Most people just keep their Downloaded files in their computer's Download Folder. While I recommend that people sort their files on their PCs, it's usually easier said than done. Nevertheless, keeping your Downloaded files in the Download Folder also makes sense, as you don't have to remember where you saved your files from the internet.
But what if you need to find a Downloaded file and suddenly find it's not in your Download Folder? Or worse, you just realized that your entire Download Folder is empty. How do you recover deleted Downloaded folders?
Reasons Behind Loss of Download Folder
There are several causes of why you could lose your Downloaded folder or files. Sometimes, you may have misplaced the file and saved it in another folder. If that is the case, you can search for it in the File Explorer.
Another reason for missing Downloads folder is if you've recently cleaned up your Windows hard drive. While doing this gives you additional free space, the Disk Cleanup program could also delete your Download folder.
You or another user might have accidentally deleted the Windows Download folder, causing you to lose your Downloaded folder. However, this is an easy error to rectify, provided you or the other person haven't cleared the Recycle Bin yet.
A virus or malware infection is the worst possible reason for a deleted Download folder. An attack on your computer from these malicious files could lead to more than just missing folders and files. Before you recover your deleted Downloads folder, you must remove the virus from your SD card, USB drive, or computer.
DIY Methods for Recovering Deleted Downloads Folder
Don't lose hope if your Download folder has been deleted. There are still a few ways you can use to recover them. Here's how.
Recover Deleted Downloads Folder from Windows Recycle Bin
The fastest and easiest way to recover deleted files is to go to your PC's Recycle Bin. Here's how to do that.
1. Launch the File Explorer and click the Home Icon in the address bar to see your options.
2. From there, click on Recycle Bin to open the folder. You should find your deleted files and folder here if you haven't cleared your Recycle Bin yet.
3. Just right-click on the file you want to restore and choose Restore. After clicking that, you should find the deleted file or folder in its former location.
Restore The Deleted Downloads Folder From Previous Versions
Another way you can restore a deleted Download file or folder is to use the Windows Restore Previous Versions tool. Here's how to use this tool.
1. Open File Explorer and go to This PC.
2. Right-click the Downloads folder and choose Show more options.
3. In the new context menu that will appear, click Restore previous versions.
4. If you've previously created a System Restore point or File History, it should appear in the Downloads Properties window under the Previous Versions tab. Just click on the older version and choose Restore.
With that, you should find your deleted or missing Downloads Folder. However, if you haven't created a restore point before deleting the file, you'll only see the “There are no previous versions available” error in the Previous Versions tab.
Use The File History Feature To Restore Accidentally Deleted Downloads Folder
The newer versions of Windows have the File History feature, which allows you to recover older versions of existing files. Here's how to use it to restore the Downloads folder on Windows 11 and other versions.
1. Ensure that the File History feature is turned on. You need an external drive or a network location to use this feature.
2. Open the Start Menu, then type Restore your files with File History. In the File History window, find the Download Folder.
3. Find the deleted file you want to restore and click the Restore button.
With that, you should find the deleted Download Folder again.
The steps we shared above will allow you to recover any deleted Downloads. However, except for the Recycle Bin method, the other techniques need prior setup before you can use them. So, if the Downloaded file or folder you want to recover isn't in the Recycle Bin, and you haven't prepared the other methods, you need to use another tool.
Recover Deleted Downloads Folder Using Remo Recover
If you can't find your missing Downloads folder using the steps above, we recommend using Remo Recover. This app will help you restore any deleted file or folder, including the Downloads folder, without any prior setup before losing the folder.
Here's how to recover your Downloads Folder with Remo Recover.
1: Download and install the Remo Recover app. After you finish the installation process, launch the app.
2: Look for the C Drive and select it in the main window of the Remo Recover app.
3: Click on Scan to begin looking for lost and deleted Downloads folders.
4: If the scan is taking too long, you can click on Dynamic Recover View to get a preview of recovered files.
5: After you find the files or folder you want to restore, click on the tick mark on the recovered Downloads folder, then click Recover.
With that, you should find your deleted or missing Downloads Folder.
How to Prevent File Loss?
While Remo Software will help you recover any files you've recently lost or deleted, it's still better to prevent it from happening. After all, an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. So, here are a few reminders to help you avoid this headache.
Regularly Back Up Your Files
When you regularly back up your files, you ensure you'll always have a copy, even if you lose the original ones on your computer. While daily backups are ideal, they're often a hassle to accomplish. So, you should back up your files at least once a month.
Save Your Most Important Downloaded Files on a Cloud Drive
Cloud drives, like OneDrive or Dropbox, automatically save a copy of your files online in real-time. This method ensures you'll always have the latest version, even if you lose your computer. You can even use them to access your files on other devices, like your smartphone or tablet.
Use a Reliable Antivirus Program
Viruses or malware are among the most common causes of massive data loss. So, to avoid getting your computer infected, you should invest in a reliable security suite. While Windows already has a robust antivirus in Microsoft Defender, you can also get other services if you want third-party protection.
Brands like Kaspersky, Malwarebytes, Bitdefender, and McAfee have free and paid versions that will help you keep your computer safe.
Avoid Downloading Files From Untrusted Sources
While Windows Defender and other security suite software can protect your computer, you can also reduce the risk of losing files by not Downloading files from shady websites. Many bad actors use unverified pages and lure users with free software or content to make them Download malware.
So, to help keep your files safe, you should avoid Downloading unusual files from websites and your inbox, even if they're from a trusted contact. But if you must Download a file, scan it through your antivirus before opening it.
Recover Your Missing or Deleted Downloaded Files
Even if you lose your Downloaded files or Downloads folder, there are still ways to recover deleted Downloads folder. And if it does happen to you, you should recover your missing file or folder as soon as possible. That way, you have the best chance of recovering it fully.
But, to avoid losing files in the first place, you should always back up your files and be smart with the files you download online. That way, you avoid facing file loss in any form.
Nevertheless, if your computer got infected and you can't find your Downloads, there are ways to recover files after a Virus attack to help get you back on your feet.