5 Ways to Restore Downloads Folder on Windows 11

Accidentally deleted the Downloads folder in Windows 11? Don’t be panic. I’ll show you 5 effective methods to restore Downloads folder in Windows 11 step by step.


By Ivy / Updated on April 2, 2024

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Missing Default Downloads Folder in Windows 11

A few months ago, my music file would not open. With help here, I was able to restore it.Now, it seems my main download folder has gone ASAP. I lost my music file due to using Dropbox. I deleted Dropbox and all was good until, on a whim, I reinstalled it. Any ideas on how to get my downloads folder back?

Question from answers.microsoft.com

Restore Downloads Folder Windows 11

Accidentally deleting a folder like this can be quite distressing. It contains all the downloads from the internet, such as pictures, documents, software, etc. The increasing amount of data may overwhelm the organization, so many users try to clean the downloads folder but accidentally deleted important data without realizing this. But rest assured. You will get several methods to restore Downloads folder in Windows 11 easily.

How to Restore Downloads Folder on Windows 11

Usually, the most likely reasons for missing files in the download folder is accidental deletion and then quickly emptying of the Recycle Bin folder. So the first thing is to check if the downloads are still in it. You can then try other methods in the following.

Method 1: Check the Recycle Bin for Deleted Downloads

The deleted files on a local disk will be put into Recycle Bin folder. So if you are sure it’s not emptied, try to recover deleted files from Recycle Bin. Note files will be deleted permanently if it’s too large.

Step 1: Open the Recycle Bin, either from the Desktop or File Explorer.

Step 2: Look for the download files or folder in the window that appears. You can also use the search bar to locate your file more easily.

Step 3: Once you find the deleted files in the downloads folder, right-click on it and select Restore. This will return your files to its original location before it was deleted.


Method 2: Re-download Deleted Download Files

Web browsers have a remarkable feature where they save the path of downloaded files, making it possible to re-download them, even if they were permanently deleted. Note that confidential information is often shared through expiring links that prevent further downloads. If you are in this case, try all-inclusive data recovery software.

We will guide you through the process of re-downloading files on two commonly used browsers, Chrome and Mozilla Firefox below.

Step 1: Open the browser you download files. Click the Settings menu (three dots in Chrome and three horizontal bars in Firefox).

Step 2: Navigate to the Downloads option. Alternatively, you can press Ctrl + J in Chrome or Firefox to directly access it.


Step 3: Re-download the deleted files in a web browser. Usually, you will see two prompts below:

  • Show in folder: It means your files are still on your Windows 11 PC. If you cannot find it in the Downloads folder, there is a chance you change the default downloads location. Click this button and go to the download files location.
  • Deleted: It indicates you might have lost it. Copy the URL right below the filename, paste it into your browser, it will re-download the deleted file for you.


Method 3: Recover Deleted Downloads Folder in Windows 11

If you still can’t see your download files, it may be deleted permanently. Try powerful data recovery software - MyRecover to recover deleted download files in Windows 11. It has high success rate and fast recovery speed.

  • Support two advanced scanning methods. It helps to find out all the deleted or other missing files easily and quickly.
  • Recover Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, photos, audios, videos, emails, webpages, compressed files and 200+ file types.
  • Filter and recover files from specific folder (eg: Downloads folder), internal or external disk, USB drive, SD card, etc during the scanning process.
  • Keep the recovered files with their original path, filename, format and quality.
  • Support Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, and Windows Server.
Download SoftwareWin 11/10/8/7/Server
Secure Download

Step 1: Install and launch MyRecover on your computer. Hover the mouse over the C drive containing the Downloads folder and click Scan.


Step 2: It will run two advanced scanning methods - Quick Scan & Deep Scan automatically and display all the found files in the following. You can filter and preview deleted files in the My Downloads folder.

  • Click Filter and select Documents. Then, type file name or file extension in the Search for files or folders box.
  • Expand the Deleted Files tab and go to the Downloads folder.


Step 3: Select all the deleted files in the Downloads folder and click the Recover x files button. You will then be asked to select a location. Please select a new location instead of the original location.



  • The restore button will display the number of selected files and their full size. You can use it to determine the integrity of the recovered files.
  • Saving the recovered files to their original location may cause data corruption or permanent data loss.
  • You can recover deleted files in the Downloads folder for free, up to 500MB. To recover unlimited files, try advanced editions.
  • Except for the Downloads folder, you can also use it to recover accidentally deleted Documents folder, recover picture folder in Windows 11, recover files lost in cut and paste, etc.​

Method 4: Restore Downloads Folder from Backup

If you have any available backup created previously, you can try to restore files from backup. It’s one of the most recommended methods that include almost all of your backed up files. We will use Backup and Restore (Windows 7) to show you the steps to restore downloads folder in Windows 11.

Step 1: Connect the backup drive containing copies of your files including the Downloads folder. Search for Control Panel in the start menu and select System and Maintenance > Backup and Restore (Windows 7).

Step 2: Choose Restore my files.

Restore My Files

Step 3: Click Browse for files or Browse for folders and select the target files. Then, click Next.

Restore Files

Step 4: Choose where to restore your files - original location or new location. Then, click Restore to retrieve files from Downloads folder in Windows 11.

Note: This method requires an available backup before you accidentally deleted downloads folder in Windows 11. If you still don’t have, please backup files with a free backup software. AOMEI Backupper Standard is highly recommended.

Method 5: Restore Downloads Folder from Previous Versions

Windows allows users to enable the system restore or File History feature that creates temporary backups of your files and folders automatically. If you accidentally deleted Downloads folder in Windows 11, you can try to access the previous folder version and restore files from it.  

Step 1: Go to the default Downloads folder location (C:\Users\username\), right-click on the blank space, and select Properties.

Step 2: In the "Previous Versions” tab, you will see all the available folder versions. Find the most recent backup version and click the Restore button.


FAQs about Missing Default Downloads Folder

Here are some frequently asked questions and answers related to the "restore downloads folder windows 11" error. If you still have questions about it, try to read below.

Why Does Windows 11 Keep Deleting My Downloads Files?

There is a chance that you enable Storage Sense in Windows 11. It will automatically delete unused files when your PC is in a low disk space. To prevent this, you can choose to disable Storage Sense.

Step 1: Press Win + I to open Settings. Navigate to System and select Storage.

Step 2: Scroll down to Storage Sense and click on the toggle switch to turn it off.

Disable Storage Sense

How to Restore Default Downloads folder in Windows 11

Sometimes you may change the default Downloads folder location in order to save disk space or it’s almost full. You can restore default location of it if necessary.

Step 1: Open File Explorer from the taskbar. Copy and paste shell:downloads in the address bar and press Enter.

Shell Downloads

Step 2: This will direct you to the Downloads folder. Right-click the blank space and select Properties.

Step 3: In the Location tab, click the Restore Default button. Click Yes when you receive the confirmation prompt.

Restore Default

How to Restore Downloads Folder on Mac

Some users may use a Mac machine and encounter missing default Downloads folder issue. You can also recover deleted Downloads folder as long as you create a Time Machine backup.

Step 1: Connect the backup drive to the Mac machine and be sure it’s recognized.

Step 2: Open your Finder. Then, go to Applications > Utilities and select Migration Assistant.

Step 3: Choose the Time Machine option and locate the backup copy of your files.

Time Machine Backup Copy

Step 4: Click Continue and restart your system after this process is complete.


You now have all the necessary information to successfully restore Downloads folder in Windows 11! The best practice is to use data recovery software like MyRecover. It is able to recover deleted Downloads folder, even if you empty the Recycle Bin folder.

Besides, restoring from a backup image will be another effective method if you have. If not, it’s suggested to create a copy of your files in the Downloads folder as well as other important folder. So you can get your files back in the disaster. AOMEI Backupper Standard is recommended.  

Ivy · Editor
Ivy is an editor of AOMEI Technology, she covers backup & restore,hard disk & partitions management and cloud files transfer and so on for AOMEI. She is an outgoing girl and enjoys helping people find solutions to their problems. She loves traveling, eating, reading and so on. She usually hangs out with friends at her leisure time.