I like my downloads folder to be moved from C:\Users\Joe\Downloads to D:\Downloads. I recently reformatted my PC and accidentally set the new location as D:\.

I can't see to either revert this change or change the location of downloads to D:\Downloads! The C:\Users\Joe\Downloads folder still exists because I can't create a folder with that name in the Joe\ folder, however I can't see it!

If I try to move the location of D:\ to D:\Downloads that also does not work (not that I expected it to)!


You'll need to edit the registry in this case, as you've moved it to the drive's root folder. In this case you can't restore it back using the Location tab.

Open Regedit.exe and go to:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders

Double-click "{374DE290-123F-4565-9164-39C4925E467B}" and its value data to "%USERPROFILE%\Downloads". Also ensure the value is of type REG_EXPAND_SZ if you're inputting an expandable/environment string in there. (Windows 10 User Shell Folders)

  • I actually had to do this in 3 places! User Shell Folders/ and Shell Folders/ (2 registries in here!). After that I was able to move the folder but I still had an issue: The new downloads folder was hidden and a system folder so I couldn't navigate to it normally. Had to do attrib -r "D:\Downloads" -s -h in a command prompt and then attrib -r "D:\Downloads" +s to give it the download folder icon back :) – Joe Shanahan Feb 21 '16 at 15:44
  • The "shell folders" is obsolete, and programs no longer use it, and it updates automatically according to USF values. – w32sh Feb 21 '16 at 16:03

If you want to move your Downloads (a System folder) to another location where Windows recognise it as the preferred destination (e.g. for Edge downloads). Open This PC folder and spot the Downloads folder (it might be collapsed under the 'Folders' group above the 'Devices and drives' group).

Right click on Downloads folder, pick 'Properties'. From the dialogue box, pick the tab 'Location' and there you can set it to D:\Downloads. Confirm your changes.

  • Unfortunately that does not work: i.imgur.com/f5B1ZSM.png. If I try to set it back to default I get access denied error! – Joe Shanahan Feb 21 '16 at 12:03
  • Is your account an administrator? Are the folders (new and original) empty? It's better to work without any file in both folders. This dialogue box simplify the process better than editing the Registry – Sanny Feb 21 '16 at 14:08

If you need to separate the files that were previously in Downloads folder from the C:\Users\Joe (because they are merged now), you can sort data by Date Accessed and you will see the date in which the Download files were moved to the new folder.


I was searching for this and the acceptable answer didn't work so, but after more research I found this one: In the original location of the Downloads folder there should be a D:...

Right Click on it like you are going to change the location and select Restore Default.

When asked if you want to copy\move files select NO... or it will fail...

This will put Downloads back where it was without the files...

Now you can change Location back to D:\ like you had planned, after adding a Download folder...

Once this is done just cut and paste the actual downloads that are supposed to be there into it. here's the link: https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows8_1-files/accidentally-moved-my-download-folder-to-d-how-to/8d226529-4da4-4275-b515-2df17b9fdf48

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