Where Are My Missing Downloads?

May 9, 2011, By Christian Cawley

With so much content on the web, there is almost always something that you might want to download, such as video clips, music, software, etc.

However it is fiendishly easy to forget where you downloaded the data to! For instance, downloaded data might be found hiding away in your temporary Internet folder, or in a separate Windows temporary folder.

It is just as easy to set a default folder for all data that you have downloaded and forget where this can be found, so being able to find any missing downloads will save you from beginning the process again from scratch.

Where are my missing downloads?

Check Your Browser Default Download Location

Depending on which browser you are using, you might be able to specify a default download location. While Internet Explorer will ask you so set a save location with all data that you download, Mozilla Firefox prefers to let you also specify a default location.

This can be checked and changed in the Tools > Options > General tab. Under Downloads, you can choose between Save files to where you can Browse… to choose a default location for your saved data, and Always ask me where to save files, which forces Firefox to check where you want to save downloads to on each occasion.

Both options have their uses; for instance you might use the default download location for speed, particularly if you are downloading the same type of content repeatedly, whereas if you download different items, such as software, images, documents, etc., you might prefer to specify where your browser saves them.

You might also care to check your computer desktop for downloaded files. In Mozilla Firefox running on Windows, downloaded files are saved to the desktop by default, so this should be the first place you look if this is your browser of choice.

Finding Downloads in Temporary Folders

Another way to find data that you have downloaded is to check your temporary folders. In Windows 7 these can be found on the C: drive, but you will need to make them visible.

This is done by opening Start > Computer, opening Organize > Folder and search options > View and selecting Show hidden files, folders and drives. Click OK to confirm the change, and then open C:\Users\[USERNAME]\AppData\Local\Temp; here you should find the data that you are looking for.

You can also open this location via the Start menu. Enter %temp% in the search box to open the folder; this will prove useful on a system where you have Windows installed on a drive other than C:.

Once you have found your downloaded file, copy this out of the Temp folder, and save it somewhere memorable so that you can find it again in future – and keep an eye on where you are saving downloads!

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