- 1 How to Delete Downloads on Windows 11 or Windows 10 via File Explorer
- 2 How to Delete Downloads from Firefox
- 3 How to Delete Downloads on Chrome
- 4 How to Delete Downloads from Microsoft Edge
- 5 Extra: How to Clear Browser History on Chrome, Edge, Firefox, or Opera
- 6 Extra: How to Delete Your YouTube Watch and Search History
Over time, the downloads on your PC will clog up your storage. Depending on what you download, you could end up with gigabytes of data that you don’t need. We’re going to show you how to delete downloads from your computer to remedy this.
How to delete downloads completely
You’re probably already familiar with the Downloads folder. It’s where all your manually downloaded files go by default. What you may not know is that your browser downloads and stores images and text constantly during your normal browsing. It stores them in its “cache” so that the webpage will load faster if you visit it again in the future.
This guide will focus primarily on those manual downloads, but we’ll also show you how to clear downloads that come from your Edge or Firefox cache. For the record, though this tutorial uses Windows 11 as an example, the same steps should work on Windows 10 or even another OS entirely. Let’s get started:
How to Delete Downloads on Windows 11 or Windows 10 via File Explorer
The fastest way to clear downloads is by deleting downloaded files directly in File Explorer. This is most convenient if you save your files to the download folder:
- Press Start and click “File Explorer”
If you don’t have File Explorer pinned, you can press “Windows + E” instead.
- Click “Downloads” in the “This PC” section of your sidebar, press Ctrl + A to select all files, and click the trash icon on your ribbon
Bear in mind that there may be files that you want to keep in here. Make sure you check them before continuing to the next step.
- Right-click the recycle bin on your desktop and press “Empty Recycle Bin” to permanently delete the files
How to Delete Downloads from Firefox
If you use Firefox for your browsing, you can clear your download cache directly from the browser. This can be achieved for all website or for specific ones:
- Press the hamburger icon in the top-right, then click “Settings”
- Select “Privacy & Security” in the sidebar and click “Clear Data…”
- Press “Clear”
- Click “Clear now”
- OR: Delete cookies and site data for a specific site
If you’d rather clear downloads for specific sites, you can press “Manage Data…” instead.
- Click on the site(s) and press “Remove Selected”, then “Save Changes”
- OR: Press “Remove All” to delete the data from all sites
- Click “Clear Now”
How to Delete Downloads on Chrome
Chrome users can open their downloads folder directly from the browser and clear downloads from there:
- Press the three dots in the top right and click “Downloads”
- Press the three dots in the “Downloads” header and click “Open downloads folder”
- Press “Ctrl + A” to select all of your downloads in File Explorer and press the trash icon in the ribbon
- Right-click the recycle bin icon on your desktop and press “Empty Recycle Bin”
Windows will permanently delete your downloads.
How to Delete Downloads from Microsoft Edge
In Microsoft Edge, you can clear your download history and clear your cache files all at once. Here’s how:
- Press the three dots in the top right and click “Settings”
- Select “Privacy, search, and services”, and click the “Choose what to clear” button under the “Clear browsing data” heading
- Select what you want to clear (and its time range) and press “Clear now”
Extra: How to Clear Browser History on Chrome, Edge, Firefox, or Opera
If you want to clear your history as well as your downloads, follow along with our dedicated guide on the subject. It’ll show you how to do so in all of the major browsers.
Extra: How to Delete Your YouTube Watch and Search History
While you’re anyway cleaning up after yourself, you might want to follow our guide on how to delete your YouTube watch and search history. It won’t impact your storage, but it should reset the service’s recommendations.