bin.

Step 1. Double-click the Recycle Bin icon to open it.

Step 2. Find the desired deleted files or folders in Recycle Bin. You could directly search the file names.

Step 3. Right-click the files or folders you want to recover and select “Restore”. Alternatively, you could drag and drop the files to the location where you want. ​


If you find the deleted files not in Recycle Bin, you need to try the other 6 methods to restore accidentally deleted downloads or downloads folder in Windows 10 or 11.

▶ Way 4. How to restore Downloads folder via File History

File History is a fantastic Windows feature to regularly back up the user data in Libraries, Desktop, Contacts, and favorite folders. If you have enabled this function and put the data there, you could recover deleted Downloads files or folders using it.

Step 1. Go to “Control Panel” > “System and Security” > “File History”.


Step 2. Click “Restore Personal Files”.


Step 3. Find and select the files you deleted, then click the green Recover button.​

▶ Way 5. Find deleted downloaded files in Temporary Files

Windows creates a folder on your computer that stores temporary files. This folder can store a wide range of files, but it can also store and index downloaded files. This way, you will be able to search for downloaded files in a short time after they have been deleted.

Here is how to find such files in Windows:

Step 1. Press the Start button.

Step 2. Start typing the name of the file you want to retrieve.

Step 3. Press the Enter button.

If your temporary files are functioning properly, a window will open. The window lists the files that match the search. You can right-click the file and open it, or drag and drop it to the location you want. Or, you can also navigate to C:\Windows\Temp to find deleted downloads in Temporary Files. 

▶ Way 6. Restore Downloads folder to its default location

You may not delete the downloads folder (the default location is C:\Users\Downloads) but change it to another location. In this case, you need to restore the downloads folder to its original location.

Step 1. Open your File Explorer and go to the new location of your Download folder. Right-click it and select “Properties”.

Step 2. Go to the “Location” tab and click the “Restore Default” option.

Restore Default

▶ Way 7. Recover Download folder from the Previous Version

Restore points is a Windows feature to take snapshots of files or folders stored on your computer. If it’s enabled, you can easily restore files to the previous versions or get lost downloads folder.

Step 1. Navigate to the Download folder, Go to C drive > “Users” > [Your Name].

Step 2. Right-click [Your Name] folder and select “Properties” > “Previous Versions”.

Step 3. Under the Folder versions, select a previous version and click “Restore”.​


Best practice to protect downloads folder and files

Whether you download a picture, video, page, etc, they will be saved to the downloads folder. If you accidentally deleted downloads folder, all the downloaded files will disappear. So please take a double-check before deleting any downloads. The best practice to protect them is to create a backup copy of the downloads folder. Try free backup software - AOMEI Backupper Standard to help you.

Step 1. Launch free backup software for Windows - AOMEI Backupper Standard. Choose "Backup" and "File Backup" subsequently.

File Backup

Step 2. Type a new task name to distinguish it from other backup tasks. Click “Add File” to select the downloads files you want to backup. To backup the entire downloads folder, click “Add Folder” instead.

Add Folders Files

Step 3. Click the second box and select a local path, share or NAS or cloud drive to save your downloads files or folder.

Select Destination

Step 4. To backup downloads files or folder automatically, click “Schedule Backup” and enable "Daily", "Weekly", "Monthly", "Event trigger", or "USB plug in" options.

Schedule Settings General

Step 5. Confirm all the configured backup settings and click "Start Backup" to backup downloads files or folder. It will create a full backup and then backup only changed files in the scheduled backup time.

FAQs about downloads files recovery

Concluding words

Whether you accidentally deleted Downloads folder in Windows 10 or 11, with 7 effective methods, you are able to recover the downloads folder or files in it quickly. For downloaded files, please check the Recycle Bin folder first. If it’s not in the Recycle Bin, try the other 6 methods.

Among them, the best way is to restore Downloads folder from the backup files. If you don’t have one, try data recovery software - MyRecover. It supports two advanced scanning methods, which can find and recover your downloaded files and downloads folder quickly.

Lora · Editor
Lora is an editor of AOMEI Technology. She is also a tester and editor of AOMEI Data Recovery Tools. -- "Keep testing, write the most useful tutorials for helping people recover the lost data for Windows and phones" is the most meaningful thing for her. Dedicated to creating helpful tutorials, she hopes her tutorial can assist users to effortlessly solve data loss problems on their personal computers and mobile phones.