How to Find Downloaded Files

Dear Computer Lady,

Sometimes when I download something from the internet, after the download is finished the download box closes, and I have no idea where to find the item that has been downloaded. It just seems to disappear.

Can you tell me where I might look?

Thanks. Barb


Dear Barb,

I see that you are using Internet Explorer. When you click on a link to download an item, you will be presented with a file download window.

In this first window, you need to select “Open” or “Save”.

If you chose “Open”, your file will not be downloaded to your hard drive, it will instead, be saved temporarily on your computer so that you can run the program, then it will be discarded.

When you click “Save”, you will then be presented with a new window asking you where you want to save the file. If you want to find the file easily, click on the drop down arrow next to “Save in:” and then click on “Desktop”.

Now, click the “Save” button and the file will be saved on your desktop, where you will be able to find it once it has finished downloading.


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    • ailurophile
    • November 18, 2010

    For Internet Explorer 8, this is Microsoft’s answer: When you download files, Windows usually saves them in the Downloads folder, which is located under your user name in the Users folder on the drive where Windows is installed (for example C:\users\your name\downloads). When you are saving the file, you can choose to save it to a different folder. Some different types of files are saved to different folders by default. For example, if you right-click a picture on a webpage and then choose Save Picture As from the menu, the picture will be saved to the Pictures folder by default. If you’re not sure where the file was saved, you can search for it from the Start menu.

    For Firefox 3, go to Tools, Internet Options, then the General tab, which is the default tab when you open Options. There you can specify a distinct location, or make the choice depending on the file being downloaded.
    I like to download all files to a folder called Downloads, where they can sit until I scan them with a malware scanner. I hate saving them to the desktop; it clutters up the desktop and makes the files that much harder to find, plus you have to constantly delete them from the desktop to keep it organized and clean. Too much housework for me! Also, by having them in one folder, I can save the executable in case I have to install it again; I don’t have to go out and try to find it on the Internet again and download it again. As I said, too much work!

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