- Are you dealing with an unresponsive Download folder? Let’s examine what impact this error could have over the way you use your computer.
- Long story short, when this folder is not responding, File Explorer might stop working as well. That’s why your immediate intervention is required, so follow the steps detailed in the guide below.
- We have a dedicated hub that will help troubleshoot other System errors you may experience. Take your time to check it out.
- The best fixes are hard to find. Unless you check out our dedicated Windows 10 errors hub for quick solutions to all your computer related problems.
The Downloads directory stores files that you download with browsers. However, an unresponsive Download folder can take ages to open. Some users have stated that they can’t open Downloads at all.
When that folder is not responding, File Explorer might then stop working. This is how you can fix an unresponsive Downloads folder that takes a while to open or doesn’t open at all.
What can I do if My Download folder is not responding?
1. Run a System File Scan
If you can’t open the Downloads folder at all, there might be corrupted system files. The System File Checker fixes corrupted system files.
As such, that might also fix the Downloads directory. You can utilize the SFC utility in the Command Prompt as follows.
- Open the SFC utility by pressing the Windows key + X hotkey and selecting Command Prompt (Admin) on the menu.
- Input DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth and press Enter before you initiate an SFC scan.
- Then enter sfc /scannow in the Command Prompt, and press the Return key. The scan will probably take up to half an hour.
- Restart Windows after the scan if WRP does repair corrupted files.
2. Delete files in Downloads
Folders open more slowly when they include lots of files. Some files in Downloads might even crash Explorer when you try to open the folder.
Thus, deleting files from Downloads will certainly speed up that directory and might even fix it if it isn’t opening.
If your Downloads folder primarily includes software installers and other files you don’t need, you can quickly erase its contents with Cyber-D’s Autodelete.
This software enables users to quickly delete old files in a directory with date filters. Then you can run Autodelete to automatically erase files in a folder that have been saved in Downloads for longer than a preset time period.
This is how you can delete files with Autodelete.
- Click Downloads on this Softpedia page. If you can’t open your default Downloads folder at all, you’ll also need to select an alternative download directory with your browser’s settings.
- Open Autodelete’s setup wizard to add the software to Windows.
- Open the Cyber-D Autodelete window shown directly below.
- Click Add Folders to select the Downloads directory.
- Then click Date Filters to open the filter settings shown directly below.
- You can configure Autodelete to erase files older than a month by dragging the days bar right to 30 days. Then Autodelete will delete all files saved in Downloads for longer than a month.
- Press the Save button, and then click Yes to delete the files.
- You can also erase the files by clicking the Run AutoDelete Now desktop shortcut.
3. Optimize the Downloads folder for General items
An unresponsive Downloads folder is often due to Automatic Folder Type Discovery that automatically optimizes directories for specific file types.
Folder Discovery is great for the Videos, Pictures and Music folders that include one very specific file type. However, it doesn’t work so well for the Downloads directory that includes more variable files.
Thus, Folder Discovery can be more of a bug that considerably slows down the Downloads folder’s load time. File Explorer doesn’t include an option to switch off Folder Discovery.
However, you can still adjust what files it optimizes Downloads for. Optimizing Downloads for general items might fix that folder. This is how you can adjust the Folder Discovery settings.
- Press the File Explorer button on the Windows 10 taskbar.
- Right-click your Downloads directory and select Properties.
- Select the Customize tab in the snapshot directly below.
- Select General items from the drop-down menu.
- Then click the Also apply this template to all subfolders checkbox.
- Select the Apply option, and click OK to close the window.
4. Select the Always show icons option
- The Downloads folder might not open if it includes corrupted thumbnail images. You can configure Explorer to show icons only by clicking its File tab and selecting Change folder and search options.
- Click the View tab shown directly below.
- Select the Always show icons, never thumbnails option.
- Press the Apply button.
- Click OK to close the Folder Options window.
5. Disable Automatic Folder Type Discovery
As mentioned, you can’t turn off Automatic Folder Type Discovery with a File Explorer option. However, the Winaero Tweaker customization software does include a Disable automatic folder type discovery setting.
Thus, you can select that option to ensure Folder Discovery no longer slows down the Downloads directory.
- Click Download Winaero Tweaker on this webpage.
- Open WinAero’s ZIP in File Explorer.
- Click the Extract all button, and choose a path to extract it to.
- Press the Extract button.
- Open the software’s installer from the extracted folder to install Winaero.
- Close Explorer before you launch Winaero.
- Open the Winaero Tweaker window shown below.
- Click File Explorer on the left of the window to expand further options.
- Select Automatic Folder Type Discovery on the left of the window, and then click the Disable automatic folder type discovery checkbox.
Some of those resolutions will probably fix an unresponsive Downloads folder so that it opens and loads more quickly. A few of the tips in this post might also come in handy for fixing Downloads folders that don’t open.
FAQ: Learn more about downloads on Windows 10
- Why does my Downloads folder take so long to open?
Your Downloads folder shows the working on it message because Windows is creating thumbnails for photos and videos, even if none of the included files are pictures.
If the issue persists, then a clean boot might help you out. You should also run a System File scan.
- How do I open downloads on Windows 10?
To open downloads on Windows 10, open File Explorer, then locate and select Downloads. At that point, a list of all your recently downloaded files should appear.
- Where do I find my downloads on my computer?
To find your downloads, launch the default File Manager app first. Towards the top, you’ll see the Download history option. You’ll see all your downloaded files there.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in August 2018 and has been since revamped and updated in April 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.